Thursday, August 21, 2008

Don't Call The Police: They'll Sue You

The siege at Shingle Springs: A local SWAT operator gestures to his comrades during the June 5, 2007 stand-off that left two men dead, and three deputies injured.

Karen Mies, a 66-year-old hospice nurse from Shingle Springs, California, has suffered losses no mother and wife should endure.

A year ago this past June, her husband, 72-year-old Arthur, was killed in an entirely unanticipated act of irrational violence. The killer was Karen and Arthur's 35-year-old son Eddie, regarded by friends as a gentle and unassuming man who in recent years had displayed symptoms of depression and other serious mental afflictions. Eddie was killed in an armed stand-off involving the local SWAT team, a helicopter from the California Helicopter Patrol, and several deputies from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

More than one hundred rounds were fired in the June 5, 2007 shoot-out that one neighbor likened to the Gunfight at the OK Corral. In addition to the deaths of Arthur and Eddie, three deputies -- Jon Yaws, Greg Murphy, and Melissa Meekma -- suffered gunshot wounds, as did a police dog named Donder.

Tragic loss: Arthur Mies, a motorcycle enthusiast, seen here on a run with his Motorcycle Club a few months before he was murdered by his emotionally disturbed son Eddie.

The injuries suffered by deputies Yaws and Murphy required multiple surgeries and lengthy hospitalization, but they weren't life-threatening.

Immediately after the horrible events of June 5, even as she was absorbing the horrifying deaths of her husband and son, Karen Mies made a point of inquiring after the health of the injured deputies. She commented to a friend that her one tiny consolation was that the wounded deputies would survive.

The brutal truth is that, at least where Yaws and Murphy are concerned, it would have been better for Mrs. Mies if they hadn't pulled through.

Effusively praised for their "heroic" actions during the gunfight, Daws and Murphy have revealed themselves to be craven opportunists of the most contemptible variety by filing a $34 million lawsuit against Mrs. Mies and her husband's estate.

The suit contends that Karen Mies bears partial culpability for the injuries inflicted on the deputies by her son. Eddie Mies is characterized in the document as "a diagnosed schizophrenic" with a "criminal history" who displayed "paranoia and [a] propensity for violence." For these reasons, continues the lawsuit, Karen should have known it was "necessary to avoid allowing Eddie Mies access to firearms," and that she displayed actionable negligence in permitting such access.

In an interview with Sacramento's CBS affiliate, Yaws appeared to accuse the Mies family of conspiring to endanger his life and those of his wounded fellow deputies. When Jake Mies, Eddie's brother, made a frantic 911 call to report that his father had been shot, he told the operator that he didn't know who had committed the crime. Without specifying how he purports to know, Yaws insists that this was a deliberate lie, and that Karen must have been party to the deception.

"We were directly lied to when they" -- note well that Yaws says "they," not "he" -- "said they didn't know who had done it," asserted Yaws. "We thought it was a random person [on the ground] through the neighborhood. We would have handled it entirely differently if we had known it was someone from the residence."

Even if this assessment were correct -- and Yaws supplies us with no reason to think this is the case -- it's difficult to see how the knowledge that this was an aggravated domestic dispute would have changed the tactical situation. The police went in with overwhelming force, and threw up a heavy curtain of lead in a very brief period of time. As the SWAT team raced to the site, the police used the CHP helicopter to flush Eddie from the woods near the home. Shortly thereafter he was dead.

Yes, even with such an overwhelming advantage in numbers and firepower, there is a residual risk to law enforcement in any armed stand-off. Unless Yaws and Murphy believe it would have been better to pull out the police and call in a tactical nuclear strike, it's insurmountably difficult to see what more could have been done to minimize the risks to the officers -- who, one assumes, assume at least some risks.

Another significant tactical advantage enjoyed by the police is illustrated by the injury experienced by Deputy Melissa Meekma: She was hit by a round that found a seam in her bullet-resistant vest. (Interestingly, Meeka -- who appears to be more of a man than either Yaws or Murphy -- is not party to the vindictive lawsuit.)

The lawsuit embroiders a fiction disseminated to the public immediately following the shootout. Sheriff Jeff Neves, who was on vacation when the incident erupted, told the media that Eddie Mies had "tried to bait the officers" into a nearby thicket. (Sheriff Neves, it should be said, was entirely dependent on his deputies for an account of what happened that day.)

