Taxpayers Pick up the Tab For Murdering Hero

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Among the many problems with – as it is styled – law enforcement – is this business of not holding the enforcers responsible, personally, when they violate the law. This obnoxious doctrine of sovereign or “qualified” immunity. Which transfers the economic costs of an enforcer’s unlawful actions onto the backs of his victims.

That is, onto the backs of taxpayers.

The enforcer beats someone up or (as below) murders someone… and the victim or the victims’ family sues and gets a settlement from the people who didn’t do the beating or commit the murder.

The enforcer may go to jail or prison (rarely and, usually, lightly) and might lose his job. He rarely loses everything. Because taxpayers get the tab.

Via the Virginia-Pilot:

Former Portsmouth Officer Stephen Rankin shot and killed William Chapman on April 22, 2015, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Frederick Boulevard.

The officer was investigating a shoplifting report when he approached Chapman, and a physical altercation ensued.

A jury convicted Rankin on Aug. 4 of voluntary manslaughter and recommended he serve 2½ years in prison. Circuit Judge Johnny Morrison imposed the full sentence last month during an emotional hearing.

Following Rankin’s conviction, (attorney Jon) Babineau announced plans to sue the city, former police Chief Ed Hargis and Rankin.

He argued the city and Hargis were negligent in hiring and retaining Rankin and that Rankin wrongfully killed Chapman.

Babineau and the city reached the settlement before he filed the suit, though.

According to the petition, Portsmouth is willing to pay the Chapman estate $1 million as long as the family agrees not to pursue claims against the city, Hargis and Rankin.

The petition also stresses that the city and the Chapman family agree the settlement should not be construed as “an admission of fault or responsibility…”

Earl Lewis, a cousin of William Chapman II who serves as a spokesman for the family…lamented the case won’t go to trial.

He said an investigation spearheaded by Babineau had unearthed a lot of new information about Rankin and the Police Department. And he pointed to a BBC documentary that aired Wednesday in the United Kingdom with an interview from a former Portsmouth police lieutenant. The lieutenant said he warned his supervisors about Rankin before the Chapman shooting, but nothing happened.

“We still haven’t gotten all the facts,” Lewis said, arguing that a trial could have resulted in new revelations with the possibility of a larger monetary award. “Me, myself, I am a betting man. I would have taken it to trial.”

Lewis argued a lawsuit against Wal-Mart might still be warranted. And Babineau said he is researching what liability the retailer might face for calling police on Chapman and following him outside.

“We are not aware of any evidence indicating William Chapman stole anything,” Babineau said.

So, this enforcer murders (well, manslaughters) a man and the city of Portsmouth – that is, the taxpayers of Portsmouth – will provide $1 million to the family of the murdered/manslaughtered man.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Why is a person who wears a government costume entitled to be held not-financially-responsible for his criminal actions? If an ordinary citizen lets an underage kid swim unsupervised in his backyard pool and the kid drowns as a result, not of malice, but merely due to the negligence of the homeowner, the homeowner will be sued and held personally financially responsible.

Enforcers – armed government workers – should be held to at least the same standard. But because they aren’t they are given an incentive to exercise less caution – to be more aggressively trigger/Tazer and beat-down happy.

It is not rocket science.

Neither is the solution:

Hold enforcers personally liable when they abuse the law. So they always have it in their minds that an unprovoked beat-down or shooting may cost them their home, put them (and their family) in the poorhouse.

As opposed to handing off the tab for the mayhem they cause to taxpayers.

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  1. This hero shit only ends when women wake up to the destructive reality of it. They’re the ones who want this nightmare. They’re the ones who could end this domestic militarism.

    A woman wakes up in the morning in a house built by men. She starts the water to boil on a stove built by men. And sits at a chair and table put there by men. To read a newspaper written in part by women but printed and delivered by men.

    She nibbles some toast made from grains grown and harvested by men. Woops! Time to take a shower. She turns a faucet handle installed by a man. And lo and behold out comes hot water delivered by vastly complicated water system built and maintained by men.

    She drives to work in a car built by men, on roads built by men, powered by petroleum drilled and refined and delivered by men. She arrives at an office building built by men. Walks to her desk, fires up her computer and glances out her window at a city built by men full of potential customers for her service business.

    Out of the corner of her eye a table in the conference room that seems awkwardly out of place snags her attention. She strokes her earlobe…at that moment the janitor scoots by in the hallway. “Bob! Oh Bob! Could you PLEASE move that table further into the corner? You’re such a dear.” She pins him with a delectable and utterly phony smile. Bob, oblivious to the cheapness of the words and falseness of the smile, thrilled to get any attention at all from such an attractive person, pitches right in. And as he lugs one corner of the heavy table across the carpet, she exhales a comfortable sigh.

    Her day has begun. She will spend the next 8 to 10 hours telling other people what to do. That’s her understanding of work. This creature who has no idea where things come from, how they are made, and has not the slightest knowledge of how the world works has been put in charge of it…because there is really nothing else of specific value she could be doing.

    If she lived in a world built by women, she would be sitting in a tent watching her breath in front of her face stitching animal hides, but she lives in a world built almost entirely by men and amazingly she has not the slightest appreciation or gratitude for that fact. She never even stops to think about it. Never stops to think that if all the things men make and do were magically removed right now she would be plodding through a muddy swamp looking for red-wing blackbird eggs.

    She thinks the world is made out of proper grammar and attractive clothing and polite conversation and correct opinions instead of rivets and concrete and copper and petroleum. From the day she picked up her first teaspoon she has been learning to manipulate the things men provide as if they were put in front of her by god or mother nature.

    She has no idea what men actually do, yet, according to her and the media she consumes men are assholes. How long do you think this is going to actually last? When I think of the Men: the lumberjacks and truck drivers and paper mill workers and printers and delivery men, the men who have to get up early every morning and do very hard jobs so that Ellen Goodman and Maureen Dowd and other feminist blowhards can sit in their climate controlled offices shitting out editorials about what assholes men are, when I think of those women walking on the backs of all those men I want to start bombing things.

    Let’s bomb them all the way back to the unheated tent and muddy swamp and see what they complain about then. Maybe they’ll start writing editorials about how women should start doing real work not just office work.

    Here are the facts.

    19 out of 20 people who die on the job are men. 4 out of 5 suicides are men. 85% of the homeless are men. Women live 7 years longer than men. 65% of America’s wealth is owned by women. Men are not regarded as equal parents to their children. Men are drafted in time of war and women are not. Given these facts how could anyone with half a brain possibly believe that men are the oppressors of women.

    Now hear this: Men are now and always have been the protectors and providers for women…the PROTECTORS and PROVIDERS for women.

    • Hi Tor,

      Yeah, I know.. it’s largely all true. Still. I am feeling extremely morose as I look at the final paperwork for my divorce. Got damn it all. The hardest words in the entire language are what might have been.


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