Vermont police shooting deemed justified

Officers learned that the victim was not armed


(CNN) – The shooting of an unarmed man in Vermont is ruled justified, and the decision sets off protests in Burlington.

Demonstrators saying the shooting is part of a pattern of behavior by officers in Winooski.

Franklin County sheriff’s deputy Nicholas Palmier’s body camera video shows what happened on September 16th – as he was getting off shift and arrived back to his neighborhood in Winooski.

Winooski officer Brenda Davis said, “So, we’re looking for Jesse Beshaw. He’s wanted on a warrant. He’s wanted for a bunch of burglaries. He’s always been armed with a gun. He’s in this apartment.

He spotted Winooski Police holding a perimeter around this building. They told him they were waiting for Jesse Beshaw, who was inside and wouldn’t come out.

On scene Deputy Palmier was warned multiple times that Beshaw was wanted for armed robberies and was known to carry a gun.

(Deputy Nicholas Palmier) “So he carries?”

(Winooski officer James Charkalis) Yeah, he’s definitely carrying 43.”

Police say shortly after, Beshaw tried to escape and Deputy Palmier gave chase, pursuing him through the neighborhood and around to the back of the O’Brien Community Center.

(NATS) “I’ll pull a gun out!”

(Deputy Nicholas Palmier) “I’ll shoot you! I will shoot you.

“Let’s get it, do it then.”

“I’m going to shoot you!”

“What’s up? Do it, do it, do it.”

The next video shows Beshaw getting shot seven times. Channel 3 is not airing that — because it is graphic.

After the shooting, officers learned that Beshaw was not armed.

TJ Donovan, Chittenden County State’s Attorney, said, “He came in not knowing Mr. Beshaw at all.”

At a press conference Thursday, Donovan said, Deputy Palmier was justified in fearing for his life because Beshaw claimed he had a gun, hid his right hand behind his back and advanced on the officer.

Donovan said, “Nobody likes these. Nobody likes the fact that we have officer-involved shootings in this community and the fact that we’ve had three in the last ten months raises serious questions.”

And he also said while he isn’t second-guessing Deputy Palmier’s decision, it is time to look at whether these situations could be handled differently. “I think what needs to be looked at is the larger tactical, strategic decision-making leading up to instances.”

That’s something that concerned citizens, who protested after the shooting, want to see happen. Some told us they still feel that their questions – about what happened and why – weren’t fully answered.

Resident Jess Fuller said, “It seemed like it was framed already in a way of saying this is an act of “public safety” but I don’t feel safe. I know neighbors in Winooski don’t feel safe.”

The officer involved in the shooting is currently on paid administrative leave and seeing a counselor. He does plan to return to the police department.

Copyright 2016 CNN


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