Yesterday, 29-year-old Charles Smith was arrested by the Savannah Police Department in Savannah, Georgia. Before the incident was done, Smith was dead, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
The incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. in the historic coastal city, according to Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Julie Tolbert. Tolbert has asked that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation look into the shooting.
The GBI, based on its preliminary investigation, says officers arrested 29-year-old Charles Smith on outstanding warrants and handcuffed him behind his back.
Smith was put into a police car, where he managed to move his hands to the front of his body and kicked out one of the vehicle’s windows.
“The officers said, as Smith attempted to exit the patrol car, they saw that he had a firearm,” the GBI said in its statement. “This encounter resulted in Smith being shot and killed at the scene.”
A firearm was later found under Smith’s body, the GBI reported.Source: CNN
I’ve decided that I would not openly discuss my line of employment here to safeguard my career and protect the integrity of both myself and my employer. I will say, however, that incidents, such as this one, can be mitigated to a minimum if everything is done by the book and officers don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.
Handcuffing a suspect is done for the safety of both the suspect and the officer(s) who come in contact with him. Whenever a person is handcuffed for safety reasons, the officer has to ensure the safety of all involved by doing a thorough and complete search for weapons or anything that could aid escape and/or acquisition of a weapon. Even the most innocent of things has to be checked to ensure safety. The perfect example of this can be seen in the following video.
If you look at the video, the handcuffed guy named Lawrence Wallace Jr reaches for his necklace around the 10 second mark. The necklace itself appears completely harmless, but it has a hidden purpose. When he comes out the door, the pendant is a four-sided pendant shaped like a diamond. After he releases the pendant, it has become a triangle. At the time of his apprehension, nobody noticed that change, and that change was the reason he would soon escape, kill Mobile Police Officer Steven Green, and end up killed in a shoot-out with police later on. A three-inch knife, which was used to kill Officer Green, was found in the police car, and a handcuff key was later found in Wallace’s shoe. That necklace wasn’t large enough to hide a knife that size, but a handcuff key could easily be hidden in that manner. A Google search for hidden handcuff keys will lead you to all kinds of wearable items that appear benign but can also hide a handcuff key.
Once that person is handcuffed, they need to be searched well to ensure they’re not hiding a weapon. Some people are limber enough to move handcuffed hands from behind them to in front of them, so any and all areas should be searched well before putting that person in the car. In addition, the car should be searched well to ensure there is absolutely nothing that can be used to aid escape or be used as a weapon.
If this is done well, there’s no way a person can get their hands on a gun while in the back of a police car. I’m not going to accuse Savannah Police of anything at this point. GBI needs to do a thorough investigation of all aspects of this case. The Savannah community should keep pressing GBI to investigate everything to find out what went wrong. Only by knowing where things went wrong in this case can changes be made to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.