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The police vehicles screeched to a halt in front of the house shortly after 4:00 p.m. They ordered Lopez and her children away from Derek – who, predictably, had risen to his feet by this time – and then ordered him to remove his hands from his the pockets of his sweatshirt.
Less than a second later – according to several eyewitnesses at the scene – Derek was hit with a taser blast that knocked him sideways and sent him into convulsions. His right hand involuntarily shot out of its pocket, clenching spasmodically.
“Not in front of the kids,” Derek gasped, as he tried to force his body to cooperate. “Get the kids out of here.”
The officers continued to order Derek to put up his hands; he was physically unable to comply.
So they tased him again. This time he was driven to his side and vomited into a nearby flower bed.
Howard Mixon, a contractor who had been working nearby, couldn't abide the spectacle.
“That's not necessary!” he bellowed at the assailants. “That's overkill! That's overkill!”
At this point, one of the heroes in blue (or, in this case, black) swaggered over to Mixon and snarled, “I'll f*****g show you overkill!” Having heroically shut up an unarmed civilian, the officer turned his attention back to Derek – who was being tased yet again.
“I'm trying to get my hands out,” Derek exclaimed, desperately trying to make his tortured and traumatized body obey his will. Horrified, his friend Sandra screamed at the officers: “He is trying to get his hands out, he cannot get his hands out!”
Having established that Derek – an innocent man who had survived two tours of duty in Iraq – was defenseless, one of Wilmington's Finest closed in for the kill.
Lt. William Brown of the Wilmington Police Department, who was close enough to seize and handcuff the helpless victim, instead shot him in the chest at point-blank range, tearing apart his vitals with three .40-caliber rounds. He did this after Derek had said, repeatedly and explicitly, that he was trying to cooperate. He did this despite the fact that witnesses on the scene had confirmed that Derek was trying to cooperate. He did this in front of a traumatized mother and two horrified children.
Why was this done?
According to Sgt. Steven Elliot of the WPD, Brown slaughtered Derek Hale because he “feared for the safety of his fellow officers and believed that the suspect was in a position to pose an imminent threat.” That subjective belief was sufficient justification to use “deadly force,” according to Sgt. Elliot.
The “position” Derek was in, remember, was that of wallowing helplessly in his own vomit, trying to overcome the cumulative effects of three completely unjustified Taser attacks.
When asked by the Wilmington News Journal last week if Hale had ever threatened the officers – remember, there were at least 8 and as many as 12 of them – Elliot replied: “In a sense, [he threatened the officers] when he did not comply with their commands.”