The California man who was shot by a police officer after sticking his head out of his vehicle after rolling it over – only for the Paradise police officer to be exonerated after claiming it was an “accident” – died Saturday.
Andrew Thomas, 26, was facing DUI and manslaughter charges from the November 26 incident in which he rolled over the vehicle after leaving a bar with his wife, whom was ejected from the vehicle and eventually died.
Paradise police officer Patrick Feaster, who prides himself on cracking down on drunk drivers, winning awards from MADD and gaining recognition from local media, noticed the car leaving a bar without its headlights on.
He began pursuing the vehicle, only to watch Thomas’ vehicle strike a median and roll over.
Footage from his dash cam shows he pulled up to the scene and stepped out of his car, walking up to the rolled-over vehicle, pulling out his gun and opening fire at Thomas when he stuck his head out.
Thomas immediately fell back into the car and Feaster waited more than ten minutes to mention the fact that he had shot him.
Then, after a long gap where there is no audio, which shows Feaster looking down into the car as if speaking to Thomas, the audio is restored.
“I’ve got a non-responsive female and a male refusing to get out,” he speaks into his radio.
Refusing to get out? That is exactly what Feaster was trying to do when he was shot.
Then, when more officers arrive, he repeats that “there is a male in the car refusing to get out.”
That prompts the other officers to continue to order him out of the car.
“Get out of the car, sir, you’re not shot, sir, get out of the car,” one of the officers says around the 2:13 mark after Thomas apparently informed him that he had been shot.
Then at 2:51 in the video: “Did you get shot at the Canteena? Who shot you? The cop did not shoot you.”
Meanwhile, a citizen walks up with towels, offering them to the cops to stop the bleeding from Thomas’ wife, Darien Ehorn, who was laying on the street still breathing.
But the cop chase him away without accepting the towels, telling him they had everything under control.
Then, at 3:51, an officer can be heard requesting medics through dispatch.
Another minute goes by and none of the officers appear too concerned that Thomas had already informed them he was shot, seemingly more concerned with chasing bystanders away.
“Please stand over by that sign,” one cops says to the bystander with the towels, who was not interfering. “I’m not going to ask you again.”
They are also trying to pry open Thomas’ car, still ordering him to get out.
He may be hurt in there,” one cop says after the 5:35 mark, more than three minutes after Thomas told them he had been shot by a cop.
“Yeah, I know he is, he may be in shock,” another one responds.
At the 6:45 mark, audio – but no video – captures officers speaking to Thomas, who is still in the car after one of them seems to say, “He’s playing coy.”
“Sir, I need you to talk to me to know you’re ok,” one cop says. “Sir, take a look at me. Did you bump your head?”
Meanwhile, Ehorn is slipping away, but medics have not arrived on the scene.
“She’s still breathing,” one cop asks.
“She’s gasping for air,” another one responds.
“Ok, her airway might be clogged,” the first cop says.
“Yeah, she’s vomiting,” the second cop says.
Then they turn their attention back to Thomas, still demanding to know his name, not worried about the gunshot wound, figuring he was just playing games with them.
“We got one laying here, she’s vomiting, pupils are non-reactive,” one cop says.
“We have another one in the car, he was talking when we got here, he’s not answering questions anymore.”
Finally, after more than 12:30 in the video, a police supervisor announces that they are going to return to the bar to find out who shot Thomas.
And that was when Feaster finally admitted the truth.
“I think I shot him,” Feaster said. “I wasn’t even pointing at him but the gun did go off.”
“Oh my fucking God, are you serious?” the supervisor responds as the video ends.
But anybody watching the video can see that it was not an accident because he pulled out the gun, opened fire, then placed the gun back into his holster, never once reporting “shots fired” as cops are trained to do.
They can also see there was complete negligence from the other officers who refused to believe that Thomas had been shot, especially by a police officer, even though that was exactly what happened.
But none of that mattered to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, according to Action News Now:
According to Ramsey, several factors led investigators to believe the shooting was accidental. “The dash cam video shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the guns firing. The pistol discharges in mid-stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a stutter step indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol. Additionally, officers normally train to fire a minimum of two shots. There was no second shot and the officer immediately holstered his weapon after the discharge.”
Actually, the dash cam video shows that Feaster may have fired twice, but because they removed the audio from that portion, it’s difficult to confirm.
And the dash cam does not capture any indication of “surprise” that the gun had gone off. Feaster was very deliberate in pulling out the gun, shooting it, then placing it back in his holster.
This “stutter step” and head-flinching is a bullshit excuse.
And even if it was an accident, his responsibility was to immediately report the shooting, which he didn’t do.
The truth is, Feaster hates drunk drivers because his uncle had been killed by a drunk driver as a news station reported in 2012 when he was being hailed as a hero by MADD.
Feaster first learned of his uncle’s death when he was a young boy growing up in Chico. But the story stayed with him while attending Chico High School, Shasta and Butte colleges and Kansas Wesleyan University. His uncle’s death was and still remains a source of inspiration. “It had some bearing on my career choice,” said Feaster. “But it had more of an effect on what I chose to focus on.”
Recently, Feaster was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), having been the top DUI-arresting officer in the Paradise Police Department in 2011, citing 33 drunk drivers. Six months into this year, he’s already more than halfway toward his goal of 50 DUI arrests. “I am always looking for DUI drivers,” said Feaster. “I watch every car in front of me for signs of drifting.”
So it’s likely that Ramsey took that into consideration when choosing not to charge him. After all, prosecuting drunks is a great revenue generator for the county.
But now that Thomas is dead – and many locals are outraged and protesting – Ramsey told Action News Now that he will reconsider whether or not to file charges against Feaster.
UPDATE: A Facebook group has been launched to recall Ramsey, who has no business prosecuting another case for as long as he lives.
Also, here is Ramsey’s explanation at how his legal team has so much more legal expertise than we do, which was why they didn’t charge the officer.
UPDATE II: And here is a petition gathering momentum demanding accountability in this case.