Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Probable Cause Affidavit In IMPD Officer Shooting Raises More Questions

UPDATED: Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry announced murder charges today against Major Davis, Jr., a man a probable cause affidavit prepared by Det. John Maloney of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department accuses of firing an AK-47 assault-style weapon at Officer Perry Renn, a more than 20-year veteran of the police department. Curry told reporters today he is still pondering whether to seek the death penalty in Davis' case. At least three bullets fired from an AK-47 assault rifle claimed to be held by Davis struck Officer Renn, including a fatal bullet that entered below his armpit where his protective vest provided no covering, passing through Renn's lung and into his heart. According to the probable cause affidavit, Renn wasn't the first officer to arrive. That was Officer Nick Gallico, and he may not have even encountered Davis first if an unidentified female civilian passenger in his car [name redacted from affidavit] hadn't drawn his attention to Davis. [Update--A member of the media provided me an unredacted version of the affidavit handed to reporters at the press conference which identified this woman. I've removed her name from this post, but nobody from either IMPD or the prosecutor's office requested that I do so. They shouldn't distribute public documents to the media with people's names on them if they don't want them reported. I've also changed the link from the reporter's unredacted version to a version posted by the Star, which on its own redacted information not redacted by IMPD or the prosecutor's office before it was distributed.]

Officer Gallico says he responded to a call of shots fired near the 34th and Forest Manor around 9:25 p.m. on July 5, or right about sunset time. Gallico was driving south on Forest Manor Drive near 34th Street when the civilian female passenger riding in the front passenger seat, alerted him to a man she said appeared to be trying to flag the officer down. Officer Gallico stopped and backed his car up, straddling a gravel alley behind the house at 4067 E. 34th Street where she saw the African-American man she described as having long hair braids and wearing a blue shirt. Gallico exited his squad car with his gun drawn and walked towards a utility pole on the south side of the alley behind the backyard of the house where Davis was standing. Davis began walking towards him with one hand held behind his back according to Gallico, who ordered Davis to show his hands. Davis replied "no" and began backing up with two women standing nearby him. As one of the women tried to back Davis away, the other woman with Davis told Gallico everything was okay and he could leave.

Gallico says he kept his eyes trained on Davis, who he feared was holding a gun because he wouldn't show his hands and he said it was getting dark in the alley where they were located. At that point, Gallico says Officer Renn arrived and walked passed him in the alley with his gun drawn so that he was standing to the west of Davis and Gallico was standing to the east of him. Gallico then claims that Davis raised the barrel of his AK-47 assault rifle held at his side and pointed it in the direction of Renn, who said something unintelligible to Gallico. According to Gallico, Davis began firing at Renn first who immediately began returning fire. Gallico says he began returning fire before running for cover behind a white car parked behind Davis' home. Gallico says that when he emerged from behind the car, both Renn and Davis were on the ground shot and he ran to provide aid to Renn shortly before numerous other police officers arrived on the scene. Gallico says he is certain that Davis is the man who fired the shots at Renn.

It is unclear from the probable cause affidavit whether the female witness remained inside Gallico's police cruiser or had exited before the shooting occurred. She described a scene where Gallico walked towards Davis and asked him to talk to him. She said Davis had his hands in his pockets and responded with words to the effect, "I don't need to talk to anybody. I don't give a fuck." She described a woman wearing a green blouse who she believed was Davis' girlfriend coaxing him to back away from Gallico next to a van parked behind the house. When Renn arrived, the female witness saw him move west down the alley past Davis. She then said she heard what sounded like gunshots being fired into the ground, but she couldn't see either Renn or Gallico firing their weapons. She thought the sound of the gunshots came from the area behind the van where Davis and the woman she described as his girlfriend had retreated, giving the impression she did not have visual contact with either Davis or the woman with him at that point. The female witness then saw Renn fall to the ground and the woman with Davis running towards the street yelling, "He's shooting, he's shooting." At that point, she saw Gallico begin returning fire. Like Renn, Davis was struck by multiple bullets, although the affidavit doesn't specify the number of times he was hit.

