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Off-duty cop “Road Rage” 911 call: “They were going to fight on side of road”

Off-duty cop “Road Rage” 911 call: “They were going to fight on side of road”

Eyewitness Adam Pidel recounts to 911 the intent of Joseph Dean Harvey, Jr. to fight Walker on side of road — “But a gun? A bit much.”

Today’s post on the Joseph Walker “road rage” murder trial in Maryland will be relatively brief, as it focuses on the 911 call made by Adam Pidel in the immediate aftermath of the Walker’s shooting of Joseph Dean Harvey, Jr.

(The transcript of this 911 call was attached as Exhibit C to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, and copy is provided at the bottom of this post. NOTE: The transcript contains un-redacted profanity.)

Pidel’s tone is one of outrage that Walker had actually shot Harvey. Immediately after informing the dispatcher that he needs immediate medical assistance at the scene, Pidel provides an unsolicited recounting of Walker’s license plate number—which the transcript captures here as “ZDT77X”—and state, and a description of the make of Walker’s Kia minivan.

As is often the case for a passenger in a vehicle, Pidel has only a vague sense of their actual location, and has considerable difficulty in advising the dispatcher exactly where to send the first responders. Pidel repeated asks Harvey, “where are we at?” and it seems that Harvey may be trying to respond but has already weakened substantially due to his gunshot wounds.

Throughout the 911 call Pidel can be heard talking with Harvey, urging him to

Stay with me, Joe, concentrate on your breath. Concentrate on your breath. Just keep doing that. Keep breathing.

Pidel tells the dispatcher that Harvey has been shot at least twice in the chest, although I believe this information is incorrect.

When asked by the dispatcher to identify the vehicle he was in, Pidel describes it as a green Honda Accord, and when asked about Walker’s car he describes it as a gold Kia minivan, and provides the license plate number again, which the transcript this captures ZDE77X, a slight variation from the first capture as ZDT77X.

Pidel also informs dispatch:

[Walker] is here. And he is here. I mean, six feet from me right here. Like right in front of me. He has his kids and wife in the car. This is ridiculous.

Pidel then goes on to describe to the dispatcher some of what occurred immediately prior to the shooting:

Yeah. I’m pretty fucking scared. But, I mean, this dude is – I’m going to be honest, sir. Are we recording? This all started because they cut us off. And they were yelling at each other. And they were going to fight on the side of the road. But a gun? Like that’s, you know, that’s a bit much.”

Near the end of the 911 recording Pidel reports that he can “hear the ambulance,” although it seems likely this may in fact have been a police vehicle. He comments that Walker is exiting his minivan and walking around the back of the vehicle, out of Pidel’s line of site. Pidel believes Walker is walking back to the cop. At the prompting of the dispatcher he describes Walker as black.

Pidel asks if the dispatcher wants to talk to the approaching police officer, but the dispatcher declines, telling Pidel “If the officer is there, let him control the situation.”

Based on Pidel’s last few comments on the 911 recording, it appears that the officer elected to control the situation by securing Pidel:

Dude, are you – he shot somebody. Shot. The guy with a gun, and you’re coming at me?

Here’s a copy of the official transcript of Pidel’s 911 call:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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Comments

The more I hear the more sympathetic I am to Walker. In the absence of a duty to retreat I don’t see how he committed any crime.

That said, in a duty to retreat jurisdiction leaving the relative safety of his vehicle – a means of escape, defense, as well as a formidable weapon seems highly problematic. It is something the prosecution can easily spin into an act that sustained, or even escalated the confrontation. An act that then made the eventual use of his weapon more likely.

If Walker were an out of state non-cop he’d be doomed.

    tom swift in reply to ThomasD. | March 9, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Walker’s failure to use his van to retreat obscures what it actually a distinct issue; why did he stop in the first place?

    Postulate that Harvey stopped not to discuss the fine points of Maryland’s traffic laws, but to fight.

    And Walker stopped – why? Because he wanted to discuss traffic laws? Let’s reject that one for its failure to pass the laugh test.

    So, postulate further that Walker stopped for the same reason – to fight.

    But unlike Harvey, Walker brought along some hardware to ensure that it would be a fight to the death.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Try this.

      Walker is dodging the other guy’s vehicle, which is an immediate threat to the safety of his vehicle and its occupants, that includes his family.

      Walker has some training that you and I don’t have. Why wait until there is metal-to-metal contact? Stop. Reason. Defuse.

      Walker was heard by the eye witness (“Mr. B” in the earlier post) saying that “I just want peace” and standing by his vehicle with arms folded.

      Said eye-witness also said Harvey and Pidel charged Walker aggressively.

      Showing his badge and gun did not stop the aggression.

      Neither driving on and risking a fatal crash, nor stopping were good options. As it were, the cops and paramedics had trouble finding them stopped beside the road after the shooting. Would they have responded any sooner or more effectively to a rolling road rage ruckus? No one knows.

      Speculation is easy.

        tom swift in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

        Walker was heard by the eye witness (“Mr. B” in the earlier post) saying that “I just want peace” and standing by his vehicle with arms folded.

        Mr B was in a passing car and not really privy to conversational details.

        Said eye-witness also said Harvey and Pidel charged Walker aggressively.

        “Charged aggressively”, as in running? B specifically said that they were not running.

        Showing his badge and gun did not stop the aggression.

        Where is the witness statement that Walker showed his out-of-state badge to Harvey or Pidel?

        According to Pidel’s statement, when the gun was visible, Harvey was stopped. How much more “stopped” can you demand that the aggression, whatever it was, actually be?

          sequester in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 5:40 am

          Your post shows just why witnesses are subject to cross-examination before the jury is allowed to reach a conclusion.

          Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

          Observation: Hard enough to see what a badge says at conversational distance if the cop does not hold it still for several seconds (average of 5 seconds?), but from the distances described? Nope.

          Anecdote: We had to show our military IDs to get off base, “back when”. Some thought the gate guards were not paying attention to the IDs or just could not read them from 12ft away or so. So they tried folding a dollar bill and putting it in one of those cellophane flips used in billfolds at the time. The guards could not tell the difference.

          I think gold colored candy foil would work just as well under the conditions described, up until the local cops were on scene.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Walker was not head saying “I just want peace.” That is the witness attributing thoughts in Walker’s mind based on his unusual interpretation of Walker’s body language, which consisted of Walker having his arms folded in front of him.

          Also, from a Kinesic standpoint having your arms folded across your chest is not considered a “peaceful” stance. It is generally considered closed, defensive, and or intimidating.

          Just as a side note as someone that wears a shoulder holster at times, crossing my arms also allows me to unsnap the restraint on my holster without being obvious about it. Not saying that this has any bearing on this case, but just an interesting point.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

What seems to stick out for me is that the first cops sees two guys, one with a gun who just shot someone and Pidel. He then decides to secure Pidel. Guess the cop thought Pidel was the more dangerous of the two.

