Highland Park Police Shooting a Weird One. Weird Ones Need Investigation.

Categories: Schutze

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Highland Park police say they shot and killed a man Tuesday after he escaped from handcuffs while locked inside a patrol car, shot out the back window of the car, attempted to escape and got into a gun battle with them on a crowded shopping center parking lot where other cars were hit by cross-fire. That's probably what happened. But it's a damned weird story.

First of all, why was the guy arrested? HPPD says it got a complaint from a woman who said he was following her on a motorcycle. Does Highland Park have a law against riding a motorcycle behind a car? And anyway, when police found it the motorcycle was parked in front of a shoe store.

The guy killed, David Hartman, 32, sounds like he may have been nuts. Channel 5 NBC News had a story saying he was behaving bizarrely inside the shoe store just before the shootout. It turned out later there were warrants out for him from previous arrests, and he had multiple drug charges in the past. But police apparently knew none of that until after the man's death.

HPPD says he fought them pretty much from the moment they confronted him in front of the store. So now we have a possibly crazy combative guy with some kind of complaint against him from a motorist. And maybe it wasn't only because he followed her: Maybe he was back there making faces or giving her the finger or something. I might have called about a guy like that, too.

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Scott Goldstein has a piece on The Dallas Morning News crime blog in which he says the man was searched and then handcuffed behind his back before he was placed in the back of the patrol car. But he managed to get out of the handcuffs and produce a gun not found during the search.

Goldstein quotes an expert who says police can miss guns in body searches. OK, maybe. But I haven't seen a discussion of the handcuffs. Mechanical handcuffs? Zip ties?

The modern mechanical cuffs are usually fairly foolproof. Most cops pull zip ties down so tight it's not uncommon for arrestees to have a loss of sensation in their fingers for weeks or months afterward.

So the police fight with this guy. He's nuts. They search him badly. Then they put the cuffs on him too loose. Then they put him in the back of the patrol car where apparently they can't see him or they're not keeping an eye on him. He defeats the cuffs. He gets his gun out of his boot or wherever. Then he shoots out the back window of the car he's sitting in.

Well, OK, fine, because the guy's nuts, right? But I'm just saying an awful lot of bizarre linkages have to work together in this story for it to come out as the official version.

Next, what? He climbs out the back window and runs off? Really? Did he do that? And then the police engage him in a gunfight on a crowded parking lot where apparently bullets hit one or more automobiles belonging to innocent passersby.

On the one hand, that sounds awfully Wild West. On the other, if the guy was shooting, the police had to shoot back to stop him, and the firing of handguns in a fight like that is never going to be surgical. Even in trained hands, a handgun is a blunt force broad-side-of-a-barn weapon with a very high risk of collateral damage, which is why we always hope no one will be firing one whenever we leave a shoe store.

So if there are all these fairly plausible reasons why the police version of this incident might be totally accurate, why do I think it needs to be closely investigated? It's not fair to postulate about specific things that might be wrong with the story when there is no evidence that anything is wrong.

I'm glad the cops didn't get shot. I'm glad the passersby didn't get shot. The motorcyclist is not my hero. But I will say this: This is one weird story. And the thing about weird stories? Everything can be wrong.

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59 comments
joeinbost
joeinbost

So Barney Fife of the HPPD missed the gun . Maybe he should transfer to the Transit Police in Boston. They shoot their own, when the other gun was out of Bullets. Then they put  300 rounds into a Boat where another terrorist was hiding unarmed  and all of the 300 rounds MISSED the target. At least  Barney Fife could hit his target with a Single round.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

if his gun was shoved up his ass this story is plausible...hell you can spend time at lew sterrett without having your poop chute searched....

awash1
awash1

The cops should be fired for incompetence.

acv233
acv233

I can't be the only one who has read stories of even veteran cops being shot in the back of the head in this exact same kind of situation. 

It's good that we're reading about some loser thug being shot and not planning the funeral of cops or innocents .  

Barack
Barack

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke be get’in her free birf controls pills what diff’ do it make?

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

"Weird Ones Need Investigation".....Did I miss the "investigation" piece of this??

casiepierce
casiepierce

"The modern mechanical cuffs are usually fairly foolproof. Most cops pull zip ties down so tight it's not uncommon for arrestees to have a loss of sensation in their fingers for weeks or months afterward."

