A South Florida cop was fired today for walking up to a car with his gun drawn and using it to bang on the driver’s window before opening fire after the driver sped away.
Boca Raton police officer James Clark then hopped back into car and reached speeds of 100 mph to pursue the suspect through suburban city streets, running red lights and driving against traffic in an effort that proved to be futile as the suspect had gotten away.
He later claimed, of course, that he was in fear for his life because, you know, the driver was “reaching” – which is textbook police manipulation of the facts to get away with anything. What we call the Blue Line of Bullshit.
After an eight-month internal investigation, it was determined that Clark violated several departmental policies, which is why Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander called a press conference today.
However, the president of the local union, John Cagno, said it will support Clark in fighting to get his job back, which means Clark will probably soon be back on the force and receive full backpay.
Boca News Now, which stated that Chief Alexander took “swift and decisive action” in firing Clark, also posted an investigative report dated May 12 suggesting the chief came to this determination more than a month ago.
So perhaps he was not as swift and decisive in announcing the news.
According to the investigative report:
Prior to going off duty that night, Ofc. Clark authored a supplement to BRPSD case # 2014- 013614. In the report, he indicated that after stopping the suspected stolen vehicle, the suspect was “not complying” with his verbal commands. He indicated the suspect’s “left hand was positioned at the approximate two o’clock position on the steering wheel and his right hand quickly darted to the right side of the driver’s seat.” He also indicated that the driver’s actions “led me to believe he was reaching for an object. Based on my training and experience, I believed it to be a weapon.” He then described how he attempted to gain entry to the vehicle, but that the door was locked and he attempted to “break the glass with the butt of my weapon” and that during this action, he could “see the suspect still attempting to “yank” what I believed to be a weapon from the side of the driver seat.” Ofc. Clark went on to explain that the suspect began driving away as “I was still attempting to gain entry and while I was standing next to and in contact with the vehicle, causing me an immediate fear that I would be struck and possibly severely injured (based on his hand positioning on the steering wheel) and by his continued attempts to retrieve an object, possibly a firearm or weapon, from the space between the driver’s seat and center console.” He ended his supplement by stating “Fearing for my safety, I fired my weapon in an attempt to stop the threat.”
The suspect, Marc Simmons, was eventually arrested for fleeing an officer. Although he was initially accused of driving a stolen vehicle, that charge was dismissed.
Photos show the bullet came dangerously close to his head. The video is below.