The article is by William Norman Grigg. Here are some excerpts:
Derek was house-sitting for a friend on the day he was murdered. Sandra Lopez, the ex-wife of Derek's friend, arrived with an 11-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter just shortly before the police showed up. After helping Sandra and her children remove some of their personal belongings, Derek was sitting placidly on the front step, clad in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, when an unmarked police car and a blacked-out SUV arrived and disgorged their murderous cargo.
The police vehicles screeched to a halt in front of the house shortly after 4:00 p.m. They ordered Lopez and her children away from Derek – who, predictably, had risen to his feet by this time – and then ordered him to remove his hands from his the pockets of his sweatshirt.
Less than a second later – according to several eyewitnesses at the scene – Derek was hit with a taser blast that knocked him sideways and sent him into convulsions. His right hand involuntarily shot out of its pocket, clenching spasmodically.
The officers continued to order Derek to put up his hands; he was physically unable to comply.
So they tased him again. This time he was driven to his side and vomited into a nearby flower bed.
Howard Mixon, a contractor who had been working nearby, couldn't abide the spectacle.
“That's not necessary!” he bellowed at the assailants. “That's overkill! That's overkill!”
At this point, one of the heroes in blue (or, in this case, black) swaggered over to Mixon and snarled, “I'll f*****g show you overkill!” Having heroically shut up an unarmed civilian, the officer turned his attention back to Derek – who was being tased yet again.
“I'm trying to get my hands out,” Derek exclaimed, desperately trying to make his tortured and traumatized body obey his will. Horrified, his friend Sandra screamed at the officers: “He is trying to get his hands out, he cannot get his hands out!”
Lt. William Brown of the Wilmington Police Department, who was close enough to seize and handcuff the helpless victim, instead shot him in the chest at point-blank range, tearing apart his vitals with three .40-caliber rounds. He did this after Derek had said, repeatedly and explicitly, that he was trying to cooperate. He did this despite the fact that witnesses on the scene had confirmed that Derek was trying to cooperate. He did this in front of a traumatized mother and two horrified children.
Read the full article here or here. The article gives much more background and includes a graphic of the incident.
The Rutherford Institute has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of Hale's widow here is their press release:
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit against Delaware law enforcement officials on behalf of a decorated Marine Corps veteran who was shot and killed in Wilmington, Del., in November 2006. Sgt. Derek J. Hale was tasered and shot three times while sitting on the front steps of a residence in the city after numerous Delaware State Police (DSP) and Wilmington Police Department (WPD) officers conducted what attorneys allege was a warrantless raid at the residence.
The complaint, filed on behalf of Sgt. Hale’s widow, father and mother by attorneys with The Rutherford Institute and the Neuberger Firm, along with other affiliated attorneys, alleges that the police officers acted without any cause and with excessive force in violation of national and local law enforcement standards and practices, thereby violating Sgt. Hale’s constitutional rights and the law of the State of Delaware. A copy of the complaint is available here.
“We’re greatly concerned about some police tactics that lead to overreaction,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “In this particular case, it is clear that there were egregious constitutional violations that resulted in the death of this decorated war veteran.”
On November 6, 2006, Sgt. Hale, a 25-year-old Virginia resident who served two tours of duty in Iraq and was honorably discharged the previous January with a service-related injury, was in Wilmington to participate in a “Toys for Tots” event and housesit for a friend. At approximately 4:00 p.m., three unmarked law enforcement vehicles with DSP and WPD officers pulled up to the house and numerous officers stormed the porch where Sgt. Hale was sitting with a mother and her two children.
The complaint alleges that even though Sgt. Hale was unarmed, offered no resistance and made no threatening motions, he was tasered three separate times by the officers, rendering him immobile. While paralyzed from the electric shock, Sgt. Hale was allegedly ordered to put his hands in the air; when he failed to do so, he was subsequently shot three times in the chest. The lawsuit alleges that law enforcement agencies had no evidence that Sgt. Hale was violating the law or was wanted on any outstanding warrants.
According to the complaint, an earlier DSP investigation into Hale’s background revealed him to be a model citizen with no criminal record, no history of substance abuse and no history of violence or mental illness. Charging that officers violated Sgt. Hale’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Sgt. Hale’s estate and family against the law enforcement officers involved in the raid and the City of Wilmington for causing Derek’s death through the unconstitutional use of excessive force. Institute attorneys are also asking the court to force the WPD and DSP to properly train their officers in the use of tasers and deadly force.