On Friday, December 26, Texas City Police officers became the center of controversy following the shooting of an armed African-American male. According to Daily News – Galveston, Carlton Wayne “Chimmy” Smith was killed following an incident that took place in the parking lot of a club.
The club owner reportedly contacted police because of a fight involving the woman Smith was with and a another female. The club owner also stated that people were lingering in the parking lot after the fight. A 100 or more people were lingering outside of the club. Officers and witnesses also stated that Smith had a gun in his hand when police arrived. That’s when things reportedly took a turn for the worse when gunshots were heard.
According to the police’s account, Smith was firing a gun into air where the crowd of people stood. Then, he allegedly pointed the gun at the officers. One officer, whose name has not been released, reportedly asked Smith to drop the weapon and when he didn’t the officer fired at him. Authorities have not released further details about the situation so it is unclear how many shots were fired or how many times Smith was hit. However, several media outlets have reported that Smith was shot a total of five times, twice in the face.
“It was not determined which shot was first, but Smith received one shot to the upper left shoulder, which traveled in a downward direction, one shot to the left side, one shot to the upper left chest, two to the face, one striking the left cheek and the other striking the chin.”
The Huffington Post also reported that a nurse on site was not allowed to treat Smith. But, apparently, many witnesses felt the shooting was an example of excessive force.
Even though witnesses admitted Smith was armed, many were still outraged by the officer’s actions. In wake of the controversy surrounding the shootings of African-American males by police officers, apparently many onlookers still found fault in the officer’s hasty decision to shoot Smith.
— The People's Report (@PeoplesReport) December 28, 2014
Although the events that led to Smith’s death differ from the controversial deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the crowd definitely didn’t see it that way. Many people turned their anger toward the police and began throwing bottles, rocks, and other objects at the officers. The abrupt turn of events nearly caused yet another riot.
Many users took to Twitter with their disdain for the officer’s decision. Although Smith was armed, many feel the shooting was excessive and the situation could have been handled differently. Over the past couple weeks there have been other incidents where officers facing similar circumstances chose not to shoot.
As previously reported on Inquisitr, two Milwaukee police officers chose not to shoot a man chasing them with a butcher knife. Although their lives were in danger, they opted not to shoot. So, many liberals argue whether or not the officer handled the situation tactfully. Of course, others feel Smith’s death will be overlooked due to racially charged reasons.
— *MsDenise* (@Nechanna) December 27, 2014
Bar fight leads to woman shooting into air to break it up. You know like Sarah Palin's family, but they're black so #CarltonSmith is dead.
— No Justice No Peace (@drumbeats4peace) December 27, 2014
cant be a "thug" with no criminal record. #CarltonSmith
— . (@YGFoe) December 28, 2014
How can you judge someone you know nothing about. You guys don't want facts. You just want something to talk about. #CarltonSmith
— Kwenten Griffin (@_BigGriff34) December 27, 2014
— Vicki Walden (@TheVikChick) December 27, 2014
While many were outraged by Smith’s death, Police Chief Robert Burby recently spoke out to defend his department. He revealed the fatal shooting by an officer was actually the first in his department in the 10-and-a-half years he been police chief.
“We got a family who just lost a loved one, period. We have an officer who had to fire his service weapon and he is affected. We all are affected.”
Based on the evidence thus far, do you think the Texas City shooting was an example of excessive force? Share your thoughts?
[Image via Click 2 Houston]