What the &$*#%#!?!: the second-guessing

So if Fulton County sheriff’s deputy Cynthia Hall dies of the injuries she suffered Friday morning — which remains a distressingly possible outcome — the office will have its very own snuff film, courtesy of the surveillance cameras that were rolling at the time. Yet she wasn’t found — even after other deputies chasing Brian Nichols ran right by her — until someone noticed she was missing.

You can take your pick as to which aspect of the Friday-Saturday chase was the most ridiculous: putting out an alert for a green Honda Accord found (11 hours after it was originally carjacked) one floor below its original spot; being so sure the suspect had fled in said Accord that shutting down MARTA was seen as not necessary (Nichols got from the Omni station to Lenox with, apparently, little trouble); that nobody (as best I can tell) seems to have looked in Buckhead, despite the fact that Nichols apparently at one point asked directions to Lenox, until Saturday morning when a customs agent was found murdered in the area.

I will say, though, that the arguments that Hall should not have been left alone with the suspect because he was a big, angry guy and she was a petite woman don’t hold water to me. Hall may be only 5’0″, but she had 16 years’ experience: this can not have been the first time she handled a large, angry prisoner. And as anyone who’s ever taken a self-defense class can tell you, there are techniques a petite woman can use to immobilize a man twice her size. The problem doesn’t seem to have been Hall’s size or gender — Nichols overpowered a male deputy a few minutes later — but the element of surprise.

There are two elements here: Nichols’s own story, which seems genuinely tragic (in the classical, not sentimental, sense of the word), and the mistakes made by law enforcement. What worries me most is this is a case where the four most seriously injured victims were all connected to law enforcement themselves. If there are that many mistakes made when the cops have such an obvious vested interest in capturing the guy, what happens when it’s just an ordinary case?

1 Comment so far

  1. Daniel (unregistered) on March 14th, 2005 @ 11:55 am

    That’s pretty much what’s bothering me also Jessica. It does seem like a huge lack of preparedness on the part of law enforcement. If the guy had really wanted to be gone, it seems like he could have slipped the state somewhat easily.

    And preparedness is the best thing that law enforcement brings to the equation…

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