    What has not been said here is critical. Walker has no duty to retreat if he felt he was protecting his wife and child. Playing bumper cars on a multi-lane highway is assault with a deadly weapon in most states. When Harvey and Pidel “popped their doors” and advanced on Walker in a hostile manner they together were continuing the attack. I have seen nothing yet to convince me that Walker is guilty of anything other than having a gun and being from out of state.

      ThomasD in reply to OldNuc. | March 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Maybe.

      His wife and children were inside the car. Once the cars stopped the vehicular threat ceased.

      Did the threat from approaching Harvey or Pidel extend into an enclosed vehicle? The two were not visibly armed.

      Walker may have a leg to stand on claiming he was defending another, but only if he can establish he was reasonable in perceiving that others were indeed at risk from one, the other, or both.

      Again, if Walker were a non-cop, I think that he’d find that argument a very hard sell in an MD court.

        tom swift in reply to ThomasD. | March 9, 2014 at 8:48 pm

        Worse than that – defense would not only have to argue that anyone but Walker was in danger (and Harvey had reason to be mad at the van’s driver, and nobody else), but that his retreat would have left them in danger. If Walker’s only possible retreat would have required him to, say, turn and sprint from the scene, that argument might be tenable; but since his most promising retreat involved his van, with the family inside it, its plausibility seems pretty tenuous.

          Matthew Carberry in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm

          If Walker pulls over behind Harvey the vehicular threat to his family is over (unless Harvey backs into him). If he drives away the vehicular threat can resume as soon as he passes Harvey. “Driving away” is not a cut and dried solution.

          If he stays in his car he cannot effectively respond to a possible weapon, firearm or otherwise, and will have less chance of seeing it from within the vehicle, until it is against the glass.

          He can’t premptively run them over nor back up on the highway and is faced with a clear disparity of force whether inside the car or not, and depending on window glass for protection is idiotic. Any chance to fight back will be better out on the pavement. The more I think about it, it is the failure for he or his wife to be on the phone with 911 throughout, trying to get responding police, that was his major failing. If he had those transcripts in hand this likely never gets this far.

          I’m thinking ^^^^ THIS ^^^^^.

          Very fact sensitive case.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm

          “Driving away” is not a cut and dried solution.

          Of course not. If the world was made up of easy questions and easy answers we could all conserve a lot of bandwidth.

          But driving away, even if it leads to problems later, is still a proper response to a (possibly) deadly assault. It may very well not be a permanent solution, but that’s not the issue. The right to forcible self defense is not the right to solve your present and future problems once and for all. This is why you can’t shoot someone who isn’t attacking you but who might attack you in the future – in a week, in an hour, in fifteen seconds. Or at least you can’t call it defense.

          If you have a problem now, there are some things you can do about it. In Maryland, your first choice is pretty much limited to skedaddling. If that works, then Mission Accomplished. If you have another (though closely related) problem in the future – say, another encounter with the same belligerent person – you have the same options available as before. And in Maryland, that’s skedaddling again. This can go on all day, which is hardly ideal, but Maryland doesn’t seem to be too concerned with the ideal.

        TrooperJohnSmith in reply to ThomasD. | March 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

        Recall that unarmed thugs on motorcycles sure tore up a minivan and nearly killed the driver and his wife just a few short months ago in (“gun-free”) New York city.

        A big ol’ boy like Harvey breaking auto glass, especially in a piece of junk like a Kia, is no great feat.

        Also, “not visibly armed” has gotten a lot of good citizens and more than a few cops killed. Poor old George Zimmerman was getting his head bashed in by poor little unarmed Trayvon.

          tom swift in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm

          You can’t really compare physical assaults which actually happened to one which did not.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm

          Yes, the greater than 20 or 30 bikers tore up that vehicle. How does that compare to 2 guys in a Honda?

          Also, as far as I can tell Walker never had a hand laid on him, so how does that compare to Zimmerman and Martins confrontation?

          Apples vs Oranges isn’t very effective.

          Matthew Carberry in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | March 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm

          Gremlin, recall the Texas case (can’t lay my hands on the name) that was a media lightning rod about carry several (many?) years ago. Old guy, car window broken by bare-handed, unarmed, younger attacker. Old man unable to effectively defend himself or drive away once the young man is through the window. Shoots the young guy.

          Two young men, even unarmed, are a real threat to a person trapped in a vehicle.

          Not saying that is applicable in this particular case, but it is a real consideration in such cases and can’t be dismissed.

          Actual injury is not particularly relevant in a self-defense case, as defensive action is permitted if necessary to avoid injury in the firs place. See:

          Zimmerman Update — How Much Injury Is Required Before Self-Defense is Justified?, http://is.gd/3aZOUx

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to ThomasD. | March 10, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        Walker created the physical threat situation by pulling over in the first place. He got out of his vehicle, thus exhibiting no intention to retreat at that time when he could have.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    LOL. It hasn’t occurred to you that Walker immediately informed the cop he was LE and showed his badge, rattled off a quick rendition of events the way he wanted them viewed and the cop took his fellow officer’s word for it and braced Pidel instead?

      Whippersnapper in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Yep, Walker flashed his badge and said he was assaulted and the “blue code” took over. That is clearly what happened with the arrival of the first LE officer.

“the first cops sees two guys, one with a gun badge who just shot someone and Pidel…”

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to ThomasD. | March 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    And what does he do. Or rather what doesn’t he do? He doesn’t treat Walker as out of control or dangerous.

      Which, if Walker was not a cop, would seem to mitigate against his criminality.

      But the appearance of ‘professional courtesy’ (or perhaps an assumed deference) tends to obfuscate in these circumstances.

        tom swift in reply to ThomasD. | March 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm

        Cuffing is not actually an instantaneous determination of probable criminality.

        It’s a control thing. When confronted with a dangerous situation (and the presence of a body with bullet holes implies that the situation was, and may still be, dangerous), the first thing to do is control it. After that, first aid and preliminary investigation, including determination of the actual crime and an educated guess as to which are likely to be the guilty parties, can proceed in relative security.

        But the public doesn’t see it the way the police do. People detest being cuffed even temporarily just because the police think it’s a good idea.

        In this case, the responding LEO may have had only one pair of cuffs, and decided to put them on the guy who didn’t have a badge. A better choice when distributing a limited supply of cuffs is usually to leave the guy who called 911 for last.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm

          In these circumstances, the proper action for the cop first arriving at the scene would be to disarm Walker, pat him down, and place him in the back of his unit uncuffed. At that point, that would be the extent of ‘professional courtesy’ for an out of jurisdiction, off-duty peace officer allowed and save his cuffs for the other guy, if needed.

          Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm

          More likely Walker knew how to act and Pidel did not, so the first responder cuffed Pidel.

          Cops have plenty to carry as it is, could be he had just to one set of cuffs.

