Stephen Poolson Died Following Motorcycle Accident and Subsequent Police Shooting It Littleton
LITTLETON, COLORADO (October 13, 2023) - An man identified as Stephen Poolson Jr has tragically died in a Littleton police shooting by an apartment complex near South Bannock Street.
Arapahoe County officials are saying that the incident took place on Thursday. Littleton police received a report of a “suspicious vehicle.” A police officer located Stephen Poolson Jr on the sidewalk with his motorcycle.
The officer made a sharp turn and crashed directly into the victim. He was able to get up and ran behind a building while being pursued by the officer.
At some point after the encounter, the officer opened fire and shot Stephen Poolson Jr several times. Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help him.
Sadly, he was later pronounced dead. A family member said that he suffered from schizophrenia. An investigation into the police shooting remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Littleton Police Shootings
The United States has one of the highest instances of fatal police shootings. A large portion of the victims suffer from untreated mental illness. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, “Numbering fewer than 1 in 50 U.S. adults, individuals with untreated severe mental illness are involved in at least 1 in 4 and as many as half of all fatal police shootings, the study reports.” There are a number of steps that police departments should take in order to avoid harming mentally ill suspects.
- Police officers should do their best to calm the situation.
- Police officers should request backup.
- Police officers should typically avoid physical contact.
- Police officers should determine if the suspect is taking medication.
- Police officers should abstain from making threats.
Police officers must follow department policy when they encounter suspects that could be mentally ill. Using lethal force should always be an absolute measure of last resort. Pursuant to 42 U.S. Code § 1983, every person who, under the color of any statute, ordinance or law, causes a citizen of the United States to be deprived of any rights secured by the Constitution, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law. Whether or not an officer’s use of force was justified will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of any incident. There are many situations where lethal force would typically not be justified.
- Police officers should not strike a suspect that is already restrained.
- Police officers should not shoot a suspect that does not pose a danger to anyone.
- Police officers should typically not use their cars as a battering ram unless lethal force would be justified.
- Police officers should typically not shoot or attack suspects that are attempting to flee.
It is crucial that police officers are properly vetted and trained before they start working. Officers that are less experienced tend to be more likely to resort to using lethal force. In far too many instances, police shootings were avoidable. The family of any person that is killed in a police shooting may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. Sadly, though, police departments will often do everything that they can to deny responsibility if their officers kills someone.
Investigating Littleton Police Shootings
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Stephen Poolson Jr. This was a tragedy that should have never taken place. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened and some accountability for the sake of the victim’s family.
Do you need more information about a Littleton police shooting? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We are committed to helping victims of police brutality understand their rights and holding law enforcement accountable. Being a police officer is not an open license to harm people under the color of law. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.