Policy Change Could Have Placed Slain Officer At Risk

Policy Change Could Have Placed Slain Officer At Risk

A policeman who was shot and killed while chasing a 17-year-old through the streets of Greenville, South Carolina, may have fallen victim to his own department’s politically correct policy that requires officers to keep their guns holstered, except in the most dire of circumstances.

According to the Greenville Police Department’s force policy, an officer is prohibited from using lethal force against those “believed to be unarmed or are not presenting an imminent threat to human life or serious bodily harm unless immediately apprehended — whether or not they are fleeing from police.”

The policy was made public in a story about the killing of Allen Jacobs, 28, a decorated Iraq war vet and a four-year veteran of the Greenville Police Department, published in the Greenville News.

On March 18, Jacobs and his partner stopped a suspect known to the officer as a self-identified gang member, Deontea Mackey, to question him about a weapon he was alleged to have been trying to acquire. Mackey, 17, turned and ran with Jacobs in pursuit on foot.

The teen reportedly shot and killed Jacobs during the chase.

Police said Mackey then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide

Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said shortly after the shooting that Jacobs never even fired at Mackey – that Jacobs’ gun was still holstered when emergency responders found him and took him to the hospital, where he later died of multiple gunshot wounds, the newspaper reported.

As Greenville News reported, paraphrasing Miller: “Jacobs had no idea Mackey had already obtained that weapon when he chased after the teen on foot. To Jacobs, Mackey was an unarmed 17-year-old.”

The deadly encounter wasn’t the first time Jacobs and Mackey crossed paths. The officer arrested the teen a year earlier on a strong-arm robbery charge, according to police reports obtained by the newspaper.

According to other officers on scene, Mackey was “irate and began yelling he would not go to jail,” when Jacobs handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.

In his own half-page report, Jacobs said he asked Mackey if he belonged to any street gangs.

“I asked him which gang he was a member of, and he quickly replied, ‘blood in blood out,’ to inform me that he was indeed a blood-affiliated gang member,” Jacobs said.

Mackey, who pleaded guilty in February to the robbery, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head as law enforcement closed in on him, the news outlet reported.

Mackey, who wasn’t in prison at the time of shooting because he had been given at 10-year sentence suspended to 251 days time served, wasn’t allowed to possess a weapon, according to court records.

Circuit Court Judge Robin Stilwell, who sentenced Mackey to the suspended sentence for robbery, released a statement of condolences to the family of Jacobs, but stood by his February determination.

“It appears, given the specific facts and circumstances of the case, the defendant’s age and lack of any admissible adult record, and the input of the victim, that the state and the defense were in agreement with a proposed sentence for consideration by the court,” he said, Fox Carolina reported. “The court agreed with the parties’ analysis of the case and sentenced the defendant accordingly.”

Jacobs, the son of two Bob Jones University professors, leaves two sons, ages 5 and 6, and a pregnant wife, Meghan. They were expecting a daughter in July.

 

 

About The Author

mm

Law Officer is the only major law enforcement publication and website owned and operated by law enforcement. This unique facet makes Law Officer much more than just a publishing company but is a true advocate for the profession.

42 Comments

  1. Nettie

    You can always tell an expert! Thanks for cotriibuntng.

  2. LD Ford

    Bull ___ This is an absolute insult to all law enforcement–white or black–you definitely need an attitude adjustment Gene!

    • GENE

      Listen!!.. Nationwide there has been incident, after incident, after incident, after incident, after incident, after incident of police officers shooting and MURDERING American citizens who were NOT posing any deadly threat to the shooting officer, and many of those killed were UNARMED.. Some people have been shot as many as 16 TIMES.. That’s not self-defense — that’s an EXECUTION.. There’s some who’ve been shot in the back and killed while running away, and some who’ve been HANDCUFFED, lying face down on the ground, and were then shot in the back and KILLED while handcuffed!

      Police themselves are to OBEY the law — and the law is NOT; “If you don’t obey me I get to shoot you in your head and kill you even if I’m not facing a deadly threat from you”.
      Police authority is LIMITED authority, not absolute authority like what you’re advocating.

      The Police Chief is doing exactly what he should be doing, which includes stopping police officers from being vigilantes.. It is NOT police officer’s job to be judge, jury, and executioner.. That is NOT what they’re being paid to do.

      Police officers are NOT to be playing GOD. Those who do will be criminally charged and go to jail. And rightly so.
      ALL life is precious!!.. Police do NOT have a license to murder!
      .