The AK-47 used by Davis was purchased by his mother, Cynthia Davis, from Don's Guns in 2010. Although his mother purchased the weapon, Davis had no prior criminal convictions that would have made it unlawful for him to purchase or possess the weapon. The probable cause affidavit gives the impression that Davis had remained in the backyard of his home during the entire encounter with the two police officers. A male witness approached police shortly after the shooting to retrieve a cell phone he had left behind in the backyard. The witness told police that a number of people had gathered at Davis' home for a barbecue. Shortly before police arrived, he said Davis began arguing with another person. He realized his cell phone was missing and went inside the house to look for it. He came back outside after he was unable to locate his cell phone. The witness saw the police arrive and when he went back outside, he saw Davis standing with a gun at his side and two police officers with weapons drawn pointed at Davis. He saw one of the police officers begin firing at Davis at which point he said Davis fired back about four times. Shortly after the gunfire, Latasha Ruffin, the mother of Davis' children phoned 911 and said, "The police just shot my fucking boyfriend . . . They shot each other." For some reason, the probable cause affidavit failed to redact the cell phone number from which Ruffin made the call. The unidentified man who lost his cell phone who returned to retrieve it said he dropped it in the backyard when he ran after the shooting began. It's unclear where he found it before losing it again.

Interestingly, police recovered just four 7.62 mm casings fired from Davis' AK-47, one of which was retrieved near the exterior wall of a house on the other side of the alley at 3370 N. Forest Manor from the backyard of Davis' home. That's consistent with the statement from the unidentified male witness at the Davis home who claimed Davis fired about four shots after one of the police officers began firing at him. They recovered three 40 caliber shell casings in the eastern part of the yard near Gallico and eleven 40 caliber shell casings from the western part of the yard near Renn, which were presumably fired from the two officers' semi-automatic sidearm weapons. Objectively viewing the sometimes contradictory statements of the witnesses, it isn't immediately possible to conclude Davis' guilt. He should be afforded the benefit of the doubt as our criminal justice system demands until proven guilty, and the defense attorney assigned to defend him has plenty of room to question how precisely this unfortunate shooting went down. Can anyone envision Davis' defense invoking Indiana's Stand Your Ground law as a defense to the deadly shooting of Renn? It's not out of the question. Did the police have probable cause to believe Davis had broken the law when Gallico first confronted him and compelled him to raise his hands in the air? Was there exigent circumstances for the police to stop and frisk Davis? I've still not heard any explanation over neighborhood witness claims that the sounds of fireworks, which have been commonplace all over town around the Fourth of July, were heard prior to the shooting. Were those sounds fireworks or actual shots fired from a gun? Who placed the 911 call about gunshots being fired that caused police officers to respond to the area? Here's what Indiana's Stand Your Ground Law says:
(i) A person is justified in using reasonable force against a public servant if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to: (1) protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force; (2) prevent or terminate the public servant's unlawful entry of or attack on the person's dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle; or (3) prevent or terminate the public servant's unlawful trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person's possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person's immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect.
(j) Notwithstanding subsection (i), a person is not justified in using force against a public servant if: (1) the person is committing or is escaping after the commission of a crime; (2) the person provokes action by the public servant with intent to cause bodily injury to the public servant;     (3) the person has entered into combat with the public servant or is the initial aggressor, unless the person withdraws from the encounter and communicates to the public servant the intent to do so and the public servant nevertheless continues or threatens to continue unlawful action; or (4) the person reasonably believes the public servant is: (A) acting lawfully; or (B) engaged in the lawful execution of the public servant's official duties. 
(k) A person is not justified in using deadly force against a public servant whom the person knows or reasonably should know is a public servant unless: (1) the person reasonably believes that the public servant is: (A) acting unlawfully; or (B) not engaged in the execution of the public servant's official duties; and (2) the force is reasonably necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person.
It is worth noting that both Renn and Gallico had extensive military training before becoming police officers. Renn served in the U.S. Army for ten years before becoming a police officer. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina during most of his service with the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper. He achieved the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded achievement and commendation medals. He did two tours in Korea and participated in Operation Urgent Fury, the controversial invasion of Grenada during the Reagan administration that was supposedly carried out to rescue American medical students following a military coup American intelligence officials claimed was carried out by Soviet-backed rebels who were constructing a large runway that would supposedly be used for military purposes. About 7,000 soldiers participated in the Grenada invasion. Renn also spent 18 months working as an Army recruiter in New York.

Officer Gallico began his career in security and law enforcement as a security officer for the U.S. Air Force. He spent 13 months in Korea, served one deployment in Iraq, one deployment in the United Arab Emirates and was stationed for a time at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. After leaving the Air Force, he was hired to provide executive security for a high profile Indianapolis businessman before becoming a sworn police officer with IMPD. Gallico operates his own private security firm, Gallico Security Services, which provides private security to executives, as well as security for private businesses, special events and traffic control according to the firm's website, which curiously went dark late this evening. His security firm employs a number of off-duty police officers. Tragically, Gallico's 56-year old father, died only a week before last weekend's shooting. Frederick Gallico worked in radio sales for the Continental Broadcast Group and played the guitar in a band called the Verdibyrds. He also owned FJG Photography.

Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid identified the witnesses redacted by other news sources in his report here, including the name of the female civilian who was riding with Officer Gallico.


Anonymous said...

Why are the cops hiding the identity of the key witness, a woman who was riding in the front seat Officer Gallico’s police cruiser?
Why the attempts to conceal Officer Gallico’s murky background. The Gallico Security Solutions website was shut down yesterday?

Was Major Davis set up?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The website for Gallico Security literally went down while I was viewing it last night as if someone knew that I was on it reading its content.

Anonymous said...

You went farther than anyone in this town will ever do in taking apart these ridiculous police reports.

The statement that Renn began firing after Davis shot at him is absolutely ridiculous. Being hit by an AK would have sent Renn down, immediately, with no ability to return fire. The claim that Renn seriously injured Davis with return fire after being struck is straight out of television.

How can we be sure that the bullets that struck and killed Renn were fired by Davis? The cops are in complete control over the chain of evidence. How can we be sure that Davis fired first?

Are the witnesses being pressured into not coming forward? Do the witnesses know they can give their stories to a member of the press such as yourself?

Marycatherine Barton said...

Police should not let a person who is not a sworn officer of the law to ride in the front seat of the squad car they are driving while they are on duty. No more tax raises!!

Anonymous said...

I think what needs to be addressed is the fact that under very stressful circumstances, not every witness remembers every second of the incident. I have been involved in deadly force issues in my career. During those, my experience is that time slows down. Other Officers have the opposite thing happen, where time speeds up to a point where there is no memory of what they did. We have had officers not even remember firing their gun. It happens. I really don't care who fired first, that's not an issue. We do not have to wait to be a bullet magnet to begin firing. If Officer Renn believed his life or the life of others was in danger because the person standing in front of him was holding a high power rifle and refusing to put it on the ground like he was ordered, then Officer Renn could have and should have fired first. The fact that the Officers were called there on a shots fired run, they find a man with a high power rifle and he refuses to put it down and now people question who shot who first is crazy. If he would have put it down like he was ordered to, Officer Renn would still be alive and Davis would not be in the hospital. Like reports say, it was not a crime for him to have had possession of the rifle since he is not a convicted felon as an adult. The Officers would have found that out during the investigation. Now, if they found out he had fired the rifle, maybe he would have been arrested. These tragic events are all the responsibility of Davis and his actions.

Marycatherine, it has always been the policy of the IPD and IMPD to allow civilian riders so they can see first hand what we as officers go through. I am sure as the day is long, if the policy was changed to not allow it, people would begin screaming that the police are hiding criminal activity that they all are doing and the police are conspiring for a military type take over of the city.

Anonymous said...

So we are to believe that Davis was hiding an AK47 assault rifle behind his back with only ONE HAND as Gallico has stated???
I don't care if the AK was had a pistol butt stock or a full stock, it's damn near, if not impossible, to hide an AK behind your back with one hand without part of it being visible.

I agree with Anonymous 8:27 with regard to the impact of a 7.62 round.If Davis indeed fired first then Renn would have gone down immediately and quite likely unable to return fire.

I don't know if any of you have ever held any version of an AK47 but if you had you would know how difficult it would be to hide it behind your back for any period of time with just one hand as Gallico wants us to believe.

Gallico's story just doesn't pass the stink test test with me but with Renn dead and Davis nearly dead that leaves Gallico's version of things which I find very suspect right now.

Flogger said...

Female civilian passenger riding around in a police car, seems very odd to me. Does IMPD allow this?? The liability to the Department would be huge, especially if the Civilian had no official permission to do so.

If I have read the Police Report correctly the Civilian contradicts Officer Gallico's description of events. The civilian states Davis was waving his hands (plural) no weapon is mentioned. Civilian witness then states Davis had his hands in his pockets. This would not be possible if Davis was holding the AK-47 variant.

I have been to many BBQ's in my life but never recall people having the need to walk around with a rifle.

Anonymous said...

I've shot AKs, 9:47, and the words "f-ing cannon" are not far off the mark.

7.62x39 has a muzzle energy of 2,036 joules. A .44 Magnum carries around 1,626 joules.

Someone shot at close distance with something 25% more powerful than a .44 Magnum isn't returning any fire.

Further, someone isn't hiding an AK behind his back like in 'Die Hard' and whipping it, one-handed, mind you, into effective firing position like Bruce Willis. All this drawing, aiming and firing being done by a novice in a tense situation, which any firearms expert will tell you is psychologically impossible.

