Story Archive

There’s Something Different about this Gun

Eric Butts, 26, a mentally disabled man who had outstanding warrants, was panhandling outside a store in Springfield, Mo. Springfield police officer Jason Shuck, 36, confronted Butts, who ran. Shuck reached for his Taser. “Officer Shuck yelled for Butts to stop running at that time and received no response,” a probable cause statement says. “Officer Shuck then pulled the trigger and heard the loud report of a gunshot.” In the rush, Shuck apparently pulled the wrong weapon, and had shot Butts with his handgun; Butts was severely injured, but not killed. “I’m sorry Butts, I thought I reached for my Taser,” Shuck allegedly told him. Shuck is currently on paid administrative leave, but may return to work. He is being charged with misdemeanor criminal negligence, but misdemeanors don’t disqualify him from being a police officer. “I think it sends a good message to the public that law enforcement and prosecutors believe that law enforcement officers should be held to the same standard as civilians when it comes to deadly force — that it should be justified,” said prosecutor Daniel Moore. (MS/Springfield News-Leader) ...So remember: if you shoot a cop, you just have to say you thought it was a Taser.
Original Publication Date: 27 July 2014
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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