The Perils of Being a Pedestrian in a Police State

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Samer and Husien Shehada, brothers of Palestinian Arab descent, were minding their own business en route to a convenience store at 4:30 a.m. June 14. Unfortunately, their route took them past a police station.

A police car pulled up and an officer ordered the brothers to stop. A surveillance video shows that the pedestrians stopped beneath a lamppost and made no threatening gestures of any kind. Seconds later, reports the Washington Times, 29-year-old Husien is seen falling out of the frame. He had been shot by Officer Adam Tavss. The young man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Samer and Husien, along with their girlfriends, were vacationing at a seafront motel. After Tavss murdered Husien, his comrades in blue conducted a lengthy interrogation of the victim’s brother and their girlfriends, asking whether they spoke Arabic and otherwise rummaging around for some pretext to justify the crime after the fact.

The police eventually learned that Samer and his girlfriend had a quarrel a few hours earlier and charged him with domestic battery. It wasn’t until after this burlesque of an investigation that Samer learned that his brother had died.

Tavss was cleared by a departmental “inquiry,” and thus was able to be involved when the police murdered a second victim four days later. A  cab driver named Travis McCoy took a wrong turn and drove the wrong way across a bridge, prompting a call that the cab had been carjacked. Tavss and a second officer “exchanged gunfire” with McCoy, leaving the driver dead.

After being given a brief paid vacation (a status called “administrative leave”), Tavss and the other officer were reinstated, although assigned to desk duty.

1:20 pm on June 28, 2009