The public was later told that Eddie had prepared "an elaborate system of bunkers and tunnels" worthy of the labyrinth created by Colonel Hogan's resistance cell at Stalag 13. Eddie himself, according to the lawsuit, was "found dead in a bunker with a cache of weapons and ammunition, as well as a change of clothes."

One of these two deputies -- Melissa Meekma (l.) and Jon Yaws (r.) dealt manfully with injuries suffered in the line of duty. One hint: It wasn't the one on the right.

To say the least, this is a work of deluded fiction. To say the most, it's deliberate perjury.

Shortly after the suit was filed, Karen Mies took a reporter from the Sacramento Bee on a walking tour of the family's 2.5 acre property, where she and her late husband had raised six children. The "ammunition cache" was an old toolbox containing bullets, birdshot, and various odds and ends. The "change of clothes" was a jacket. At the time of his death, Eddie was armed with a shotgun and a revolver he had purchased legally as an adult.

The warren of "bunkers" and "tunnels" consisted of a handful of small depressions and sunken trails "where the kids used to play," Karen pointed out.

Eddie's psychological problems and "criminal" history are likewise the subject of a self-serving caricature by the plaintiffs. Although it had become obvious to his parents and friends that something was seriously wrong with Eddie, he was never diagnosed with schizophrenia or any other mental disorder, because he refused to seek medical help. His "criminal" record consisted of traffic arrests in Wyoming and Nevada.

Behind this dense fog of distortions, exaggerations, and deliberate misrepresentations lurks a critical unanswered question: Did Eddie actually shoot the deputies, or were they injured as a result of "friendly fire"? The official inquiry by the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office has yet to be finished. Bill Clark, the chief deputy DA, says that his office has been "too busy" to complete the inquiry. Of course, a protracted delay would serve the interests of the plaintiffs.

Lawsuits of the sort filed by Yaws and Murphy are generally foreclosed or dismissed on the basis of the "Fireman's Rule." That principle recognizes that police and emergency workers assume certain risks inherent in their jobs, and thus have -- at best -- very limited standing to sue citizens in the event they suffer injuries in the line of duty.

Phillip Mastagni, the police union ambulance-stalker hired by Yaws and Murphy to sue Mrs. Mies, told the Bee that "We are confident that the firefighter's rule will not bar the claim." Tax-feeders across the country have eagerly anticipated a successful lawsuit of this sort.

Witness the fact that, more than a decade ago, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, the official tax-feeders' union) enacted a resolution denouncing the rule as a form of "unfair and indefensible treatment of public safety employees and law enforcement officers" and supporting efforts to "reform or abolish the Fireman's Rule wherever it exists."

To his credit, Sheriff Neves considers the lawsuit to be an embarrassment, and he has criticized his deputies for filing it.

"We need citizens to call us when they have a law enforcement need," Neves told the Sacramento CBS affiliate. "The last thing I can afford is to have a public policy that you can't call the Sheriff's office because you may be sued by one of the responders who is there to protect [you]."

In fact, this lawsuit, whether or not it succeeds, underscores the fallacy that law enforcement agencies exist to protect the public. Consider this: Had the police not responded after Eddie killed Arthur, and several other civilian deaths occurred before the gunman shot himself -- the usual course such tragedies take -- the survivors would not have been able to sue the police for negligence.

Owing to a large body of legal rulings, police are not liable to protect any individual whose life, liberty, or property comes under criminal assault. Yes, the marquee claim made on behalf of the police is that they exist to "protect and serve" the public. In both principle and practice their first duty is to serve the state by extracting revenue from the public, and -- where necessary -- to protect the institutions and functionaries of the State from the citizenry in the name of "public order."

Stringing up the crime scene tape: The most common service rendered by our "protectors" in blue to people who come under criminal assault.

Notwithstanding the genuinely heroic service occasionally rendered by exceptional individual officers, providing actual protective services to individuals is not a pressing priority for the police in an institutional sense.

The utterly vicious lawsuit filed by Daws and Murphy against a grieving widow who lost her husband and her son in the same morning is much more than just a spectacular act of gratuitous cruelty. It illustrates one more way the tax-feeding caste exalts itself above the hoi polloi. And it offers a potent reminder of the fact that if someone is in serious trouble, the police are the last people he should call.

(Sincere thanks to my good friend and fellow Fender-fancier, "Captain" Kirk, for alerting me to this story.)

