Video of 2011 police shooting released
May 21, 2013 (Lewiston Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A police video shows a man with his hands in the air for about six seconds before a fatal shot was fired that killed Jeffrey A. Flinn in 2011.
The Lewiston Tribune has obtained a video of the highway chase that left Flinn dead. The video was released after the case was dismissed against a Nez Perce Tribal Police officer who was facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter in 2nd District Court in Lewis County.
Flinn, 46, was allegedly shot and killed by Nez Perce Tribal Police officer Robert S. Wall, 31, following a 50-mile car chase Nov. 12, 2011, along U.S. Highway 95 between Lewiston and Craigmont. Lewis County Magistrate Stephen L. Calhoun dismissed the charge against Wall during a preliminary hearing April 29, saying reasonable people would react the same in similar circumstances.
"Any reasonable person in the same situation would feel fear," Calhoun said.
In the video, taken from the dashboard of a tribal police cruiser, the white pickup truck driven by Flinn is traveling on snowy roads near Winchester. At one point, the truck veers into the opposite lane and narrowly misses an oncoming vehicle. The pickup truck hits a spike strip deployed by the Idaho State Police just outside of Craigmont. With three flattened tires, the pickup continues driving for a short distance, then stops in the middle of the road. Flinn holds a shotgun out the window, fires twice, then drops the gun on the road. Seconds later, Flinn jumps out of the truck, facing police, with his hands on top of his head. Words appear to be exchanged (the video does not include sound). Approximately six seconds elapse, and Flinn suddenly drops to his knees, then to the ground. Three officers close in, guns drawn, and one grabs the shotgun and moves it aside.
The video can be viewed at www.lmtribune.com.
Wall was placed on paid administrative leave following the incident. Nez Perce Tribe interim Police Chief Daniel Taylor said Wall is back to work at the department, but is on desk duty.
Following the preliminary hearing last month, the Nez Perce Tribe released a statement supporting Wall and Calhoun's decision.
"Today's dismissal is the appropriate ruling in this case," said Silas Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee. "We do not believe that any charges should have even been filed against officer Wall. He was simply doing his duty, protecting the public from a very real threat."
Another Nez Perce Tribal Police officer involved in the case, Trevor M. Garrett has pleaded innocent in U.S. District Court to charges of making false statements to FBI officials investigating the case, specifically stating he did not know who shot Flinn. A trial for Garrett is scheduled for July 23 in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene.
Garrett is free on the conditions that he not violate state, federal or local laws and that he advise the court of any change of residence or phone number, according to court records.
Gaboury may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2275. Follow him on Twitter @KevinGaboury.
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