An AK weights 9.5 pounds and is weighted at the barrel, making your wrist a fulcrum it has to fight. I encourage everyone to try the one-handed-behind-the-back-quick-draw with an AK. Please unload it, first, because it won't be pretty.

Something is wrong. Keep digging, Gary.

Anonymous said...

I don’t have a dog in this fight, and no agenda whatsoever, but I don’t see why anyone would doubt the word of Officer Gallico in this matter, I completely blame Davis for the way the events unfolded, and wholeheartedly support Curry in the filing of murder charges. I can’t believe anyone would think “stand your ground” would be applicable here. The officers were responding to a shots fired call. They encountered the man in an alley holding an AK-47. He did not respond to requests to put his weapon down. If any disagreement arises over who shot first, I don’t personally find it changes anything if the officer shot first, although I believe it was Davis who shot first. But a police officer doesn’t have to wait for a suspect to shoot first if he believes the danger is imminent. To me this is a clear cut murder case. Crazy guy out back shooting an AK-47 in the alley, turns on police when they arrive, officer killed. If we let this guy go we no longer have an operational justice system in Indianapolis.

MacReady said...

I understand conspiracy theories can be fun but this is disgusting. Obviously none of you have any combat experience to make such ridiculous comments.

And Gary, outing a murder witness in a case where death threats have already been made by numerous people is a new low even for you. You are a practicing attorney and you should know better. Expect an ethics complain and with any luck a severe reprimand. Shame on you.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I didn't out any witness. Reporters were handed unredacted probable cause affidavits at the press conference, which one of them provided me a link to on his website indicating that her identity was not being kept secret. Nobody from the prosecutor's office or IMPD has expressed to me any objection to identifying her in this blog post, but I have removed her name to remove any concerns of her being identified.

Anonymous said...

Who called in the "shots fired" report to 911? Can we hear that tape?

Look at the Nazis rushing to close the discussion and destroy free speech.

You must be close to something, Gary. The cops are circling the wagons. Notice that they're not discussing the facts, but attacking the discussion, itself.

Does these attackers need a SLAPP?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I would add that Terry Curry's office sent out a press release via e-mail to multiple recipients with a link to an unredacted version of the probable cause affidavit on dropbox with no admonishments not to disclose any of the witness names contained within it.

Flogger said...

Well MacReady, I made a comment and I do have combat experience from Vietnam. I was in quite a few fire fights. The first thing we did was hit the ground when a fire fight started.

Anonymous said...

You hit the ground, Flogger? Obviously, you didn't get advanced police combat training where you stand bolt upright, maximizing your target face to the enemy and then fire 11 handgun rounds into a crowded scene with no backstop and bystanders everywhere.

That was the advanced course.

But, they'll hold a funeral at the Fieldhouse to cement the official story and to silence criticism, because nobody wants to explore the real truth once they've participated in a legitimizing ceremony. That part is psyops, and it is actually taught in the military, unlike MacReady's 1% Krav Maga street combat.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad there are so many cop haters on this site who got their massive amount of police combat experience from watching TV shows.

It helps a lot.

Anonymous said...

"automatic side arm weapons"? I thought automatic weapons were banned? I must be confused.

CES said...

I rode in the front seat of an IMPD car with Officer Gallico for a ride along as recently as May. I have had occasion to do this with other North District Officers patrolling the 38th and Keystone area zone before. I understand an officer realizes they are being observed during this time and will be on their best behavior. However, not once during the 8 hr. shift spent with Officer Gallico, did I observe any lapses in professional protocol. ( And I was on the look out for them) On the contrary, when encountering the most disrespectful of individuals, Officer Gallico offered calm and respectful discourse in return. He was committed to searching out an(alleged) domestic battery perpetrator even though it took him beyond the end of his shift time. There was not one indication given that evening that Officer Gallico would quickly assume criminal action of someone acting suspiciously and engage in any knee-jerk inappropriate action. Caution and care was the order of the evening. It was one ride along on one particular evening, but I felt a need to report my observations.

Anonymous said...

IMPD has allowed girlfriends on ride alongs for years. It was particularly rampant on nights in the South District, with Garfield Park being a popular love nest.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, there are no restrictions on who can do a ride along. I did one with a friend and I know several people who did them as law students while working in the prosecutor's office or for the AG.

Anonymous said...

to the idiot who asked why the identity was BEING HIDDEN maybe because they have a FAMILY they want to leave out of it seriously anyone on here have better things to do then sit behind a computer and talk stupid

Anonymous said...

Officer Gallico posted the identity of his female companion on his personal Facebook profile, so if security for her is an issue, he just ruined it.