On sale now!

Dum spiro, pugno!


Anonymous said...

You make a point that can't be stressed too often: the police are under no obligation to actively serve as bodyguards for other people. They are supposed to be hired by us to be third parties representing laws protecting life, liberty, and property. Albert Jay Knock relates a story in "Our Enemy the State" where a mayor of a big city in the late 19th century responds to criticisms of police deficiencies. The mayor correctly responds that all citizens have a duty to be armed and to make arrests of criminals; and that in emergencies, it is the duty of the community to take responsibility for themselves and police their own streets. It's amazing how far we have come. The current attitude is 180 degrees from this. Now we have Mayor Daley of Chicago asking the military to come confiscate guns.

Anonymous said...


you know, your last comment. i've been thinking. is it really wise to get a burglar system installed in one's home if the police are going to show up? i guess a lot depends on the jurisdiction and the nature of the police force. otherwise, you're giving them carte blanche into your house. i think firms like ADT need to relook cases such as no knock raids and police misconduct. after all, their actions affect their sales.


dixiedog said...

I agree that these deputies who filed this lawsuit are beyond contemptible and deserve the public's harshest scorn.

It's amazing how far we have come. The current attitude is 180 degrees from this.

Not really "amazing" when you think about it. Since self-preservation and protection is one obvious primary function of many pertaining to self-governing individuals, and being that Amerikans for decades (nevermind contemporary Amerikans) have been (or become) all but clueless about the critical concept of self-government. Ergo, it logically follows that people who've grown dependent on the police to protect them would be the predictable, indeed expected, result. After all, the populace has grown increasingly dependent on the State in other areas of life, so why would we expect it to make an exception in the case of protection?

Anyway, good pieces Will. I view the whole world as becoming increasingly insane, not just Amerika, although I do believe Amerika will likely suffer the greatest consequences for its sins. As is said, to whom much is given, much is required. I think nations, as well as individuals, are judged based on how much truth they know, the opportunities given them and did they take advantage of those opportunities with upright motives to do good.

Amerika has been blessed in so many ways and yet we've squandered it all and ignore the God who provided it all.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Dear Mr. Grigg,

At least the Nazis created an economic miracle in Germany prior to WWII. Once the war began, the Gestapo allowed no opposition to the Party - you risked your life - but Germans were happy to live in a country that was plundering the rest of Europe, and to enjoy the highest level of prosperity on the Continent. Until things went south.

Today, we Americans live under our own Gestapo in a country that is plundering Iraq and the entire world economy via its tools the World Bank and IMF, but we peons see none of the loot - the politicians, the banks, the Gestapo, and the corporations are all in a predatory feeding frenzy, leaving not even the crumbs for us. In fact, we are part of the meal - it is our flesh they devour, our blood they suck from us, and our bones upon which they gnaw. And if one of us peasants gets in their way, they squash us like a bug.

Take comfort. The pendulum always swings - one day those hyenas will swing with it, from the many lampposts of Washington. There are 200 million guns in this country - thank God - and one day, justice will be served. But not yet. We are still too fat and happy.

Kind regards,
Lemuel Gulliver.

William N. Grigg said...

Lemuel -- The fact that the American gun-owning population actually out-guns the combined police and military agencies of the world's governments is for me a source of quiet satisfaction, and no small optimism.

Could you contact me at WNGrigg[at]msn[dot]com?


Anonymous said...

I don't have the will to research it right now, but I'm fairly certain there are more like 300 million guns in this country, not including what unreported NFA and GCA goodies have been hidden away.

Anonymous said...

Good points Gulliver! Perhaps we Americans are finally sliding in the early stages weight loss and despair as the imperial kleptocracy shifts into overdrive to vacuum up what little wealth remains. Only when we become gaunt and furious will fundamental changes take place. Alas, the ballot box has apparently proven to be useless to the non-parasitic.

As far as the police lawsuit is concerned, friendly fire should be seriously investigated. I wonder if any bullets or pellets were recovered from the clothing or flesh of the injured officers?

brianakira said...

I'm very concerned about abuse of power, but I don't get your take on this particular case.

It's a law suit. It's normal for people to try to make the maximum claim. Even when it seems like an exaggeration -- such as the "weapon's cache" -- it's still factually correct, and, since the opposing council will do everything to minimize every claim, it's common practice to maximize every claim, in the hope that the judge and/or dury will eventually get a fair picture of what happened.