Watching too much teevee. None of this is true. It is very easy to slip out of your so-called "mechanical cuffs". And the zip ties aren't so hard either. And I seriously doubt that anyone has ever had a zip tie on so tight that they lost "sensation in their fingers for weeks or months". I'm thinking that's pure hyperbole.

No, what's really worth asking here are two questions: How did the gun get past the initial pat down, and why was he sitting in the car all alone and not being watched?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

You start firing a weapon around police while not wearing a badge, you quickly become dead. Unlike on TV you do not get away. The police are more interested in staying alive, not keeping you alive. Park Cities police always get calls from residents on people acting weird. The police document them and go take a look. It is a service you get from your taxes. If you get a report with a definite description, you can stop them, legal free and clear. Maybe we need to cover getting arrested in high school civics. Do not mess around. Do not reach for weapons. Keep mouth shut. Go to jail. Get bailed out. Go home alive. Do it like a Goodfella.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Is it strange to think this guy would be alive if he lived in HP? They have a pretty strict double standard there.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The police shot him in the back, according to eyewitnesses.

bubb
bubb

Another example of how GUNS ARE NOT THE ANSWER. The police should have done what all us anti-gunners say, "CALL THE POLICE!"

if6were9
if6were9

It reminds me of those Miami police dudes who fucked up and let that one prisoner loose in that Wal-Mart parking lot, months ago in our area. It looks like a major fumble by the Highland Park police and not much else. 

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

I heard he was a Trinity Toll Road whistleblower who actually shot JFK. They had to silence him of course. 

Oxtail
Oxtail

"Highland Park police say they shot and killed a man Tuesday after he escaped from handcuffs while locked inside a patrol car, SHOT OUT THE BACK window of the car..." 

"...if the guy was shooting, the police had to shoot back to stop him..."

Huh?

As soon as he fired a gun around cops, in custody or otherwise, he pretty much insured his own death. Not to mention that this took place in the shadow of the newly opened GWB library where authorities have been grilled to be on a high level of vigilance. Suicide by cop. 

It seems weird because it is so simple. 

wcvemail
wcvemail

Missing so far from this story: cop yelling "Move and I will LIGHT YOU UP!!!"

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Early reports said when police checked the plates the motorcycle came up stolen. If true, ample reason to arrest and cuff him.  

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Did this guy really get out of the cuffs or did he just slip his cuffed hands down behind his back under his feet and then have his cuffed hands in front of  Him .

And Jim Before someone else points this out CRIME HAPPENS everyday in OAK CLIFF  How about a little ink for us ?


ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

They are not used to these situations, they only know how to write tickets and show up for domestic disputes of coked up adults

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Would of been even weirder if they caught him coming out of Terry Costa dress shop.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Sounds as if Andy is going to take away Barney's bullet again ...


Seriously, one item that I heard on a local newscast was that supposedly Hartman fired over the police car and hit the back window of a car in front of the police car.  That doesn't sound right.

If the guy was arrested and handcuffed, the search should have been more than just a pat down.


It is possible if you have you hands handcuffed behind you to get your hands in front of your body if you are not overweight and are somewhat limber.


There are a number of things that just do not add up on this one.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

It definitely seems that there is more to this than what the UP police have said. There have been some pretty damning statements made about the veracity of the "official story" by witnesses that were interviewed on the news last evening.

womack123
womack123

I'm Pretty Sure His little ones siting at home without a father didn't Think  that he was a Loser Thug so get a Life 

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@casiepierce dont worry casie if you cross someone rich/important/minority with friends in high places you'll get to see how hand cuffs feel first hand.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@casiepierce 

You're wrong Casie.

I've had the pleasure of being placed in handcuffs for a public intox.  The cuffs were so tight and on my wrists for so long, I indeed had nerve damage and lost sensation for several weeks afterward.  No hyperbole, god honest truth.

cawnlu
cawnlu

"Modern mechanical cuffs are usually fairly foolproof..." That's generally case...when apprlied properly. However, when handcuffing a suspect during a fight, the cuffs are often put-on however they can be successfully applied. Usually they are too tight in that case, but not necessarily. We also don't know if the guy complained that they were too tight and had the cuffs loosened before he escaped. We also don't know if the guy had a secreted handcuff key. Career criminals often carry keys and they are almost impossible to find them during a field search. In other words, I would be shocked to hear that the guy "picked" the handcuffs. It's more likely they were applied improperly, suspect had a key, or he moved his hands to the front of his body through his physical flexibility.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@casiepierce 

Bullshit. You;re wrong on mechanical cuffs. Wrong on zip ties. Wrong on lost sensation. 

