Target: Sheriff John Urquhart of the Washington State King County Sheriff’s Office
Goal: Demand officers who shot innocent man lying in bed be fired
Dustin Theoharis of Seattle, Washington is currently recovering from his twelfth surgery after police burst into his home on the night of February 11, 2011 and shot at him twenty times while he lay in bed. Sixteen bullets penetrated his body. He suffered a broken shoulder, two broken arms and legs, and damage to his spine, liver, and spleen. Theoharis was entirely unarmed and wasn’t even the man police were looking for.
The officers involved claim that they thought Theoharis was reaching for a gun on the side of his bed when they fired. To reiterate, they fired sixteen bullets into an unarmed man who they thought might be reaching for a weapon that ultimately did not exist. The cavalier attitude that these officers displayed toward the decision to use deadly force against a fellow human being is disturbing and dangerous.
The Internal Investigations Unit took six months to even open a case about the incident, the evidence about the case has been disorganized, and the sheriff’s office has been more concerned with advocating for its staff than discovering why exactly this innocent man was shot at in his own home.
Even more infuriating, the Department of Corrections issued a statement that the officers “used appropriate force and followed the proper procedures in a dangerous situation”. Well, an unarmed man getting shot after being woken up by police officers who had broken into his home certainly qualifies as a dangerous situation: dangerous for the victims of these trigger-happy officers and the freedom granted them to abuse their authority in such a terrifying manner.
More and more, police officers are abusing their authority over the American public with the use of absurdly excessive force. Please sign this petition to have these officers fired immediately, before they endanger the lives of another victim.
Dear Sheriff John Urquhart,
Some officers under your supervision have displayed the sort of dangerous incompetence and trigger-happy mentality usually reserved for cartoon villains. However, there is nothing funny about thirty-year-old Dustin Theoharis having to live the rest of his live with the injuries sustained when your officers broke into his home and shot him sixteen times while he lay in his bed, completely unarmed and innocent.
This abuse of power and the use of absurdly excessive force on the part of your officers demand a thorough upheaval of your staff and the procedures that led to this tragic incident. Please fire the officers responsible immediately and remove the policies that allowed them to believe they could shoot a man without the absolute certainty that their lives were in danger.
[Your Name Here]
Image: Matthew Zalewski via Wikimedia Commons