In principle, I don't think there's anything wrong with police officers suing criminals and people who by design or neglect, assist criminals.

The opposite is true too. The police should be subject to civil law too.

I know that legalism is out of hand, and that bothers me, but since that's the way things are done in the US today, I don't see why police or victims of police should not be free to go to court to enforce their rights, and seek damages, especially if that's what it takes to improve a system.

Also, going over some of your other posts, I would have thought you'd agree with the idea that police should not be compelled to always take action. Of course they could be fired, depending on the circumstance, but I don't think they should just blindly follow orders, or be ready to sacrifice themselves under any circumstance.

People should know that ultimately we shouldn't depend on the government for protection. Exceptions would be the handicapped, elderly, or infants.

But I don't see why a cop should be put in danger to stop two gangsters (for example) having a shoot out. The main problem there would be innocent passers-by getting shot, but, e.g. if they were in the desert with no-one else around, should the cop take a side? or get between the two shooters?

Same with fire fighters. Why should they risk their lives saving, for example, a known arsonist who got trapped in a building he set on fire?

I've often had arguments with "pacifists" who think that people shouldn't have weapons or fight, but when you ask what someone should do if attacked, they say, "Call the police. That's their job." So they expect the police to show up, armed, and deal with the problem. Then, of course, if the police shoot someone, they'll be the first to condemn the police for their "aggression".

In this case you write about, why shouldn't the cops have an overwhelming strategic advantage? Wouldn't you want that?

It seems to me you've let your ideology or philosophy over-ride common sense here.

The facts of the case are not all known. Maybe the mother here is responsible. Maybe "a reasonable person" (the court standard) should have known that the son was a danger and shouldn't have firearms. Maybe a reasonable person would have given the police more information in the 911 call, and that might have led police to take a different approach, knowing more about the situation and he kind of person they were dealing with. That's what courts are supposed to be for, to discover facts.

I think you've read this case wrong. The cops' suit might be thrown out, or they might receive minimal redress, but I don't see anything wrong with them going to court to argue that they have suffered unduly because of the family's neglect and/or deception.

scott clark said...

thanks, mr. grigg. i had allowed my outrage level to dip down to near slightly calm, but your posts and your work always serve to fill up my tanks. (my copy of liberty in eclipse still hasn't made it to the bookshelf 'cause i go back through it at least bi-monthly as a propaganda counter-measure.)

that american individuals own guns in large numbers does not provide me any measure of comfort. it would if i could see progress in winning the battle of ideas, if people were turning on to the ideas of freedom, individual rights, and voluntary cooperation as opposed to group coercion, but for any 1 that does come to those ideas, 100 more turn on to the idea of obama-mania. of course, if the battle of ideas worked, perhaps we could leave the guns in their cases, but if it came down to force of arms, i am on the side of the articles of confederation.

to brianakira,

the problem is practical, not theoritical. the police can't be trusted to police themselves, even having another group of police to police the original set, only means that the two groups have to cooperate to punish the unlucky people who chose to produce goods and services that they trade peacefully with others. the cops can't go to court, and the people that they are suing can't be assured anything close to a fair shake because the legal and law enforcement community is in fact such a small community. cops work with lawyers and judges on a daily basis, they have to work together to get their ends met, and that stacks the deck against someone who comes up against the legal system only once or on the rarest of occasions.
mr. grigg's read on this, as well as on all the law enforcement abuse, and how it is the near inexorable conclusion given the rules, incentives, and institutions that are in place, is quite perfectly correct.

Will Blalock said...

If the fireman's rule fails then
we can all expect to see our
homeowner's insurance premiums triple; calling the cops will
require filing an insurance claim.

straightarrow said...

Brianakira, surely you didn't think before you wrote. Please tell me that you didn't give this some thought and still came to the conclusions you did.

If there was some justification for these organisms masquerading as men to sue, the only defendant should be the estate of the murderer. Why didn't they sue the department, after all, the department assigned them hazardous duty and sent them to a risky environment. They would have more culpability in the injuries to these two cretins than would the widow, another victim of the murder of her husband. She had no authority to dispatch them to the scene. The law clearly states they had no duty to respond. Ergo, their boss has more liability than does she. And he has none, because these two whiny bags of offal could have refused to go. Or they could have found a job more in keeping with their characters, like pickpocket, for example.

straightarrow said...