          Bruce Hayden in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

          I think that one reason to control the Pidel through cuffing here, and not Walker, is that Walker was there with family in a mini-van. What was he going to do – jump in the mini-van, and lead the police in a high speed chase, with his family in the vehicle? Not likely. Moreover, rattling off a police type summary likely helped him with his bona fides as the aggrieved party. But, if they didn’t, they should have secured his firearm, ASAP.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Walker got a solid from a fellow officer – blue wall professional courtesy. I’ve seen it happen several hundred times. The cop isn’t going to jack up a fellow officer standing there telling him he just shot a bad guy. The cop should have at least secured Walker’s sidearm and placed him in the back of his unit temporarily until he assessed the situation.

        Phillep Harding in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

        Do we know where the firearm was by that time?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Phillep Harding. | March 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

          Pidel says that Walker walked back toward the officer out of his sight line, and then the cop approached Pidel. There’s nothing there to indicate that the cop took Walker’s weapon and secured it as evidence or for any other purpose at that time. According to Pidel, the cop spoke to Walker and then approached him (Pidel).

        Phillep Harding in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm

        Pidel probably had tunnel vision, so Walker could easily have placed the firearm on top of his car or the responding cop could have taken the firearm and Pidel would not have noticed if he was focused on Harvey.

        I think we need a police report on this subject.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Phillep Harding. | March 11, 2014 at 12:46 am

          The point of my post is that Pidel said the cop spoke to Walker, then came to Pidel. There’s nothing to indicate that the cop secured the weapon.

          Cops don’t stuff unfamiliar firearms taken from somebody else into their belt when they have a lockable vehicle trunk immediately available.

        You do bring up something that I will be intrigued to see, is what Walker actually told the responding officer. That could also shed all kinds of light on this case.

    genes in reply to ThomasD. | March 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Of course, it’s not as if a cop has ever committed murder, shot an unarmed suspect or beaten a cuffed prisoner. We know that cops never break the law.

“And they were going to fight on the side of the road”

IOW, his friend Harvey was going to start a fight. Obviously he can claim no knowledge of what Walker intended.

IMO, this scores points for Walker, in re: his ‘reasonableness’ in believing that Harvey intended to assault him physically. The only contemporaneous witness, Harvey’s friend, says so.

    I agree, I see this as very damaging to the prosecution. Two men, each larger than the defendant, advancing on him aggressively, by their own testimony seeking a fight, defender has his wife and children with him.

    I think the imminent threat is quite clear.

    It’s retreat that is the issue.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      “It’s retreat that is the issue.”

      Yup. Given the instant history of Harvey using his vehicle as a means of assault on Walker’s vehicle and it’s occupants, was Walkers vehicle actually a ‘means of retreat’ ?

      No.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Andrew, I have a question. In this situation we have 2 guys from the same car who got out of the car and advanced, moved towards, and or moved aggressively towards Walkers car. According to Pidel’s statement he was several feet behind Harvey, frankly Mr. B’s statement is never really clear as to Pidel’s position, (which I think the cops should have done more to find out about). At what point is Pidel no longer a threat or just does his mere presence increase the threat, I understand the tactical evaluation of it, but from a legal standpoint. What if he was 30 feet back or even 20 feet back. At some point isn’t it a bit much to see it as multiple attackers?

      I am still having trouble with the reasonableness of Walker shooting and frankly the more we find out the more I see this as possibly an unreasonable shoot or at the very least imperfect self defense. If Pidel was a significant distance back and had stopped advancing is it fair to say claim multiple attackers?

      If that is so if a person is in a fight with me and someone is cheering for him can I just assume multiple attackers and shoot the guy, just because someone is obviously on his side?

        “If that is so if a person is in a fight with me and someone is cheering for him can I just assume multiple attackers and shoot the guy, just because someone is obviously on his side?”

        If they are clearly working in concert to cause you harm, they are all effectively one entity for purposes of self-defense law.

        Merely “cheering,” however is not enough. Cheering can’t hurt you.

        The more typical scenario is one or two guys hold you down while the third tries to kill you. Holding you down would not in and of itself be a threat of death or grave bodily harm justifying the use of deadly force in self-defense. But if done in concert with someone who IS trying to cause you death or grave bodily harm, then they’re fair game, too.

        Again, really important all this can be articulated in a reasonable way. Mere speculation–well, he COULD have . . . . –does not a robust narrative of innocence make.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm

          Yea, that’s kind of where I was going in my head. Sure Pidel “could” have been a threat, but if he was like 30 or so feet back, well then that might make it kind of hard to swallow. Just not enough evidence yet to really tell.

          I do think this one needs to be covered in court and let a jury decide.

    tom swift in reply to pjm. | March 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    The only contemporaneous witness, Harvey’s friend, says so.

    As a whole, Pidel’s statements won’t do Walker much good, as his will be the witness testimony that when Walker’s gun was pointed at or in front of Harvey, Harvey was stopped; ie, not advancing on Walker. So, no fight was in progress, and no assault was obviously imminent.

    But Walker shot him anyway.

    Defense might argue that Walker thought that after a pause, Harvey would renew his advance, so a dangerous assault might reasonably be thought to be imminent. But there doesn’t seem to be much reason to believe that. Harvey may have been obnoxious or even abusive, but there’s no claim so far that he was suicidal.

      pjm in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      “but there’s no claim so far that he was suicidal.”

      No, only that he was some asshole bound and determined to start a fight, because he was pissed off.

      Very few pissed off assholes are suicidal. Most of them go into the fight they have decided to start thinking ‘I’m gonna kick his ass’, and proceed on that assumption.

        tom swift in reply to pjm. | March 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm

        We do have Pidel’s statement that Harvey was the type to “finish things”; but at the same time he stated that Harvey wasn’t the type to go around assaulting police officers. Pidel didn’t elaborate about whether the officer’s out-of-state status would be a factor.

          As a juror, hearing that line, my reaction is ‘Oh, he only assaults people if they don’t show him a badge backed up by a gun’ ? I guess he f’d up this time, huh ?’

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

          Do you really think all the jurors will be that stupid?

          It’s very strainghtforward –

          Badge > LEO.

          Pidel’s statement that Harvey liked to “finish things” > interpret: Harvey intended to pummel Walker

          BUT

          Pidel’s statement that Harvey was not in the habit of assaulting LEOs > implication: if Walker showed badge, Harvey would have no intention to pummel him.

          See, the logical chain is really not too much of a brain strain.

        tom swift in reply to pjm. | March 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

        Most of them go into the fight they have decided to start thinking ‘I’m gonna kick his ass’, and proceed on that assumption.

        And that’s exactly the point. What did Harvey do when Walker’s pistol appeared? Did he do something both suicidal and atypical, like attack Walker anyway, or did he do what Pidel’s statement says he did; stop, and present Walker with a nice stationary target?

          bildung in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

          Just because Pidel says Harvey stopped doesn’t mean he did.

          Walker may well attest that Harvey continued the aggressive advance.

          And didn’t Walker already display his badge and gun while the vehicles were still moving, before Harvey advanced on foot after stopping, which according to Pidel he’d never do knowingly to a cop?

