Trigger Happy Cops in Ilfov


Well just a day after I lauded the peacefulness of Romania’s law enforcement officers, I came across this story (Rom) about a guy who was shot by police in Ilfov and died of his wounds.

I know nothing about this case except for what’s in the news report but it looks like what the U.S. Marines used to call a clusterf–k:

Bărbatul fusese surprins, în 2 martie, de o patrulă de poliţie în timp ce, împreună cu alţi trei suspecţi, luau un laptop şi alte lucruri dintr-o dubiţă cu număr de înmatriculare francez. Poliţiştii au chemat întăriri, iar în încercarea de a-i opri pe hoţii care au fugit cu maşina, au tras în roţi, potrivit unor surse oficiale.

Or in English, a police patrol rolled up on four guys stealing a laptop and a few other things out of a van with French license plates. Then the police “tried to shoot out the tires”, firing a total of 16 shots, one of which hit one of the alleged thieves in the head, the wound which ultimately killed him. The police are claiming that the bullet “must’ve ricocheted” and hit the driver in the head.

First of all, 16 shots is 16 shots too many. I don’t care if these officers were expert sharpshooters and could’ve accurately blown out the tires. The rule is that you don’t fire off your gun unless someone’s life is in immediate jeopardy. Period! I don’t care if those thieves were stealing the president’s underwear, you do not fire off your gun unless you’re trying to save someone’s life.

I note, furthermore, that the other three jokers were all successfully arrested two days later, without the use of gunfire, so I rather imagine the now-dead guy could’ve been apprehended fairly easily as well. We’re talking about some street thieves here, not criminal masterminds from some James Bond movie.

Furthermore, sixteen shots is a LOT. I have no idea what kind of sidearm Ilfov police use but police in America chamber only 15 rounds in their guns. By deduction, this means that either A) one officer fired off his entire clip and then reloaded (unlikely) or else B) multiple officers were firing at the escaping vehicle.

My guess is this was a straight up Amadou Diallo situation, in which one of these cowboys had his blood up and decided to take down a few thieves by firing off his weapon and then the other officers got caught up in the frenzy and starting blasting away as well.

Absolutely insane. I’m glad to see this case is being referred to the courts and – sorry for the officers, but you wear the badge, you carry the burden of using your weapon properly – these guys get a lengthy jail term. No matter how much you might want to, you simply can’t go firing off a hail of lead at some street punks stealing a laptop. Innocent people could’ve gotten killed.

And last I heard, as outrageous and awful as thievery is, it’s not a capital punishment in this country. Someone needs to go over the rules of engagement for Ilfov Police and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

7 thoughts on “Trigger Happy Cops in Ilfov

  1. Romanian police nowadays uses Glock 18 (9mm), Pistol md. 2000 (Baby Eagle copy – also an army issue – 9mm), or the old Carpați md. 74 (7.65mm). If it was the Glock, then the officer would have had enough rounds available. Also bullet could have ricocheted of the rear-view mirror frame, it it was metal.

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  2. There’s a lot of grey shading in that story that we don’t know about. It’s not the first time some poor policeman gets in trouble because bullets ricochet off a rim and some one dies. It happened a few years ago in Galati when some idiot tried to run over a roadblock.

    Usually gypsies get very, very aggressive with policemen who get almost no protection under the law if they use their weapons and there was even a case of one guy who preferred to be beat up than use his weapon because he could’ve hurt others.

    Comparisons with the US are pointless. US cops are respected (read: feared) and they are offered more protection under the law. Also, they carry (and sometimes abuse) non-lethal weapons and Glock pistols. Romanian Police uses Carpati pistols (http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistol_Carpați_Md-74) which is a joke of a gun no matter how you frame it. Furthermore, they are allowed, under the law, to use their guns if they catch someone committing a crime and that person runs away after TELLING the fugitive to stop and firing one warning shot. Which also makes your comparison with the NYPD case disrespectful to poorly protected policemen and reeks of condescension.

    While I do understand that you don’t like what it’s happening, you won’t see many Romanians write their MPs about it. You can file it under “different cultures” or Romanians being ‘backwards’. I, for one, am glad Romanian cops use their guns more often. Plenty of times they’re dissed and made fun of by criminals and gangsters because they’re so sure nothing is ever going to happen to them, rendering the cops useless. Hopefully this will change.

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