After police officers attempted to pull over an allegedly impaired driver, who injured an officer, they shot and killed the driver.
On Monday, October 31, Torrance police officers responded to numerous 911 calls of a uncontrolled female motorist driving allegedly under the influence in downtown area of Torrance, California. When the police arrived to the scene, they saw Ford Fusion, driving hazardously. It was driven on the wrong side of the road, almost crashing into several vehicles. Sergeant Paul Kranke reported that the car had obvious signs of previous collisions with something or someone. They also noticed deployed side airbags. The driving pattern was very dangerous and frantic.
The police chased Ford Fusion for about 8 minutes through the streets of Torrance. Realizing that the suspected car was approaching a school area the police decided to get the reckless driver of the road. Police used a precision immobilization technique maneuver to redirect and stop the vehicle. The police maneuver disabled the car only temporary but the vehicle accelerated in reverse, hitting one police car with some officers inside. After that, the vehicle proceeded to driver forward, striking the second police car. Then the driver drove the car on the curb, through the bushes and into the gas station. Several police officers were out of their cars while the car drove directly at them, putting their lives in danger. At that moment law enforcement officers opened fire at Ford Fusion.
Part of this confrontation with the cops was captured on a cellphone by a witness. It shows how the Ford Fusion hits the police cars and how the police officers initiate the shooting. Officers performed life-saving measures on the driver until the paramedics arrived and took female driver to a local hospital. The wounds were too severe and she died in the hospital. One of the officers was injured, suffering non-life threatening injuries. He got necessary treatment and left the hospital.
The person behind the wheel was identified as a 39 year-old woman, Michelle Lee Shirley. Her parents said she suffered from bipolar disorder. She graduated from the University of California and was a successful entrepreneur. She had been suffering from bipolar disorder for 10 years. Her sister said, she was quite nervous last few days and she probably stopped taking medication. When her illness was uncontrolled, Shirley experienced delusions.
Shirley moved to Los Angeles two weeks ago and started working for Uber to supplement her income. Three policemen shot more then 20 times at her car, eventually killing the woman. All of them are on administrative leave now, as the investigation goes on. Ford Fusion was spotted near the gas station with bullet holes and shattered driver’s side window. Shirley’s parents said: “This incident should teach law enforcement officers a lesson. They should finally learn how to cope with mentally ill people. They can’t treat disabled African American people like that”.
According to Ruderman Family Foundation, an organization that focuses on people with disabilities, almost one in two persons killed by policemen in 2016 suffered from some kind of mental disorder. The Washington Post tracks cases that result in death at the hands of police officers. Their statistics shows that Michelle Shirley was the 800th person killed by the police this year. It is common nowadays that police departments are accused of unlawful actions shooting of persons during a police confrontation. If police officers were better trained how to cope with mentally ill persons, these fatal consequences could have been avoided.
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