          And whatever Harvey might ‘normally’ do, let us remember he was drunk at the time of this incident.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 8:14 pm

          “And whatever Harvey might ‘normally’ do, let us remember he was drunk at the time of this incident.”

          And once again you purposely imply things that you can’t possibly know. I grew up in a house with an alcoholic step father and can tell you that he would not have appeared the least bit “drunk” at a .o8 BAC. I know this to be true because he was stopped for a broken tail light, the cop saw the open beer can and gave him a field sobriety test, which he passed with flying colors, of course he blew a .10 at the station and ended up with the DUI anyway, but oh well.

          You continuously say that Harvey was “drunk” that is a statement on behavior that you can’t possibly glean from a postmortem BAC. Oh are you also aware that postmortem human bodies actually produce small amounts of alcohol after death.

          Was Harvey “legally intoxicated” at the time, yes without a doubt. Was the amount of alcohol he consumed prior to the incident actually enough to effect his behavior and judgement, I have no clue and neither do you.

          Murphy in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 1:29 am

          “Legally intoxicated” is purely a legal term. It does not mean “drunk”.

          In many European countries and Australia, you have to be under 0.05 BAC to legally drive, in some countries it’s 0.02. Having a BAC above the local legal limit for drinking, be it a 0.03 in Israel or a 0.081 in the US, doesn’t necessarily mean anything about what laypeople generally see as “drunk”.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

          @Murphy

          That was exactly my point. Some people want to use the term “drunk” but that term is more a description of behavior than of BAC. So it is more objective to use the term “legally intoxicated” because no one here actually knew Mr. Harvey and can’t possibly know how he acted when “drunk”, they especially can’t tell that from a postmortem BAC.

      gregjgrose in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 1:39 am

      >> The only contemporaneous witness, Harvey’s friend, says so.

      I may have missed it, but…what is known about Mrs Walker’s statements?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    “THEY were yelling at each other and THEY were going to fight.” – Pidel

    Pidel obviously could hear the yelling. We don’t have the details of what was said, but the conflating of those two actions/ideas strongly suggests to me that they were mutually combative verbally and both intended to fight – “fighting words” on both sides. When Walker got out of his vehicle, he crossed his arms across the front of his body. Was he hiding his sidearm until Harvey got into good range?

    The sounds like a king hell setup/”sucker punch” (only with a firearm) to me.

What I can’t figure out is why Walker didn’t just get out of his car, sweep back his jacket to reveal his holstered gun, and announce to his harassers: I’m a cop, and you really don’t want to start something physical here.

    Do you know that he didn’t ?

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Pidel doesn’t say that Walker did that and witness Mr. B stated that Walker got out and folded his arms across the front of himself.

    tom swift in reply to Socratease. | March 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    If you’ve read Pidel’s police statement, which is not here but is linked in a previous post on this topic, he said that Walker did indeed present a gun, although not obviously aimed directly at Harvey, and that Harvey stopped. Walker shot him shortly after that.

    Pidel was cagey about what Walker and Harvey may have said to each other, claiming he didn’t hear it clearly. And that may be more convenience than truth.

      tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Well, how ’bout that, Pidel’s statement is here. Exhibit A, above.

      vsop4u in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      mr not so swift, his training told him, to go to high press. you do know what high press is don’t you?

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      If Harvey and Pidel stopped advancing when Walker pulled his weapon, game over. And that’s a totally believable response – to stop in their tracks – by two unarmed men being confronted by an armed man.

      When Harvey and Pidel stopped advancing, it makes Walker’s actions look like a cold-blooded anger killing. There’s no self-defense or defense of others to be found in his actions. I suspect he didn’t retreat because he wasn’t frightened. He was angry and knew he ultimately had the upper hand. It looks to me like he premeditated the killing when he pulled over, or even while they were yelling back and forth and were going to pull over to fight. That aspect of Pidel’s statement “They were yelling and were going to fight” is very damning to any notion of self-defense or “fear for one’s life or others.” Pidel says they stopped when Walker pulled the gun, an extremely believable and natural response.

      I think Walker set a trap to shoot Harvey, probably because he was angry about Harvey yelling racial epithets.

      Occam’s Razor.

Get a single mother who has a child on that jury and the prosecution should just hang it up. Walker could not just get back in the van and recommence the road chase through traffic as that has serious risks of harm to wife, child and others, he could not run and leave them either. I think he was boxed in and made the only choice he could, step out of the van and assume a non threatening posture and say “I just want peace”.

This is sure looking like a huge waste of the Maryland tax payers’ money.

    tom swift in reply to OldNuc. | March 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    “Boxed in”?

    Don’t the cars have to be stopped a bit closer for that? This didn’t take place in a tight one-lane alley. There was even traffic passing by, such as the car in which Witness B was a passenger.

      LibraryGryffon in reply to tom swift. | March 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      I’ve been boxed in by aggressive drivers on two and three lane highways in the past. Once a few years ago by a trucker in heavy traffic, and once, many years ago, on the Jersey Turnpike by a middle aged business man who had been flipping his lights at me because I was only going 15 mph over the speed limit when passing someone. I finished passing, pulled into the right lane, he passed me, and I made the mistake of flipping my lights once at him. I spent some very unpleasant and frightening minutes and miles trying to get away from him as he braked in front of me, forcing me to slow down. If I slowed down further, he’d slow down, and if I tried to change lanes he would swerve in front of me with a few feet (maybe) to spare. This was back before we all had cell phones. I didn’t stop, but it was after dark, the road was fairly empty, and I knew there was a rest area a few miles ahead. If it had been day light and rush hour, I probably would have pulled over to the side to try to get away from him. If he’d stopped then and come after me, God only knows what would have happened what with me being much smaller and unarmed.

      It’s been over 20 years, and just remembering it kicks my pulse up.

      I suspect that if I lived in Maryland and was called for jury duty, the prosecution would be excusing me very quickly.

        tom swift in reply to LibraryGryffon. | March 10, 2014 at 12:08 am

        You’re talking about a dynamic situation and dealing with someone who may have been considerably more dynamic than you. Two cars stopped some distance apart are a different matter.

          Phillep Harding in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

          They aren’t that far apart. I’m surprised they were that close.

          LibraryGryffon in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm

          Just a thought. Whether there is a lot of traffic or not, do you want to be the front car in a road rage incident when the other driver, the alleged aggressor, has a more powerful vehicle than you do?

          I know in my case the jerk’s car could out-accelerate mine quite handily. It was bad enough having him try to play bumper cars in front; if he’d been on my tail?

          Having an aggressor at your 6 o’clock–not to mention at the 6 o’clock of your wife and children–can never be a good idea.

          I imagine were I in Walker’s position I would have maintained distant, slowing when the angry Honda ahead of me slowed, and stopping when they stopped. I most certainly would NOT have attempted to drive past them.

          I still don’t really get why he couldn’t have backed away, however, especially when Harvey was some tens of feet from his own vehicle. Sure, Harvey might have run back to his car and re-engaged the chase, but then we’d have a different fact pattern, and one far more amenable to a self-defense claim.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 6:35 am

          On the few occasions I’ve witnessed such shenanigans, I’ve seen more aggression from the driver in front than from the one behind.

