Driver Killed For Cop’s Bad Choice

 Boone County, Kentucky, Deputy Tyler Brockman was called to a party because people were having too much fun and must be stopped.  Brockman did his duty, and upon his arrival, a field party broke up and people began leaving.

Oh no. Not good enough. Brockman decided it was his job to stop the cars as they left to check if the party-goers were drunk.  No probable cause. No checkpoint, Just Brockman, because he is the paragon of sobriety.

Out drove 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey.  Brockman was not about to let that happen.

According to the sheriff’s department, Brockman was hit by Ramsey’s car and “thrown on the hood,” where he was so afraid for his life that he shot four bullets into Ramsey, killing her.  As explained by his lawyer after a grand jury refused to indict:

While Tyler and his family remain extremely thankful he is alive, his survival came with the heavy burden of doing what he had to do to protect himself and others.

But in Boone County, apparently neither the rules of logic nor the laws of physics apply. Even assuming Brockman was stupid enough to walk into a moving car, the glancing blow would have thrown him in the opposite direction, not atop the hood of the car. Do they still teach Newton’s Third Law in Kentucky?

In contrast, others inside the car say that Brockman leapt onto the hood to stop this heinous party-goer from leaving when he demanded she stop because, well, he did.  According to the allegations of a suit filed by Ramsey’s family:

Without any warning to Ramsey or her passengers, Brockman jumped onto the hood and demanded that she stop her car.

Uh oh. Now Brockman’s on the hood of a car, and that can be life-threatening to him, so he shot and killed Ramsey.  Nothing wrong with that, the grand jury returns, even if Brockman may not have been as much of a poster boy for sobriety as his conduct may appear.

The key allegations by the family’s attorneys are: Deputy Brockman was on anxiety medication, he had no probable cause to stop Ramsey’s car and Brockman could have noted Ramsey’s license plate number and then called for help from others nearby.

Putting aside the fact that Brockman lacked any probable cause to stop Ramsey in the first place (yes, her BAC was .12 and she had marijuana in her blood, but Brockman didn’t know any of this), the fact remains that Brockman’s decision to jump on the hood, thus putting himself in a theoretical position of harm, was his own doing, not Ramsey’s.

She didn’t stop instantaneously as he commanded her to? So what? There was nothing to suggest that she presented an imminent threat to anyone.  Brockman was just pissed that she didn’t succumb to his authority, and he wasn’t going to let her get away with that.  He had to act. He had to stop her. He just had to. So onto the hood he jumped.

It’s certainly arguable that being on the hood of a moving vehicle presents a danger to a police officer.  The obvious solution is don’t do it, but that required thought. This apparently was not Brockman’s strength, so jump he did.

He could have, realizing the abject stupidity of his decision, then jumped off.  But no, you say, as that is risky.  He could have sprained an ankle, perhaps scraped his knee. All manner of harm could ensue from jumping off the hood of a moving vehicle.  Even if the car was slowing because there was a guy laying on the hood.

So instead of risking any potential for harm to himself, Brockman made the “split second decision” to kill 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey.  Hooray, the officer is safe. Bummer for Ramsey.

While the law permits a police officer to use deadly force when threatened with serious harm, it presumes that the cause of that harm is the conduct of the other person, the choice made by the person about to get shot and killed.  Here, to the extent Brockman was actually in danger at all, it was the product of his own monumentally foolish decisions.  Indeed, a series of them.

First, there was Brockman’s decision that he had the authority to stop cars without cause, just because he’s a cop and when he says stop, you stop. Then there’s the decision to go after the car that fails to stop upon command, because everybody knows that a cop in uniform is tough enough to force a 2000+ pound machine to bend to his will.  Add to that the decision to jump onto the hood of that car, because that’s always a sound means of getting someone to comply, and Brockman ends up in an untenable position.

So Brockman, having made a series of bad choices, is forced to make a final choice, and he does by killing Samantha Ramsey.  He created the situation that gave rise to whatever limited threat to his safety existed, and Ramsey paid for his choices with her life.



25 thoughts on “Driver Killed For Cop’s Bad Choice

  1. silence dogood

    What a tragedy – completely agree with the above analysis, but would maybe add the following:

    1. If you are on the hood of a moving car, does shooting the driver increase or decrease the risk to you? What about the risk to others (bystanders, passengers, etc.)? I would argue that shooting the driver increased the risk to literally every party…

    2. Forgetting the indictment/criminal liability – what bothers me almost more is that, after an incident like this, the Sheriff didn’t fire a deputy that couldn’t break up a high school party without killing an unarmed teenage girl. The point is, in any profession you can screw up horribly without criminal behavior, and if you do, you deserve to be punished/fired for that behavior, at the minimum this would seem to be one of those situations, and yet his this deputy’s conduct is tacitly approved by the Sheriff.

  2. Curtis

    Because there was no possibility that, being shot, she could have tensed up, slammed her foot on the pedal, lost control of the vehicle, hit another car, thereby possibly pinning/crushing him between 2 cars.

    It is just amazing the things cops make up, and then people grab their crotches, gyrate their loins in orgasmic adulation… and believe.

