Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sheriffs shoot man in Blue Lake on eve of 3rd Anniversary of shooting of Martin Cotton II

 OK, neither of these people were pillars of the communtiy but did they both have to die?
See Times Standard article for Saturday shooting.
Aparently, Robert Garth was shot by Humboldt County Deputies yesterday when he charged them on the freeway with a rake handle.  The story says that before charging the deputies, he was assaulting another man on the freeway while trying to take his wedding band.

Below is a video commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the killing of Martin Cotton II while in police custody.  Martin Cotton II died 3 years ago today in Humboldt County Jail.


  1. Not knowing any of the details of these cases, it is hard to understand what may have been going through someone's mind at the time of the shooting. One aspect often overlooked is the impact on the officers who, in their own judgment, made the decision to take a human life. Whether or not it was a "good" or legal use of deadly force, the officer will never be the same.

  2. We don't know all the details of the case yet. However, if it's true that the officers were about to be attacked by a man carrying a stick, then it seems reasonable that they would use force. Failure to use force could result in the officers being seriously injured or killed, especially if it was believed that the stick was made of steel. One good whack in the head and the officer could be killed or have permanent brain damage. A wooden stick could also cause damage, ruin a shoulder, gouge out an eye, etc. Should the peace officers who work on our behalf be expected to withhold the use of deadly force when being attacked and take the risk of serious death or injury? Should we direct officers to wait until they're hit on the head twice, or stabbed 1.5 times, or have an eye gouged out before using force? I don't think so. If officers follow procedures designed to protect them, and a suspect attacking them dies in the process, should the community then proceed to malign the officers and accuse them of wrongdoing? I don't think so. Perhaps we should support the officers, who may very well be suffering as a result of what happened.

  3. I do think that beating someone up while in hand cuffs in jail is different than shooting someone in broad daylight on the freeway.

    In the case of Cotton, I don't think the police were threatened.

    In the case of Garth, I also don't think the officers would have been threatened were it not for the other person that had been beaten by Garth. The officers had to act quickly because this other person was at risk. This other person probably didn’t have the training, safety equipment, car, pepper spray, bullet proof vets, night stick or gun that the cops had.

    If it were just someone on the freeway with a pipe or metal stick, they could have called for backup and a death sentence would not have been at all justified.

    It's a sad situation and I don't blame the cops.
    They came to the aid of a guy getting beat up.

  4. why cant police with all of there great training and skill as marksmen/women of law enforcement shoot the stick out of his hand,in the arm,or maybe the leg so that this person could be subdued why must they allways kill at will with no regard for life.And for that matter they signed up for what happens to them.if they dont like there job maybe become a emt.

  5. That tactic only works in the movies. Not allowing them to protect themselves is the equivalent of having ship workers exposed to asbestos, then telling them "fuck it, you knew what you signed up for" after they get lung disease. It's irresponsible and unethical.

  6. Bullshit. The cops have a taser and pepper spray on the other hip. Cop watch's report states there were likely 4 officers. They also had time to give REPEATED WARNINGS-- which is enough time not to be acting in the heat of passion. The officers damn well knew of Robert, as he was a very visible member of the community. They also damn well knew he was mentally ill. I grew up with Robert. He was not a dangerous person. The full story is not being told. This is a pathetic display by our local law enforcement. Death is different, save it for the real criminals that deserve it.

  7. Perhaps we define "dangerous" differently. I consider someone who beats a stranger over the head with a rake and sends him to the hospital "dangerous." I also consider someone who attacks a kid with garden shears "dangerous." Perhaps others are more accustomed to violence than I am and more accepting of assaults.

  8. The Humboldt Herald reports:
    299 shooting investigated as homicide
    Channel 3 News had an “exclusive” report Monday night that included an interview with the mother of a man shot dead by Humboldt County Sheriffs deputies Saturday morning.

    The woman, who lives very near the shooting scene on highway 299 said police over reacted when they shot Robert Garth, 31, for allegedly threatening deputies with a 3 foot rake handle. The deputies were responding to a call from a man who said he was being assaulted with the rake.

    “It’s beyond me how they couldn’t have pushed him down” because there were 3 officers on the scene who outnumbered him, she said. Her son was generous with others and helped the homeless, she added.

    The report then examines Garth’s criminal record to “find out who this guy really was,” as if such a thing is guaranteed to be found in police logs. It notes a history of battery, mental evaluations and restraining orders granted to at least one victim.

    Channel 3 reports the shooting is being investigated as a homicide.

    This is the first fatal deputy-related shooting since the Board of Supervisors approved a controversial process ten months ago that would allow a citizen’s liaison committee to recommend an independent audit of police actions following such incidents. The Sheriff would have to agree to the audit and details of the investigation would not be open to the public if one were to go forward. The Sheriff could then release a shortened version of the final report — or not — at his discretion. The sheriff would also retain control over how findings are implemented.

  9. Funny that all of us had this much to say and didn't notice that I got the headline wrong.
    Martin Cotton II was not shot. He died from blut force trama to the head.

  10. I was pulled over a few hundred yards from this scene last night, as I work just down the road from here. For suposidly not wearing a seatbelt, which I was.

    The cop had his hand on his weapon the entire time, ranted about probation/parole, made me walk the drunk line/test. I have had like maybe ten beers my entire life. Work a good job, am educated, and raise a child by myself with no help from anyone in any way.

    I've only moved here a few years, but the cops are assholes, abuse there position, and need to be told that killing someone like this is...murder, since it is.

    At the least they need to be fired, and found guilty of some felony, so they will never hold a firearm again.


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