          The guys in front seem to think it a clever move to slam on their brakes, forcing the drivers behind to do something radical to avoid collision. Why any creature with a functioning nervous system would mistake this for good tactics is a mystery to me, but it happens anyway.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 8:19 am

          Ah, memories… I did have some putz try to “box me in” by stopping a single vehicle in front on an empty country road. I just drove around. I drove to the right of the obstacle, which took me into the wildlife (which happened to be flat and grassy at that point), but simple though that maneuver was it seemed to catch my pitiful nemesis flat-footed. I was a quarter mile down the road before the other vehicle started moving again, and I wasn’t speeding. That ended that little adventure.

          When I say “dynamic” I don’t mean very dynamic, just more dynamic than the annoyance.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to OldNuc. | March 10, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Get a single mother who has a child on that jury
    I think you’ve misphrased that a bit old boy. A better way might be to say “Get just one mother…”. The way you phrase it makes people wonder what the marital status of the mother has to do with anything.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to OldNuc. | March 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Oh, I think unless some just utterly damning evidence comes to light, this case probably ends in a hung jury whichever way you slice it, but I have been wrong before.

amatuerwrangler | March 9, 2014 at 11:25 pm

A couple of things… From earlier posts on this subject, as well as this one, Walker was the first to pull off the roadway, claiming to want to check for damage to his vehicle from the encounter up to that point. It sounded like Harvey’s vehicle was ahead of him at that time, and only pulled over after Walker did. Harvey was free to abandon the encounter and just keep driving, not even a true decision. I have not heard this commented on.

Following that, Harvey and Pidel both exit the vehicle and advance on Walker. I recall from Andrew’s book (no charge for the plug, Mr. B) that numerical disadvantage is a viable consideration when deciding the level of threat and the available options for defense. Walker now has two people, at least one of whom appear to be a physically threatening size, advancing on him. Walker does not know the state of mind of Pidel. He does not know what level of armament either is bringing to the party.

This could reduce the perceived safety of reentering the van, since the threatening people could approach one on each side and thus bring immediate threat to his wife and kids reducing Walker’s options of using his “equalizer” as they could end up in the line of fire.

It is not surprising that Pidel, as the lone living survivor from Harvey’s vehicle, has downplayed his involvement… claiming to only be a spectator rather than an accomplice. In many states (I am familiar with CA) should Pidel be deemed an accomplice to the potential assault of Walker, he could be held criminally responsible for the death of the other participant (the Felony Murder Rule).

    tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 10, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I have not heard this commented on.

    Some of the earlier “noise” has been superseded by actual witness statements. Those statements imply that Harvey’s car stopped, then Walker’s. There have been comments about that.

    Walker now has two people, at least one of whom appear to be a physically threatening size, advancing on him.

    That could well be. But Pidel has stated that Harvey stopped when the gun put in its appearance. Another witness, “B”, did not see that part of the encounter. (That’s all we have for statements so far; nothing from Walker or the wife yet.) So; did a stationary Harvey still present an imminent threat of serious harm to Walker? I can see that being argued either way, although some others seem fixated on one answer or the other.

    reducing Walker’s options of using his “equalizer”

    You’re dealing with what might have happened if this, and that, and something else, vs. what would definitely happen if Walker shot Harvey. The “might have happened” seems like it would have been more likely to result in a satisfactory outcome than what did happen – one man dead, another facing prison. Of course that’s all speaking with the benefit of hindsight.

    should Pidel be deemed an accomplice to the potential assault of Walker

    Doesn’t really figure into it. Pidel isn’t the one on trial.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 2:19 am

      Actually in a “Felony Murder” state if Pidel says something to that makes him appear to be an accomplice he can be put on trial.Makes for one hell of a reason to lie.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 4:38 am

      Mr Swift– you might want to re-read the statement given by Mr. Pidel with special attention to pages 21 – 23. It says that Walker stopped and then Harvey stopped some 200 feet further up the road.

      Pidel says he knew Walker was armed, he says he saw the gun. It is then quite believable that Harvey had the same knowledge. Knowing this, Harvey stopped his car for a personal confrontation with a man he knew to be armed, knowing that he was not armed. Pidel joined in the confrontation by exiting the car and joining Harvey in his approach.

      Walker knows he is armed. Two men who he has reason to believe know that he is armed since he displayed the gun earlier, opted to stop when he did and are now approaching him in a less than friendly manner. He has every right to think that they are either likewise armed, or suicidal. Neither option plays well for the party who is outnumbered 2 to 1.

      Pidel says Harvey “stopped”, but he said nothing about him backing off or even raising his hands in a manner to indicate he means no harm. Six feet is an incredibly close encounter under this kind of circumstance. Pidel said that he reached for his cell phone.. if it was in a pants pocket or clipped to his belt, Walker is seeing the “wing man” going for something during what is already a tense situation. My experience is that Walker is justified in taking the action he did. Whether MD law regarding a duty to retreat changes this is beyond my experience.

      I s

        Wait a minute. Pidel says he saw the gun when Walker was in the car. But his statement seems to find him surprised at the gun when they got out of the car: “And they were going to fight on the side of the road. But a gun? Like that’s, you know, that’s a bit much.”

        Did I miss something?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to creeper. | March 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm

          Pidel said he saw what he believe to be a gun being displayed by Walker before either car stopped.

          I believe that his statement to the 911 operator was just an expression of surprise and that he felt the use of a gun wasn’t warranted, or put shortly he was surprised by the use of a gun in the situation.

        tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 11, 2014 at 6:45 am

        Mr Swift– you might want to re-read the statement given by Mr. Pidel with special attention to pages 21 – 23.

        D’oh! Yes, you are correct, so it says on page 21; thanks for the specific citation.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

          It was witness B who said that the Honda stopped first, not Pidel.

          On page 5 –

          “So then finally the Honda pulls over first. And then the guy in the van pulls over. So the two gentlemen in the Honda jump out of the car. And the man just stands by his van.” Etc.

          No further details on distance between the two cars from Mr. B.

          Pidel said the Honda stopped 200 feet in front of Walker’s van.

        tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 11, 2014 at 6:50 am

        Walker is seeing the “wing man” going for something during what is already a tense situation.

        But why shoot Harvey if Pidel might be the real threat?

        And after the shooting, Walker didn’t seem overly concerned about Pidel. I don’t recall Pidel stating that Walker ever pointed the gun at him (Pidel) or made any other threatening gestures.

          Semper Why in reply to tom swift. | March 11, 2014 at 11:54 am

          IDPA rules. Nearest to farthest. 🙂

          Actually, IDPA also states that everyone gets a bullet before you go back to double tap, so its obvious that IDPA rules don’t apply.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to tom swift. | March 10, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Harvey may have stopped but Pidel may not have.

