Capitol Hill Shooting: Questions Increasing on Whether Deadly Force Was Necessary

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 5 2013 4:11 PM

Capitol Hill Shooting: Questions Increasing on Whether Deadly Force Was Called For

183002507
Police cordon off the corner of the Contitution Ave and First St after shots fired were reported Thursday near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill. Turns out, law enforcement officers were the only ones doing the shooting

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

A few days after a confusing incident that involved federal agents shooting and killing an unarmed driver who had a toddler in the car, questions are increasing on whether the reaction was justified. A total of at least 17 shots were fired at two locations Thursday before 34-year-old Miriam Carey was killed, notes the Washington Post. That in itself is questionable. After all, shooting at moving vehicles is supposed to be a last resort for big-city police officers. And when you add the fact that Carey was unarmed and had a baby in the car, the whole thing becomes even more questionable. Internal investigations are ongoing but right now it’s impossible to know whether Capitol Police or the Secret Service violated their own policies during the chase and shootings. Why? Well, they simply refused to tell the Post what those policies are in the first place.

Carey’s family has started to raise questions about whether agents really needed to shoot a woman whose main crime seems to have been crashing into a barrier at the White House. Her mother said Carey suffered from postpartum depression and had a family history of schizophrenia. In fact, it seems Carey was delusional, convinced she was being watched and that President Obama was personally communicating with her, law enforcement officials tell USA Today.    

Advertisement

"My sister could have been any person traveling in our capital," Valarie Carey told reporters. "Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse and it didn't have to be."

Some experts though have insisted the shooting was justified, noting that Carey appeared to be trying to breach security at two potential high-profile targets. Particularly relevant, these experts say, is that Carey seemingly refused to surrender at gunpoint. Others, however, say there is no excuse to open fire on someone who wasn’t using any physical force. “Just because she didn’t get out of the car if they told her to get out of the car is not sufficient to use deadly force,” a retired New York police commander said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.