It seems all too often that a police officer shoots an unarmed person during some kind of routine stop and gets off without consequences. Well, not this time.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo fired officer Justin Boehm, stating on Friday that it was wrong for the five-year veteran of the police force to shoot at an unarmed driver during a traffic stop earlier this year.
The incident, recorded on Boehm's dash cam, starts when Boehm pulls over driver James Barton for running a red light on the morning of May 8th. Barton pulls over, gets out of his pickup and reaches to get his wallet out of his pocket. Boehm then shoots at Barton, but misses. Barton drops his wallet and gets back into his pickup. By this point, it should be clear that Barton was only reaching for a wallet, but Boehm orders Barton back out of the pickup, gets him to lie face down on the ground until more officers arrive to take him away in handcuffs.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that Barton stated he learned to step out of the car in traffic stops in driver's ed. Boehm claimed that Barton was making "furtive movements" and that he saw an outline of a gun in the car by Barton's head.
KXAN News reports that Austin Police Chief Acevedo said of the incident, "He was not consistent with what we expect at the Austin Police Department. This is a profession where you don't get a bad day when it comes to deadly force."
What's really crazy about this case is how head-spinningly bizarre it is to hear common sense from a police department in a shooting case like this.