      If two men are advancing aggressively, Walker, even with his gun out, is still at risk. If the two men split up and position themselves in such a way that he cannot cover them both, having the gun will only help if he neutralizes one. So, while Harvey may have stopped, it is possible that Pidel may not have, and Walker may have elected to fire before Pidel reached him. If Pidel is still coming, and Harvey temporarily stopped, they may have decided to pincer him. Waving the gun from one man to another leaves both Walker and his family at risk.

      Therefore, Walker did the only thing he could have to stop both men: fire at the stationary one who made the best target. Pidel’s reaction, evident on the 911 tape, suggests that the men thought they had neutralized Walker enough to open up a can of whup arse on him.

The case hinges on what the jury will consider reasonable. Walker’s actions up to the point he shoots seem justifiable, certainly he gets the benefit of any doubt on those. To claim self-defense, he will have present some evidence of aggressive intent after he shows his gun.

Pidel’s testimony surely deserves close scrutiny because of his own potential penal interests. But if it is the only evidence of the actual moment of the shooting, Walker will probably have to testify to argue any contradictory set of facts.

AB did admit previously that he is being fed by the defense, but IMO there are a few things on the menu that helps the prosecution. On a previous post witness, Mr. B, tells of Harvey repeatedly yelling at Walker to “pull over.” Mr. B then says the “Honda pulls over first. And then Walker pulls over. And Walker just stands there.” “As soon as Walker seen they (Harvey/Pidel) was coming, that’s when he (Walker) just stood there like this (arms crossed).” Walker claims he pulled over to inspect for vehicle damage, but if he were in fear for his or his families safety why didn’t he continue on and leave his tormenter by the side of the road? Personally, I think the fact that Walker decided to stop behind Harvey was clear indication that he was accepting Harvey’s invitation for a confrontation. To me, Walker’s actions aren’t reasonable as he never called 911 and he decided to, as Harvey requested, pull over.

    OldNuc in reply to MarkS. | March 10, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Calling 911 is not a requirement.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to OldNuc. | March 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

      I don’t know when but Mrs. Walker did call 911 or try to call 911.
      Consider the progression of events.

      Everything is copasetic. No problems.
      Something small tiny thing starts happening. Not even thnking of calling anyone.
      It’s getting a bit more serious. Maybe we should call someone.
      It’s starting to really get serious. Not an emergency but you should call someone. What’s the NEN? In Chicago it’s 311 and it sucks. What to do? This is especially problematic if you are from out of town.
      Now the shit is going down. You’re too worried about what’s happening and paying attention to call 911.

      Afterwards is another question.

      I suspect though that you get a lot more calls from bystanders then parties to incidents to 911. For that very reason.

      Olinser in reply to OldNuc. | March 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Calling 911 is not a requirement, but it certainly doesn’t help his case that Walker apparently never once even tried.

      A big part of the Zimmerman case was the fact that he was on the phone to 911 for an extended period of time. Even while people were whining that he ‘disregarded instructions’, him calling 911 made the claim that he ‘stalked and killed Martin’ laughable at best. You don’t generally call 911 right before you intentionally kill somebody.

      On the other side of the scales with the recent Dunn trial, his failure to call 911 (or ANYBODY, really), was fairly damning to him.

      Here, not so much Walker himself, as you could easily say that he didn’t free safe trying to get his phone out in the situation, but his wife’s failure to call 911 points to a mutual rage incident.

      To me, what is going to kill Walker is reasonableness. If you stop on the side of the road and get out of your car, you are looking for a fight. To then shoot somebody without a weapon, before he even gets close to you, is not an act of self-defense.

      I think the prosecution will very effectively paint Walker as somebody that wanted a fistfight on the side of the road and suddenly reconsidered when he saw the other guy was bigger than he was, and then tried to hide behind his badge to cover up his mistakes.

        creeper in reply to Olinser. | March 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

        No cop’s wife is going to call 911 unless he tells her to.

        Baker in reply to Olinser. | March 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        Evidently Walker’s wife did call 911 but it seems (based on the defense motion)that the call was made after the two cars were stopped and Walker and Harvey/Pilden were outside the vehicles. It was possibly as late as after: “Det. Walker drew his service weapon. Det. Walker displayed his badge and identified himself as a police officer, telling Harvey and Pidel to just “go away.”

        I don’t recall having seen any other reference to Walker or his wife having called 911 prior to that and they are no other 911 calls specifically listed (other that Pidel’s) in the Exhibits to the Motion.

        That does not mean that there are no more 911 calls related to the incident as a whole such as potential 911 calls prior to the direct confrontation/shooting on the exit ramp or 911 calls from witnesses to the direct roadside confrontation/shooting.

          FYI, Walker and his wife called 911 at the same time that Pidel called 911–after the shooting and up to the moment responding officers arrived.

          I’ll have a post on it tomorrow, along with the transcript of the Walker 911 call.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Baker in reply to Baker. | March 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm

          Funny, Andrew – I almost included a line on my post about how we had to wait for the next episode to find out the details of the call.

          Also funny that the wording of the defense motion would lead one to believe that the call was made before the shooting. Oh well, I guess that is called just aggressive presentation.

      tom swift in reply to OldNuc. | March 11, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Calling 911 is not a requirement.

      It’s not a requirement. It’s “reasonable”.

      The entire concept of forcible self defense is based on what a “reasonable man” might perceive, think, and do. If the jury can’t be persuaded to see Walker as a “reasonable man” then he’ll have problems.

Seems to me that at the time Walker used deadly force, Harvey was 150 feet away from his vehicle. Walker could have gotten in, driven away and been long gone by the time the fat guy got back to his car and set off to chase him.

So, I think retreat was still a viable option.

    Was it really 150 feet ? IOW 50 yards ? Wow.

    A) That’s a hell of a good shot with a handgun, especially in a stress situation.

    B) That’s not self defence (assuming the other guy was unarmed).

      BrokeGopher in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Harvey and Walker were only 6-10 feet apart at the time of the shooting, so it’s not a remarkable shot. The point is that Walker could have driven away, and Harvey would have had to go back 150 feet to his car to resume the chase. Plenty of time for Walker to get away.

        OH. 6 – 10 feet is ‘danger close’, well inside ‘danger close’.

        It does NOT give Walker ‘plenty of time’ for ANYTHING. It takes maybe 1 or 2 tenths of a second to close that gap. FAR less time than Walker could have opened a car door, gotten in, and closed and locked it, let alone started the car and driven it ANYWHERE.

        Harvey walking 150 feet from his car to Walker weighs heavily against Harvey, and in favor of Walker’s ‘reasonable fear of attack’.

          BrokeGopher in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

          Ok but Walker could have climbed in and driven away at any point during that 150-foot walk. Didn’t have to wait for the “danger zone”.

          pjm in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

          No. Harvey had demonstrated his willingness and intent to play ‘bumper cars’, and not let Walker ‘leave the altercation’, even in a vehicular way.

          IOW, if someone is chasing you in your car with his car, do not assume that he will suddenly change his intent.