    “Well, that makes sense! He’s a cop after all!”

    And if that HAD happened, and she survived. They would have charged her with felony aggravated assault. Because dern-it! She made him jump on the car and shoot her!

    Oh G-d. People just do not think anymore. They are like automatons with the deer in the head-light look.

  3. David M.

    A seven-hour presentation followed by a no true bill. Hm. Must be nice to have Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Crawford around when you gratuitously murder someone.

    1. pml

      Have you given any thought to the fact that maybe, just maybe she did hit him with the car trying to flee because she was drunk and the jump on the hood to keep from getting run over.

      Maybe the Grand Jury got it right

      1. SHG Post author

        I can’t speak for David, but I have. And the physics don’t work. And by the way, I see what you did there. When there is no probable cause for a stop, one doesn’t flee. One exercises one’s right to be left alone. And if you don’t want your body to come into contact with a car, then don’t play chicken with it.

        1. pml

          I guess then we would have to agree to disagree on the Probable cause issue. I think he had probable cause to stop her . Obviously so did the Grand Jury.

          1. SHG Post author

            Whoa. First, if you’re going to assert that you think he had probable cause, then you have to actually come up with something even remotely credible.

            Second: “Obviously so did the Grand Jury.” What orifice did you pull that out of? That wasn’t before the GJ and is utterly asinine.

            1. pml

              “So I shine my light over there and she looks at me. And I noticed, and I remember as plain as day when she looked at me, glassy, watery eyes and was lethargic,”

            2. SHG Post author

              She looked at him “lethargic”? And even so, not probable cause without the old facile standby, “smelled of alcohol.” And notably, nothing on the “obvious” grand jury. #Fail.

      2. Ken Bellone

        Hit him with the car? Even Carl Lewis in his prime would have been unable to run fast enough to get himself in front of that car from his position seen in the dash cam. Did you even bother to watch the video?

  4. bCohn

    Scott, your physics are not entirely correct because people aren’t spheres made of physicsium. Newton’s third law is correct, of course, but since people are tall and thin you’re more accurately providing a torquing force. Depending on how well rooted Brockman was to the ground, how high up he was hit and where his center of mass is, it is possible for his legs to have been pushed away behind him, but for the top of his body to swing forward and land what could be vaguely called on the hood.

    As a practical experiment, have someone run past you when you trip them. They should fall forward. Now get that person to dust themselves off, run past again and clothesline them. They should land on their back. This is fundamentally the same as someone standing getting whacked by a moving object.

    Absolutely none of this means that it was in any way justified to kill Ramsey, but you overstepped your argument a bit.

    1. SHG Post author

      Or if Brockman was a space alien. That would change the physics too. Or we could assume he’s kinda ordinary, as he appears in the video.

    2. Stephen

      Side of the car, no momentum, glancing blow (if any, which is a stretch from the video), no chance he would have been thrown onto the hood. He would have definitely been thrown away from the car if the side of the car hit him.

    3. David K.

      I agree with your physics, but the video seems to preclude this. He couldn’t have been in front, and furthermore the car wasn’t going fast enough.

  5. pml

    Like I said, we will agree to disagree on that point. But Glassy, watery eyes is sufficient for the initial stop to investigate further considering she was coming directly from an underage drinking party.

    1. SHG Post author

      Now it’s an “underage” drinking party? Glassy, watery eyes (and I’ll do you the courtesy of believing it’s true, rather than a manufactured excuse by the guy who killed the woman for no reason), could be signs of many things (i.e., sleepiness, allergies, an emotional experience), not just drinking. And even if drinking, not excessive drinking. But if you are hellbent of manufacturing baseless justifications, whatever.

      And yet again, I note how you’ve now dropped the “lethargy” claim, as that’s too ludicrous even for you. Not that it impacts his credibility to make such a ridiculous claim. After all, a cop said so, so it must be true.

      1. pml

        All I said was I believed that there was probable cause and on that point we would disagree and will continue to disagree. But if you read the documents that were released they lay it out pretty clearly. But I know I won’t change your opinion, just like you won’t change mine.

        Did he have to shoot her, I can’t say, but the Grand Jury obviously thought he was justified.

        On that note, I will quit writing on this.

        1. Roger

          “Did he have to shoot her, I can’t say”

          The language you choose shows your bias. Reasonable people can disagree as to whether this shooting was justified. I think not, but I get the argument to the contrary. But if it’s not clear to you that he didn’t HAVE to shoot her, you’re looking at things from a dangerously skewed perspective.

          1. pml

            And how is my prospective skewed. I said I can’t say if he had to or not because I didn’t hear all the evidence. Perhaps you should read his statement why he shot her.

            1. SHG Post author

              Shifting the burden of explaining to your adversary, by telling him to read something else, is weaksauce. If there is a reason, give it. If not, you lose.

              But more to the point of your perspective, Roger raised the “justified v. avoidable” issue, which sailed over your head. There is no question that he didn’t “have to” kill her, even if he was legally justified in doing so. Therein lies your skewed perspective, and your inability to grasp your prejudice is, sadly, inherent in the nature of prejudice.

Comments are closed.