It doesn’t look like I’m going to run out of “white cop shoots unarmed black man” stories to write about any time soon—except this time it was two black men.

As always, please note the caveat that this shooting event is still developing, and all the “facts” in my possession are sourced from “journalists” and thus may have only a tenuous relationship to the truth.

The reporting comes from The Olympian newspaper out of Washington.  It seems that an officer with the Olympia police department, 35-year-old Ryan Donald, scored multiple hits on two robbery suspects who decided they’d rather attack the officer than comply with lawful orders.

Indeed, the two men—reportedly brothers—were apparently so determined to tangle with Officer Donald that even after he’d shot one of them and they’d both managed to successfully flee, they came back.  The second man was “shot multiple times in the torso.”

The police department reports that Donald immediately set about providing first aid and called for emergency medical response.

One of the men is now reported to be in “stable condition”, and the other in critical condition.

Both of the suspects are black men in their early 20s, one named Bryson Chaplin and the other named Andre Thompson (in featured picture, above). Officer Donald is white.

The two men alleged to have attacked Officer Donald are said to have been unarmed, by which it is meant that they did not possess firearms.  There were, of course, two of them, which immediately creates a disparity of force justifying escalation.  At least one was also “armed” with a skateboard which was allegedly used against the officer, and of course both were armed with fists and feet.

Officer Donald was dispatched to his encounter with the two men after they were observed trying to steal beer from a Safeway at about 1:00am.

When challenged by store employees, the men threw the products at the employees and fled.  Armed with a remarkably detailed description—including the suspect’s clothing, height, weight, and even tattoos—it took Officer Donald all of about 15 minutes to chase these guys down.

Donald reports that they immediately attacked him, compelling him to shoot.  The two men fled into nearby woods. Officer Donald declined to pursue them alone and instead called in the “shots fired.”

Shortly thereafter, however, the two men emerged from the woods and once again confronted Donald.  It was at this time that the second man received those multiple torso hits.

Like my Dad always said: poor choices, poor outcomes.

Police Chief Ronnie Roberts seems to be taking a reasonable position on the matter:

It’s unfortunate that an officer was involved in a situation where he believed he had to use deadly force. An investigation will determine whether that was an appropriate use of force.

This is in marked contrast to Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum, who seems to have already assumed the position:

It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as the result of an altercation with an officer of the law.  We are committed to open dialogue where people can gather and share their feelings, show their compassion and stand up for what I think represents our values.

The Olympian reports that a “no justice, no peace” protest involving about 50 people began around noon yesterday, and had dispersed within a half-hour.

The paper also reports:

The shooting will not be investigated by the Olympia Police Department, Roberts said. It will instead be investigated by the Thurston County Critical Response Team, a group made up of five local law enforcement agencies. The investigation will be led by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Roberts said the Olympia Police Department doesn’t use body cams or dash cams.

It’s anticipated that this investigation will take several weeks.  Officer Donald has reportedly already given a preliminary statement to investigators.

That’s about all we’ve got on that situation. Naturally, we’ll keep an eye on it and report as things develop.

Hat-tip to @MsEBL and her blog, Evil Blogger Lady.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

If you’re prepared to use force to make yourself hard to kill, make sure you know the law so that you’re hard to convict.

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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 (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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