Jeanetta Riley, 35, was gunned down using an AR-15 assault rifle and .40-caliber Glock pistol by Idah police officers outside Bronner General Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, on July 8, 2014. The autopsy report revealed that Riley was shot in the chest and hit in the liver as well as her shoulder, back and heart.
Her husband Shane took Riley, pregnant with her fourth child, to the hospital after she threatened to kill herself. When they arrived at the hospital, Riley pulled out a knife forcing her husband to ask the hospital staff to call the police. Within 15 seconds after the cops arrived, she was dead.
Two body cameras and a third attached to a police dashboard leave no ambiguity over what happened that fateful day when a homeless young woman, addicted to methamphetamine and alcohol, paid the price of saying NO to cops.
Riley’s ex-husband, Dana Maddox, is now suing the city for $2 million, as the officers ended his wife’s life as well as her pregnancy with Maddox’s daughter. The suit alleges that “One or more of the above-named police officers [Skyler Ziegler, 29 and Michael Valenzuela, 27] shot and killed Ms Riley, thereby inflicting excessive and unnecessary force upon a mentally disturbed patient who was armed only with a knife. The officers caused a lethal confrontation that any reasonable person could have avoided and they should have been trained to avoid”.
Both officers were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, and no apology has been issued for her death; the department claimed that they followed all proper procedures when they chose to use an AR-15 assault rifle on the mentally ill, pregnant woman. They are yet to explain why a less-than-lethal weapon like a taser was not used instead.
A recent US government study has concluded that there are close to 1,000 people killed by police on an average each year. Another study estimates that at least half of those shot and killed by police in the US have had mental health problems.
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