          Further, by ‘playing tag’ or whatever automotively, ALL the occupants of the vehicles are in danger of a deadly crash. Stopping your vehicle is a reasonable way to abate this risk. Starting it up and driving again is NOT a reasonable action at that point. Reason says that Harvey will simply get back in his car and continue the threat as he had been doing to that time.

          BrokeGopher in reply to pjm. | March 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

          What I’m saying is once Harvey was far away from his car, you take “bumper cars” out of the mix, because he’d have to traverse that distance on foot. You have the opportunity to get away and not have him be able to follow. Harvey doesn’t exactly look like he had a stellar 40-yard dash time.

          tom swift in reply to pjm. | March 11, 2014 at 7:06 am

          Harvey had demonstrated his willingness and intent to play ‘bumper cars’, and not let Walker ‘leave the altercation’, even in a vehicular way.

          So . . . because Harvey might want to play more “bumper cars” after he made it back to his car, and because the additional “bumper car” action might lead to a car crash (although it hadn’t the first time ’round), and despite all the 911 calls flying about the police might not show up to put a damper on the festivities . . . it would be better to shoot Harvey dead.

          Somehow, I can’t imagine a jury seeing a compelling tale of innocence there.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to BrokeGopher. | March 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    …..assuming he really was frightened and wanted to retreat. Walker’s actions indicate otherwise.

Let me give you an insight into the mind of many law enforcement officers, soldiers and others who employ tactical thinking.

While the law may require that a person, under assault, attempt to retreat, the extent of that attempt is not specifically addressed. There can come a point where it becomes obvious that escape is simply not going to work, especially if the attempt is placing the person on greater danger.

In Walker’s case, he had to protect not only himself, but his family. By stopping and exiting his vehicle, he distanced his family from the aggressors and increased his own mobility. To continue involving them in a vehicle chase only served to keep them in a state of danger. He had no idea if either of the men were armed. They could have been carrying concealed pistols. If they turned concealed firearms against Walker’s vehicle, there is a very good chance that members of his family would be injured or killed. He warned his attackers off several times, showing them that he was armed, and still they continued their aggression. And, LEOs are trained to handle situations themselves, rather than call for help.

Now, one thing that no one here seems to be commenting on, is the fact that Harvey had no reason to approach Walker, in an aggressive, or any other other, manner. Walker had made it abundantly clear that he did not wish to have any interaction with Harvey and Pidel. Yet, they stalked him, threatened him and finally approached him in an aggressive manner highly suggestive of an imminent physical attack. The fact that Harvey was found six feet in front of Walker’s vehicle, after suffering one or two gunshot woulds to the chest suggests that Harvey was within 25 feet of Walker, when shot and possibly much closer. Most people, when shot in the chest with a handgun in an effective caliber, travel no more than 10-15 feet. And that is usually if they are on drugs or running toward the shooter.

As I see this case, the prosecution is trying a man, who acted in defense of himself and his family, for not retreating far enough. This is a very technical point and can easily be lost on a jury. There is no doubt that Harvey and Pidel were the aggressors. There is no doubt that they would have continued to pursue Walker and his family until they caught them. There is no doubt that Harvey and Pidel knew that they were pursuing a man who was armed with a firearm. When he produced it, on the side of the road, Harvey continued to advance upon him in an aggressive manner suggestive of an imminent physical attack. In any civilized state no indictment would have bee issued against Walker.

This case is going to hinge entirely upon one thing; how far was Walker expected to retreat in the face of determined pursuit? Pursuit which placed he and his family at significant risk of physical injury or death?

    MarkS in reply to Mac45. | March 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    According to witness Mr. B, Harvey pulled off the road first and then Walker stopped behind him . The actions of one wishing to avoid a confrontation ?

      Bruce Hayden in reply to MarkS. | March 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Yes – I think that stopping when the car ahead of you that has been playing bumper cars with you stops, is prudent. On the few times that I have been involved in road rage incidents, I have gotten behind the other vehicle, and stayed behind. When they slowed, I slowed. And, if there was a turnoff, I would wait until they passed it, and turn off. The worry is that if you pass them, when they are stopped, that they will start up again, catch up, and be able to play bumper cars again.

    tom swift in reply to Mac45. | March 11, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Harvey and Pidel were the aggressors

    This is of no consequence. It’s a self defense case. Was Harvey engaged in a dangerous physical attack on Walker? Or, if not, would a “reasonable man” believe that such an attack was imminent? Nothing else justifies use of deadly force by Walker. ANY other form of “aggression” by Harvey is irrelevant. Who was chasing whom, who was insulting whom, who was gesturing and bellowing epithets, which of the parties was being a bigger jerk with his car immediately before the shooting – none of that matters. And this is without even considering Walker’s problem with the “duty to retreat”.

    Now in a hypothetical variant, if Harvey had approached Walker “in an aggressive manner” and had ended up killing Walker, the details of the “aggressive manner” might be important if he tried to claim that he killed Walker in self defense. But that would be a different trial altogether.

mr swift, you are truly misnamed.

    vsop4u in reply to vsop4u. | March 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    mr not so swift, he probably went to high press, as his training dictated. you do know what high press is don’t you?

What an awful case. Just horrible. I can’t imagine how frightened Walker’s wife must have been.

I have to agree with others that the fact that Walker pulled over may not sit well with the jury. I think the defense has to drive home that Walker had little choice because Harvey was pursuing them.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to gxm17. | March 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    She may have felt some level of fear, but her husband was an armed, trained peace officer. We don’t know what she was feeling. She may have been just as angry as her husband was.

    All Walker had to do from the git-go was gesture a wave and call out a “Sorry man, sorry about that.” Instead, he decided to participate in foolishness that got a man killed and himself charged with M1.

    Pretty damn dumb.

Phillep Harding | March 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

If I can tell how to throw a car out of control with a gentle nudge by watching the cop shows on TV, so could Harvey. Did Walker know how? He would correctly be nervous that Harvey might recall it.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Phillep Harding. | March 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    The center of gravity an Accord is much lower then a van. A decided advantage in a bumping match. Plus vans tip over very easy I can see not wanting to pass a hostile person in one.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Phillep Harding. | March 11, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Yea, lets also remember that lots of things look easy on TV. I have been in a Police Car that did a PIT maneuver on another car, it is far from a “genital nudge”.

Richard Aubrey | March 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Suppose Walker had gotten back into his car and taken off immediately Harvey and Pidel got out of theirs. That would give him, say, five seconds’ head start.
Supppse Walker waited until Harvey was, say 100 feet from his–Harvey’s–car. Figure twelve seconds for Fat Guy to retrieve his car and take off in pursuit.
So, in twelve seconds, Walker has covered how much ground? He’s hit seventy and may still be accelerating.
So when the defense lays out the diagrams, showing shortest and longest head starts, is Walker’s car going to be visible to Harvey?
Okay, Fat Guy may be tough but he’s slow. Seventeen seconds.
The idea that hitting the road would put Walker out of danger is going to be a tough sell. In fact, although IANAL, I have argued with kids. And you don’t want to bring up a subject which can be turned around on you with the greatest of ease.

