Sal Culosi is dead because he bet on a football game — but it wasn’t a bookie or a loan shark who killed him. His local government killed him, ostensibly to protect him from his gambling habit.
Several months earlier at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. “To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends,” a friend of Culosi’s told me shortly after his death. “None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation.” Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team.
On the night of January 24, 2006, Baucum called Culosi and arranged a time to drop by to collect his winnings. When Culosi, barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and jeans, stepped out of his house to meet the man he thought was a friend, the SWAT team began to move in. Seconds later, Det. Deval Bullock, who had been on duty since 4:00 AM and hadn’t slept in seventeen hours, fired a bullet that pierced Culosi’s heart.
Sal Culosi’s last words were to Baucum, the cop he thought was a friend: “Dude, what are you doing?” …MORE
First, at the risk of being more politically incorrect than usual, did anyone else snicker about the idea of a cop with the last name Baucum??? Sounds like… No wonder the victim never suspected he was a cop.
The rash of “shoot dog to shut it up” would cease if the ASPCA or PITA managed some convictions for animal cruelty and reparations paid by the shooter personally. Currently, when a cop shoots a dog, the other cops congratulate him/her, and there are no other consequences.
The problems of cops acting the part of an occupying military force will not go away while police departments are allowed to investigate themselves. We all know how that one works, the phero gets a paid vacation and is almost always exonerated with the statement “department procedures were followed”. Nothing to see here, move along.
Police departments need independent civilian review boards. And when I say civilian, I mean people who have never worked a government job a day in their lives. No retired cops, no veterans, no municipal employees, just gainfully employed, tax-paying civilian volunteers. While it wouldn’t stop all the abuses, just knowing that there could be consequences, might slow the abuses down. Right now, there are no significant consequences for bad cop behavior, and we are now reaping the bitter harvest of that policy.
The other part of the problem is that even if a civilian review board found a cop should be charged for murder when he shoots a bystander, or the homeowner in a wrong address raid, is that the remainder of law enforcement could still let the cop go.
Even if a Grand Jury hands down an indictment, the prosecutor can still decline to pursue the case. So, the “justice” system is really stacked against the taxpayers in favor of the tax parasites. And I don’t have any decent ideas about dealing with that part of it. At least from working with the current system. (which is likely to far gone to repair)
As it stands now, law enforcement is a haven for bullies, pedophiles, thugs and violent cretins. And the laws are stacked against non-government employees. Sneeze on a cop, get charged with assault. Where is the balance?
Thanks for the article.
Famous last words:
“Dude, what are you doing?”
“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book.”
“Why didn’t you tell me it was the cops?”
A lesson learned:
Training can be skipped if you are a famous professional athlete.
DNC 2008: WE GET UP EARLY, TO BEAT THE CROWDS. (Colorado police 2008)
“What’s really disgusting is the natural instinct of so many conservatives to stick up for the police,” Greenhut wrote. “They don’t like the Occupy protesters, so they willingly back brutality against them, without considering the possibility that conservatives at some point might be on the receiving end of this aggression.”