One more thing. The man was 35 years old. It wasn't like anyone could make him stand in the corner or tell him what he could or could not have.

Let's assume you are an adult. Just for argument's sake. Would you let your mother tell you couldn't drive?

Get up off your knees. The cops aren't going to notice that you are on their side and if they did, it wouldn't matter if you run afoul of them anyway.

liberranter said...

You make a point that can't be stressed too often: the police are under no obligation to actively serve as bodyguards for other people.

Which makes me wonder: Would this be a valid point with which Mrs. Mies and her attorneys could respond to this frivolous lawsuit? After all, if the police are under NO LEGAL OBLIGATION (at least IAW the SCOTUS's tortured fiat) to respond to citizen calls of distress, did not then these cops put themselves in needless danger? It seems to me that the doctrine of comparative negligence fully applies in this case.

Anonymous said...

Brianakara is exactly correct in her description of the way things are. It also happens to be a perfect explanation of the way things should not be. We currently operate with criminal justice and civil tort systems that have very little, if any, interest in justice or finding the truth. It could be argued that before any progress can be made in fixing the executive and legislative branches, the judicial branch must be purged and restored.

Fruitland, ID

Anonymous said...


I try to never assume I'm an adult.

Fruitland, ID

si vis pacem, para bellum

Anonymous said...

Liberranter has a very good point. If a police officer has no legal obligation to act on behalf of a citizen, than these two officers knowingly, and willfully placed themselves in harms way.

With this in mind, the lawsuit is even more telling of the character of the officers involved if one remembers that at the Columbine and V Tech shootings, police WOULD NOT ENTER THE BUILDINGS, resulting in several unnecessary deaths. Police tend to behave quite cowardly unless in packs or are dealing with unarmed, or already subdued victims.

Ergo it stands to reason that since no cop would knowingly and willfully place themselves in harms way to protect the public, the fact that these two cops were wounded is prima-facie evidence that someone else must be at fault.

Fruitland, ID

Si vis pacem, para bellum said...

Conspiracy of Silence - Illuminati Pedophiles in Washington D.C. (documentary) - 55 min - May 3, 1994
Posted to Google by John Conner & The Resistance -

From Senator John Decamp: In mid-1993, after The Franklin Cover-Up had been circulating for almost a year, the British-based TV station, Yorkshire Television, sent a top-notch team to Nebraska to launch its own investigation of the Franklin case. Yorkshire had a contract with the Discovery Channel to produce a documentary on the case for American television. Finally, the big day came. Their documentary was to air nation-wide on the Discovery Channel on May 3, 1994. It was advertised in the TV Guide and in newspapers for that day. But no one ever saw that program. At the last minute, and without explanation, it was pulled from the air. It was not shown then, and has never been broadcast anywhere since. I have a copy of that program, which arrived anonymously in my mail in late 1995. When I watched this pirated copy, I could see clearly why the program had been suppressed. Conspiracy of Silence proved, beyond doubt, that the essential points I had stressed in the book (and more) were all true. Search Words: Conspiracy Illuminati New World Order Satanism«

Anonymous said...,

you've had too much wine. and definitely too much cheese.


MoT said...

This only brings to mind what someone once said about the military and what was the point of having this big and expensive entity and NOT use it. Hmmmm. Seems to me that if you really want to see crime go down that you lay off the majority of the police and let the citizenry be responsible for itself. I'm sure you'd hear socialists howling like banshees about all the "anarchy" to be unleashed and from statist republicans etc. bemoaning the lack of "law and ORDER"... oy vey! Seeing as they love to grease the machines wheels from that angle.

Anonymous said...

Asa Eslocker is his name. He is a TV reporter who got man-handled and arrested in Denver. I just watched the video on the net. Most of the cops involved looked like those steroid pumped-up creatures that have been written about here. When the MSM is having this happen, we're further along than we thought.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Meekma's funeral services will be held on December 16, 2008 at 1100 at 3500 Green Valley Road in Placerville, CA for any interested parties.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Meekma was my best friend. She was the most courageous, amazing person i have ever had the please of meeting and being friends with. Her being such the special, kind hearted person she was, lead to her death. The police department didn't provide her with the help that she needed after the shooting. She made such a deep impact on our community. On and off duty. I looked up to her in so many ways. As for the other 2 cops... She was more of a man than they will ever be. She was and forever will be my hero.
R.I.P. Melissa Meekma
I Love You