    I just don’t see Walker in his Kia minivan loaded with his wife and kids out-racing Harvey in his Honda Accord–under those circumstances Harvey is always going to be willing to drive faster and more recklessly than will Walker, and Harvey’s now in the enormously advantageous position of being behind Walker. How’s walker supposed to be keeping an eye on Harvey when they’re both racing down the highway at, what, 70? 80? Whatever a Kia can do?

    I don’t see Walker racing ahead as any kind of solution, because it would just induce Harvey to get back in his own car and pursue. I’d like to think it would be possible for Walker to slowly roll his minivan back, and draw Harvey further and further from his vehicle, until the gap is large enough that Walker really can achieve safety before (if ever) Harvey can catch up.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Whippersnapper in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    As I recall, the traffic was heavy…so there would be considerable cars then between the two “dueling” road rage participants.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Keep in mind that Walker has to merge with traffic. Harvey doesn’t care if he hits anyone else. So he is less constrained there.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      “Keep in mind that Walker has to merge with traffic. Harvey doesn’t care if he hits anyone else. So he is less constrained there.”

      Once again you psychic powers astound. What evidence do you have that Harvey didn’t care who he hit????? Need me to answer for you? You have None as usual.

      It would seem to me someone that “doesn’t care if he hits anyone else” would have forced Walker off the road, but instead as far as any current report states Harvey never made contact with Walkers van. So if Harvey was the complete homicidal maniac that you seem to imply why wouldn’t he have hit the person he was so livid with?

      At least try to seem objective, though at this point I doubt you have the capacity.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 11, 2014 at 1:12 am

      A guy desperately in fear for his life and the lives of his wife and children would be more likely to not give a damn who he ran into than a fat guy pissed off about a traffic blunder. I’ll point out that Walker ran Harvey off the road without so much as a gesture of apology, thereby already demonstrating he couldn’t care less about other drivers on the road.

        A fat, legally intoxicated, pissed off guy.

        Look, at this point it is supposition & wishcasting as to whether or not either Walker or Harvey would be willing to actually ram another car on a busy highway.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Semper Why. | March 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          Yes, but one of the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior. Harvey wasn’t even willing to actually make contact with Walkers van, the person he was lividly angry with, so there is no reason to assume he would just ram into others willy nilly as was implied.

At this point, I think the DA’s office has got to be looking for a way to fold ’em without looking too idiotic.

They’re never, ever, ever going to get murder 1; they surely know it by now. This whole persecution is just obeisance to the gun hating Dem lawfare machine, which Walker (like Zimm) ironically is 98% likely to enable with his vote.

But, be that as it may, just imagine Mrs. Walker on the stand, sobbing and shaking and reliving the mortal fear of it all, and pointing to her defenseless children….

and then tell me how on earth a conviction is remotely likely.

Maybe this will be one of those rarities where the judge spares them the embarrassment, so long as the DA doesn’t demagogue it too much on the courthouse steps.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 10, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Man between you and Mouse, you guys could clean up the cold case files for the country in just a year or 2. Since having seen a minimal amount of evidence you can come to such solid conclusions.

    Unfortunately, I prefer to look at things objectively and wait for the evidence to actually mature or even be available for that matter. Also you might also take into account that all of this evidence is from the defense so is probably going to be slanted that way.

Richard Aubrey | March 11, 2014 at 12:03 am

Mr. B. WRT Walker sucking Fat Guy into moving too far from FG’s vehicle: First, you presume FG would be that single-minded and not twig until he was too far away. Even then, if he tried to hustle back to his car and died of a heart attack, would Walker be under indictment for something or other? I exaggerate only slightly.
Second, the defense would have the time and resources to show every obstacle to the backing up. Curve, guard rail, merging traffic. Remember, we’re not trying to convince an engineer with an aspergers’ single-minded attention to [one] detail, but a jury with a number of parallel lines of issues to consider. I mean, you have to look over your shoulder to back up, right? So how do you keep the seductive distance from FG while not looking at him? Those backup televisions only give you what amounts to a parking space view. And while you’re checking to see that FG is close enough to be tempted to keep coming, and not so close he can get close enough to make trouble, are you concerned about swerving into the traffic lane? If so, do you inadvertently slow down and FG catches up?
As I have said, as a juror I would try very hard to follow the law, considering that my fellow citizens think it important. But the prosecution’s frequent mention of duty to retreat isn’t going to make me see it if it isn’t there. And I’d better see it, or everybody’s wasted a lot of time.

After reading through these comments I think there is something that needs a bit more perspective. The Road Rage incident didn’t happen over 20 miles, or 10 miles, or even 5 miles. Looking at Bing or Goggle maps will tell you that the Wawa’s where Walker “cut off” Harvey is only about 1.5 miles away. So the “Bumper cars” part of this incident played out over somewhere between 1 to 3 minutes (3 minutes if they were going 1/2 to 3/4 speed).

Now it probably seemed like much longer to the folks in the cars, but it actually happened fairly quickly. So I don’t think it is fair to say that Harvey had made it clear that he would have continued to pursue Walker. I would agree if it had been over miles and minutes but it wasn’t.

This is also most likely why Walker never called 911, there just wasn’t that much time from the cut off to the shooting.

    “This is also most likely why Walker never called 911, there just wasn’t that much time from the cut off to the shooting.”

    FYI, Walker called 911 the same time as Pidel. There’ll be a post up here covering Walker’s 911 call later today (it’s in the editorial queue).

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Yep, I should have been more clear and said that it was “why Walker didn’t call 911 prior to the shooting, he just didn’t have time.”

    Baker in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Good call on the time issue. I’ve measured the distance more than once and came up with less that 6,000 ft from the ‘cut-off’ to shooting. The whole distance is a straight road with at least two-lanes (excluding exiting lanes/roads) and limited access. The estimate of 1-3 minutes is spot on. My estimate was around 2 minutes.

Richard Aubrey | March 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

Defensive driving protects you, sometimes, from morons. I’ve been cut off, had other stupid stuff happen to me because of other drivers.
I can’t recall anybody ever making any gesture of apology, because they had no idea what they’d done. They’re just going on their way with their clueless tunnel vision. Or maybe they’d been distracted by a kid in the car and they’re usually better drivers.
I’ve only seen two guys in fifty years of driving trying to be buttheads, and an unmarked cop picked off one of them. Figuratively speaking, unfortunately.
99.99% of the time we go on our way, muttering or even swearing, with the incident no longer generating adrenalin after about two minutes, tops.
Point is, anybody who immediately wants to fight because he thinks he’s been deliberately done wrong in traffic is a menace to society. To presume somebody that nuts is going to be reasonable and rational once he gets out of his car and is approaching the other party is…not reasonable. Again, you can’t stop a juror from thinking, if he’s in the habit of thinking.

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