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Thread: Toddler killed by police in allentown

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    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...MPLATE=DEFAULT







    Allentown police cruisers crash, killing 4-year-old pedestrian

    By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
    Associated Press WriterALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- As the out-of-control police cruiser hurtled toward them Wednesday night, Crystal Legrand grabbed her two youngest children and took cover behind a wall.

    Legrand's boyfriend snatched up her eldest, a 4-year-old boy named Daviay, and tried to get him out of harm's way, too. But they weren't as fortunate.

    The patrol car slammed into Daviay, killing him and shattering both of the boyfriend's legs. Furious residents later massed at the accident scene and threw bottles and rocks at police.

    On Thursday, Mayor Ed Pawlowski apologized to the family, took responsibility for the accident and said the city would pay the family's funeral expenses.

    "I want to express my deepest condolences and our most sincere apologies," he told a news conference. "I'm a parent myself. I can't even imagine the pain they're going through."

    Two officers - one a rookie, the other an eight-year veteran - had been responding to the same report of a man with a gun when their cruisers collided at a downtown intersection. One of the cruisers slid onto the sidewalk, where Legrand, a 22-year-old restaurant worker, and her family were just a half-block from home.

    "First you heard the sirens, then you heard the tires screech, then you heard the bang," Crystal Spearman, who said she witnessed the accident, told a newspaper. "The little boy was laying there, severed in half."

    Witnesses said one of the cruisers had a green light, the other a red light. Police Chief Roger McClean said Thursday that departmental rules and state law allow officers to run red lights with caution when responding to a possible crime scene.

    "Obviously, officers have to proceed to any incident with care," he said.

    Family spokesman David Jones, who is Crystal Legrand's uncle and Daviay's great-uncle, said it's clear that police are culpable.

    "If you have two police cars speeding to the same scene, and there's no recognition that they're both approaching the same intersection, obviously something's wrong," he said.

    Jones said Crystal Legrand described the seconds leading up to the crash.

    "The only thing she can remember is that the car was coming, and it seemed like it was coming in slow motion," he said. "She grabbed the baby in the stroller, and she grabbed the daughter and ran to the other side of the wall. Her boyfriend grabbed Daviay and tried to move away, but couldn't."

    The family spokesman spelled their last name as Lagrande, but both the mother and the coroner confirmed it was spelled Legrand.

    The boyfriend, Jason Marcella, 20, was hospitalized, but police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

    Residents tossed bottles and rocks at police and cursed at them following the accident, which took place in a poor, heavily minority neighborhood where tensions with police have run high. Several clergy members were called in to help restore order.

    "It was an incredibly tense situation last night," Pawlowski said.

    Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin asked residents for "patience and an open mind" as he determines whether to file charges against the officers, who were placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of a state police investigation and a separate internal probe.

    Pawlowski said the officers, whose names were not released, "of course are devastated, as everyone here is at the city."

    So, too, is Crystal Legrand, who returned Thursday afternoon to the scene.

    "My son was standing there, playing with leaves. He didn't know he was never going to see me again," she said. "My son fulfilled the reason why God put him on earth and that was to make me a better person."






    I for one would like to know more about this " Man with a gun" call...........

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    As would I. I dont see in the article "Shots Fired", just "Man with a gun." This is yet another instance of where 911 operators should be trained to ask basic questions about the "gun" incident before sending police to the scene. If this was a case of someone just OC'ing down the street... then all that hurrying to the scene by the police was Completely Unnecessary.

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    chesire17201 wrote:
    I for one would like to know more about this " Man with a gun" call...........

    Falcon118 wrote:
    As would I. I dont see in the article "Shots Fired", just "Man with a gun." This is yet another instance of where 911 operators should be trained to ask basic questions about the "gun" incident before sending police to the scene. If this was a case of someone just OC'ing down the street... then all that hurrying to the scene by the police was Completely Unnecessary.
    Yes, the press did leave out the details of that. I wonder why?

    Is it press incompetence or is someone hiding something?

    Certainly there had to be some outcome of the 'man with a gun' call. What was it?

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    Tonights news said that it would be WEEKS before the official report will be concluded. I could figure it out in a few hours. What could possibly take so long to figure out. Maybe they are trying to think up some bullsh!t story to cover up their incompetence. Police must still use caution when going through an intersection, even if they do have lights and siren going.

    I lived in Allentown for 11 years prior to moving out of the city.I have seen some really bad cops in Allentown and they ruin the reputations of all the good ones they have.

    I had heard that it was a 911 call about a man with a gun making threats, but who knows if that is true. I would want to hear the 911 recording myself.

    God bless that little boy.


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    SP101 wrote:
    Tonights news said that it would be WEEKS before the official report will be concluded. I could figure it out in a few hours. What could possibly take so long to figure out. Maybe they are trying to think up some bullsh!t story to cover up their incompetence.

