Tags: birmingham | alabama | officer | shoot | avoid | backlash | us

'Pistol-Whipped' Officer Didn't Shoot Attacker to Avoid Backlash

By    |   Friday, 14 Aug 2015 06:57 PM

A police detective in Birmingham, Alabama, who was pistol-whipped until he became unconscious, says that he didn't use deadly force to defend himself because he feared the media backlash for killing an unarmed man.

"A lot of officers are being too cautious because of what's going on in the media," the officer, who wanted to remain anonymous, told CNN. "I hesitated because I didn't want to be in the media like I am right now."

Police Chief A.C. Roper told CNN that the detective was on his way to interview someone who had witnessed a robbery last Friday, when he saw a car with at least two people in it driving erratically on the interstate.

"He calls for backup and tells the man to stay in the car, but he didn't," Heath Boackle, a sergeant with the Birmingham Police Department and president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police, told CNN.

The alleged suspect, Janard Cunningham, got out of the car and aggressively approached the detective, asking why he was pulled over. The detective did consider using force at that point but decided against it when he was hit by Cunningham.

"The last thing the officer remembers is getting sucker-punched in a parking lot. The next thing, he's waking up in a hospital bed with staples in his head," the police chief added.

It is still unclear exactly how the suspect managed to get the officer's weapon.

Cunningham has been charged with "pistol whipping" the detective, using the officer's own firearm. While the detective did suffer several lacerations to the head, he is expected to make a full recovery.

However, the Birmingham officer made it clear that he chose not to shoot his attacker because of the outcry in the country over recent police shootings.

"We don't want to be in the media," he said. "It's hard times right now for us."

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A police detective in Birmingham, Alabama, who was pistol-whipped until he became unconscious, says that he didn't use deadly force to defend himself because he feared the media backlash for killing an unarmed man.
birmingham, alabama, officer, shoot, avoid, backlash, us
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2015-57-14
Friday, 14 Aug 2015 06:57 PM
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