There were clearly two reasons with my peers that I was a very unpopular prison officer. I was at constant odds with the union that represented us, and I refused to be a part of the prison guard’s openly racist and most violent “good ole boy” clique.
After months of high stress duty in a maximum security lock-down unit, I needed a break. The truth of the matter is, fighting staff corruption was more draining than any battles I may have had with inmates.
I was reassigned to a tower that was located in what prison staff nicknamed its location as “The Pasture”. There was hardly any activity in the tower’s jurisdiction.
After a week on this armed observation post, the typical daily boredom was about to change, drastically.
Even from the pasture, I could sense the tension on the prison yard. I was right. Trouble was about to break loose. Moments later, a small scale riot had broken out on the southeast side of the prison yard. I was reporting Intel data via two way radio to my shift commander.
Then, suddenly, I dropped the radio from my hand and quickly took the 30.06 rifle from the gun cabinet. I chambered a round and then loaded four additional bullets. I sighted in through the rifle’s 9x scope and clearly saw an inmate chasing an officer from behind. He appeared to have a weapon. I made an emergency radio call to get the fleeing officer help. There was no backup available. My peers began yelling over the radio jamming any further communications between me and my supervisor. All I could hear was, “shoot’em stupid”. I sighted in on the moving target. I knew I could make an accurate deadly force shot of the inmate dressed in prison blues. However, I did not pull the trigger. The name-calling from peers continued over the radio. I then watched both the officer and the pursuing inmate stop running, simultaneously. It turned out the inmate did not have a weapon. What I thought was a weapon was an unauthorized belt buckle that the inmate was wearing. It turned out the inmate was helping the officer to quell the disturbance.
There are good reasons not to ever utilize deadly force until all prerequisites, meaning 110% have been met. Further, nothing supersedes good judgment. No matter what your peers may think.
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"Shoot'em Stupid" Is A True Story