    This is fairly typical when government agents screw up. They let the spin doctors take over and try to come up with some plausible story.

    I am not a big fan of police speeding through residential neighborhoods. I nearly got clipped by one a few years ago. Guy came down my road, at a very high rate of speed. Speed limit is 30, but it is a road that is well traveled and has no lights or signs to impede traffic for a good mile.

    He comes up behind me and then he slams on his brakes and barely avoided rear ending me, and nearly hit a utility pole (believe it or not we have utility poles going down the center of our street). I had noticed a speeding car in my rear view mirror and had started to pull over to get out of the way, but had not figured out it was a cop car yet. After he all but stops, he turns on lights and gives me a siren blast and keeps going.

    Find out later there was a murder not far away and the suspect was in a state park about 10 miles from where I encountered him. I guess he wanted to get there in a hurry.

    I can only imagine what I would have been charged with if his recklessness had resulted in an accident.

    I think the adrenaline and tunnel vision takes over when they get to drive fast. Sometimes it results in a sad result.


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    Falcon118 wrote:
    ... If this was a case of someone just OC'ing down the street... then all that hurrying to the scene by the police was Completely Unnecessary.
    In today's paper, it is stated that the officers were "responding to an emergency call, which eventually netted a 12-gauge shotgun but no suspect".

    I'm glad it was not an OC call.

    The state police identified the officers involved, but refused to say in which car, each was driving.

    Today's article http://www.mcall.com

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    ilbob wrote:
    I think the adrenaline and tunnel vision takes over when they get to drive fast. Sometimes it results in a sad result.
    It's still an activity/process controlled bycognitive processing. The problem is very strong good motivation but lack of control and judgment. They think, simplistically, that just because they're trying to do something good, that they can go past their limits.

    And when they crash, they almost always blame it on something or somebody else. Or try to avoid responsibility for damages caused. Unethical behavior, when they do that. I'm not sure that cops are any different from the general population in this regard, though.

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    A sheriff's police officer ran a red light a few years ago in my county. They finally decided recently to prosecute the guy he hit.

    I have been by the intersection where the accident occurred. If someone was coming in the cross street at a high rate of speed, it would be near impossible to not only see the oncoming speeder in time to not pull across the street. It is a poorly designed intersection to deal with someone going 80+ MPH (the speed they admitted the cop was doing) because you can't see very far from the cross street. you really don't expect someone to be going that fast when you pull across the street, especially with no lights or siren, although you probably could not see or hear them if they were in use.

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    UPDATE: After almost a 4 month investigation, here is what they came up with.

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/

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    Before he became a city officer, Guth was fined for speeding four times -- once going 104 mph on the Turnpike's Northeast Extension -- and was found drunk and asleep in his car in another case that led to a drunken driving arrest, according to court records.

    Guth joined the force in April 2006 and was still in his probationary period when he crashed. Buckwalter, 33, has been with the department for about seven years and was one of several city officers who received an award for their performance during a standoff that began with the shooting of a fellow officer in fall 2006.

    Officers Guth and Buckwalter were put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the state police investigation. Their current job status could not be determined Wednesday



    -----

    Hmmm....sounds like fine citizen to be wearing a badge and a gun, much less driving a vehicle. How did someone like this get hired with a DUI?



    Probationary period? I think this should be ex-officer Guth....

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    SIGguy229 wrote:

    ...Probationary period? I think this should be ex-officer Guth....
    We may get our wish!!!

    http://www.mcall.com/all-guth0927,0,7889970.story

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    the best part of this is that the family turned down the $500k settlement offer from the city (which the city said is their max liability) and are going to be filing in federal court for compensation.....

    Not sure about you guys, but my kids are DEFINATELY worth more than any amount of money anyone could give me, and any amount won't stop this family's pain and hurt for the missed birthday's, christmas', etc......personally i would like to see the soon to be ex-officer bankrupted, and the town pay out the damn nose for this.........

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    chesire17201 wrote:
    the best part of this is that the family turned down the $500k settlement offer from the city (which the city said is their max liability) and are going to be filing in federal court for compensation.....

    Not sure about you guys, but my kids are DEFINATELY worth more than any amount of money anyone could give me, and any amount won't stop this family's pain and hurt for the missed birthday's, christmas', etc......personally i would like to see the soon to be ex-officer bankrupted, and the town pay out the damn nose for this.........
    And then the city's residents have to pay more taxes so they can pay for the settlement? I think justice would be served by the "officer" losing his job and serving prison time... you yourself just said that money can't make up for the loss, so why contribute to the tort fiasco in this country by extorting money?