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz That's a big possibility if you are running from the police after shooting at them with a gun in your hand, that you might actually get shot in the back. They should teach that in schools and touch on that in a episode of Law and Order show so people don't think its so "unreal" that you may get shot in the back by the Police if you have shot at them and running from them.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Oxtail 

I think we're agreed on that point, are we not? Assuming that's what happened. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Oxtail Not so simple.  While it is believable that police might miss a gun during a cursory pat-down when detaining the suspect prior to learning of the motorcycle being stolen and the outstanding warrant for fleeing from law enforcement, once he is placed under arrest, things generally get a bit more thorough.  If Dallas PD is anything like Denver PD, the search after the arrest should have been little short of a beat down.  A cuffed and stuffed suspect, IN the police vehicle, has a gun?  Not simple at all.

mewkins
mewkins

I guess the officer should be commended for having enough compassion to give the fella a chance to give up, which he was not, by law, required to do.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@oakclifftownie They don't want to scare off the old timey mustachioed urban pioneer 30somethings from moving there. 

James080
James080

@oakclifftownie  

Ain't it the truth. Rape only seems grab ink in Dallas when an SMU or Highland Park student is on the receiving end.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@oakclifftownie 

Not how news works. A big headline would be, "EVERYTHING IS LEGAL AND SERENE IN THE CLIFF TODAY." 

leftocenter
leftocenter

If the guy was really stoned, he would be more likely to be able to accomplish that limber move -- not feeling the pain most of us would feel.

I have seen a woman do it --  a former competitive swimmer

leftocenter
leftocenter

If the guy was really stoned, he would be more likely to be able to accomplish that limber move -- not feeling the pain most of us would feel.

I have seen a woman do it --  a former competitive swimmer. 

ElFlaco714
ElFlaco714

@TheCredibleHulk  Agreed.  The lady witness on the news said that a cop came and asked her to turn away.  She looked him in the eye and told him "that was messed up."  According to her, the cop replied, "I didn't do it."  The perp had warrants and has run from the police before.  My theory is that he shot once to pop the window, climbed out and ran, so they shot him.  It is already established that he was shot twice in the back and once in the leg.  It's nearly impossible to run away from a cop while shooting at him.  Plus, the perp's gun was found directly underneath the broken window.  This appears to be a bad shooting, and warrants investigation.

cawnlu
cawnlu

I'm sure he never discussed his high-risk criminal behavior with his little ones either.

lebowski300
lebowski300

Jim's definitely spot on about zip ties.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Living in Dallas and dating someone in Park Cities, I was amazed at the things HP police would do. If you go on vacation, they will do periodic drivebys. They will check peddlers for licenses. Any evidence of even non-violent crime, e.g., car break in or stolen bike, and they are there in 5 minutes.

Oxtail
Oxtail

VERY simple. In custody, detained, or performing a favorite mime routine, if someone is around a few uniformed cops and then for whatever reason starts firing at objects next to them, the law and common sense will tell you that competent authorities will shoot you and most likely kill you.

acv233
acv233

@ElFlaco714 @TheCredibleHulk  It's not only possible to shoot and run, it happens on a regular basis. But what would you have preferred - for the cops to wait for him to turn out and get better aim?

cawnlu
cawnlu

 "It's nearly impossible to run away from a cop while shooting at him." That statement is not even close to truth. It's difficult to fire an "aimed" shot while running away, but there is plenty of evidence, video and otherwise, that someone can fire backward while running. And it is not at all uncommon in "street" gunbattles.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@ElFlaco714 @TheCredibleHulk Hahahaha. Stupid fucking garbage culture attitude. Guess what? IT'S 100 PERCENT LEGAL FOR THE POLICE TO SHOOT SOMEONE TRYING TO ESCAPE. They can shoot them anywhere the bullets might happen to land. Back, leg, straight in the back of their empty garbage culture skull. 

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@MikeWestEast they are bored and eager to hold on to higher paying gig as opposed to having to go to forney and make ONLY 38K

leftocenter
leftocenter

Most likely...also she was a federal agent arrested for shoplifting designer handbags lol...

mewkins
mewkins

I think he is referring to Section 9.51 (c) (2), TX Penal Code. If the police saw that he fired a gun, and he might get away, then it's the end of this story.

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