An officer with the Willingboro Police Department in Willingboro, New Jersey is accused of intentionally shooting a man who was lying face-down on the ground, reported NJ.com.
Christian Whichard was shot and killed by a Willingboro officer during a SWAT raid in 2011, according to a witness present at the scene. The witness, Jessica Evans, who was Whichard’s girlfriend, also said the officer shot and killed Whichard’s dog. The dog was reportedly next to Whichard and wasn’t barking or growling at the officers.
During the raid, Evans said the officers pointed guns at them, ordered their hands up, shot the dog, and then shot Whichard in the back as he lay helplessly on the ground. Officers have a different account of the incident.
The officers said the dog aggressively charged at them before being shot with an AR-15 assault rifle by officer Bennie Langford. They say that the shot that struck and killed Whichard was a ricocheted bullet from when officers shot the dog. An opinion filed by Judge Jerome Simandle states that there is enough evidence to insist that Langford intentionally shot Whichard.
“There is evidence in the record from which a reasonable jury could conclude that Office Langford intentionally fired his weapon into the Plaintiff’s back as he lay prone on the floor,” said Simandle’s opinion.
The officers’ account could be a cover to protect a colleague, which is known as the “blue code of silence.” Considering the overly aggressive nature of several police officers in the country, it’s likely that Whichard was killed intentionally.