    Sure, I'm all for suing for the money to pay medical bills, funeral costs, etc, things that can be objectively quantified. But pain and suffering? If it's something that bad, like in this case, prison time for the offender is deserved, not a big check. Punish the guy who screwed up, not his insurance company. It just seems inherently wrong to me to reward the victim... the victim (and his family) didn't do anything, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry, but that's not deserving of a check.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    It just seems inherently wrong to me to reward the victim... the victim (and his family) didn't do anything, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry, but that's not deserving of a check.
    A big part of law for the last, oh, 900 years orso in the English tradition, has had to do with the aggrieved being made whole again.

    I'm with you on tort reform. Also, pain and suffering awards are inappropriate, in my opinion. But I won't argue with anyone who feels differentlyif the award is reasonable.

    However, if somebody plows into my car, I want the check. If the neighbor's tree, that I've told him a dozen times is rotten and needs controlled removal, takes out my roof, I want the check. Etc. Etc.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    It just seems inherently wrong to me to reward the victim... the victim (and his family) didn't do anything, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry, but that's not deserving of a check.
    A big part of law for the last, oh, 900 years orso in the English tradition, has had to do with the aggrieved being made whole again.

    I'm with you on tort reform. Also, pain and suffering awards are inappropriate, in my opinion. But I won't argue with anyone who feels differentlyif the award is reasonable.

    However, if somebody plows into my car, I want the check. If the neighbor's tree, that I've told him a dozen times is rotten and needs controlled removal, takes out my roof, I want the check. Etc. Etc.
    Er, I seemed to have worded that last sentence wrong. Like I was saying earlier in the post, a check for the true costs of the victim is fine, but the excessive amounts that basically make the victim and family into lottery winners is wrong.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Er, I seemed to have worded that last sentence wrong. Like I was saying earlier in the post, a check for the true costs of the victim is fine, but the excessive amounts that basically make the victim and family into lottery winners is wrong.
    Not necessarily, if it comes out of the offender's pocket. Sueing the city may cost the taxpayers money, but so does putting the guy in prison. The more sensible way would have involved making the offender pay, not the taxpayers. A bit of a flogging followed by a stiff settlement and send him on his way to pay for his own food and board.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Er, I seemed to have worded that last sentence wrong. Like I was saying earlier in the post, a check for the true costs of the victim is fine, but the excessive amounts that basically make the victim and family into lottery winners is wrong.
    Not necessarily, if it comes out of the offender's pocket. Sueing the city may cost the taxpayers money, but so does putting the guy in prison. The more sensible way would have involved making the offender pay, not the taxpayers. A bit of a flogging followed by a stiff settlement and send him on his way to pay for his own food and board.
    How about... making the offender pay, but then using all money in excess of necessary expenses for the victim to pay for social programs for the community? Punishes the offender, and gives back to the community, without rewarding the victim for being a victim.

    :celebrate

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Er, I seemed to have worded that last sentence wrong. Like I was saying earlier in the post, a check for the true costs of the victim is fine, but the excessive amounts that basically make the victim and family into lottery winners is wrong.
    Not necessarily, if it comes out of the offender's pocket. Sueing the city may cost the taxpayers money, but so does putting the guy in prison. The more sensible way would have involved making the offender pay, not the taxpayers. A bit of a flogging followed by a stiff settlement and send him on his way to pay for his own food and board.
    How about... making the offender pay, but then using all money in excess of necessary expenses for the victim to pay for social programs for the community? Punishes the offender, and gives back to the community, without rewarding the victim for being a victim.

    :celebrate
    Social programs?! Give back to the community? A bit too Hillaryish for me.

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    Tomahawk wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Er, I seemed to have worded that last sentence wrong. Like I was saying earlier in the post, a check for the true costs of the victim is fine, but the excessive amounts that basically make the victim and family into lottery winners is wrong.
    Not necessarily, if it comes out of the offender's pocket. Sueing the city may cost the taxpayers money, but so does putting the guy in prison. The more sensible way would have involved making the offender pay, not the taxpayers. A bit of a flogging followed by a stiff settlement and send him on his way to pay for his own food and board.
    How about... making the offender pay, but then using all money in excess of necessary expenses for the victim to pay for social programs for the community? Punishes the offender, and gives back to the community, without rewarding the victim for being a victim.

    :celebrate
    Social programs?! Give back to the community? A bit too Hillaryish for me.
    Nono, Hillary would raise everyone's taxes in order to "give back". This isn't tax money, it's money coming from a fine... call it "charity".

    Hell, spend the money on roads... God knows we need more money for the roads (King Edward: this doesn't mean mass transit). Just don't turn getting one's kid killed into winning the lottery. If all this money that's getting taken from the LEO's paycheck is going to go somewhere, it shouldn't be given to one family. Use the money for the common good. I'd say split it up and send out checks (or tax rebates) to the community, but the paperwork costs wouldn't make it worthwhile. Maybe I'm just crazy for thinking that a dead child isn't like a winning Powerball number?

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