  3. Ron Sizemore

    I’m a retired Greensboro, NC police Sgt. My son is now a Greensboro, NC police officer. I have met and talked with Ken Miller when he became the Chief here before he went to Greenville. I retired shortly thereafter and heard the stories of what a poor job he did. We are alumni from the same university. I was uninspired and unimpressed by the conversation and at the time knew right away what he was about. Being politically correct and making the local city politicians happy. That’s what so many police executives do these days, it’s all about getting the next job. These are people who have minimal street experience and avoided it at all cost early in their careers, Miller in Charlotte, NC. A panel of officer during the hiring process recommended he not be hired in fact. We will never know what was going through this officers mind before he was killed. I can only hope Mr. Miller thinks long and hard about what he is doing. Maybe it’s time for him to hang it up. In my mind this may be the most difficult time to police in the history of this nation and you can’t do it by being PC.

  4. GENE

    I’ll say this too; I believe that if this new policy had been in effect, Zachary Hammond would be alive today.. I mean, you just don’t shoot someone in the head and kill them because they’re trying to drive away.

    • Brian

      Well Gene why don’t you strap up, get a badge on and get your know it all attitude on the street. You “seem” to know everything about what law enforcement should and should not be doing. I bet if the officer would have shot the guy at the beginning of the deal then he would still be here too…. I say that because it’s saying the same basic thing you said in your last comment. The situations are not compatible. Hammond shouldn’t have been shot that’s goes without saying. So you have identified and Officer that shouldn’t be in the feild… congrats to you. In every feild of work there are people that shouldn’t be in the position they hold. There’s doctors that shouldn’t be docs, soldiers that shouldn’t be soldiers and accountants that shouldn’t be accountants. But just because one or two docs kills a couple patients because he or she isn’t doing their job correctly doesn’t mean we hold all doctors accountable for the ones actions. But people like you sure hold all officers accountable for that one. You support restrictions on all officers because of that one or two. This huge movement started in Ferguson on a lie. Now anytime there is a police shooting people like you try and defend the criminals that put themselves in the position with law enforcement.

      • GENE

        Listen!!.. Nationwide there has been incident, after incident, after incident, after incident, after incident, after incident of police officers shooting and MURDERING American citizens who were NOT posing any deadly threat to the shooting officer, and many of those killed were UNARMED.. Some people have been shot as many as 16 TIMES.. That’s not self-defense — that’s an EXECUTION.. There’s some who’ve been shot in the back and killed while running away, and some who’ve been HANDCUFFED, lying face down on the ground, and were then shot in the back and KILLED while handcuffed!

        Police themselves are to OBEY the law — and the law is NOT; “If you don’t obey me I get to shoot you in your head and kill you even if I’m not facing a deadly threat from you”.
        Police authority is LIMITED authority, not absolute authority like what you’re advocating.

        The Police Chief is doing exactly what he should be doing, namely, stopping police officers from being vigilantes.. It is NOT police officer’s job to be judge, jury, and executioner.. That is NOT what they’re being paid to do.

        Police officers are NOT to be playing GOD. Those who do will be criminally charged and go to jail. And rightly so.
        ALL life is precious!!.. Police do NOT have a license to murder!
        .
        .
        .

    • Steve

      Regardless of policy had Zachary Hammond stopped when directed by police he would have been alive today. He was the author of his own destiny.

      • GENE

        Police themselves are to OBEY the law — and the law is NOT; “If you don’t obey me I get to shoot you in your head and kill you even if I’m not facing a deadly threat from you”.
        Police authority is LIMITED authority, not absolute authority like what you’re advocating.

        The Police Chief is doing exactly what he should be doing, namely, stopping police officers from being vigilantes… It is NOT police officers job to be judge, jury, and executioner.. That is NOT what they’re being paid to do.

        Police officers are NOT to be playing GOD.
        .

    • Loren

      For the love of God, keep writing these areslcti.

  5. Duffy

    Just remember that BLM……………….. Police are afraid to do anything even when chasing or facing thug hoodrats. Too bad the wrong person is being buried.

  6. GENE

    Any police officer in America can make a routine traffic stop at anytime and possibly get shot and killed.. If that happens next week, will that also be blamed on the new policy?

    • Kristanna

      At last! Someone with real extripese gives us the answer. Thanks!

  7. GENE

    The new policy of de-escalation does NOT say a cop cannot defend himself if there’s a deadly threat.. Officer Jacobs was NOT chasing a person who had a gun drawn, thus, no deadly threat. The deadly threat was not known by Jacobs until he rounded a corner and was then shot.
    Regardless, a cop can NOT roll up on everyone with his gun drawn!.. If he thinks he should, he doesn’t need to be a cop!

    Despite this particular tragedy, the new policy of de-escalation will save lives.. This less white cops are murdering unarmed BLACK men, the more respect they will gain in the black communities. And there will be less fear when white cops approach black men, fear that causing some to believe they must RUN from white police officers or be killed by them.

    Also, WHITE cops should NOT be patrolling black communities because it only gives the impression of white people trying to LORD their white authority over BLACK people.
    If white cops do patrol black communities, they should be paired with a BLACK officer.
    .

    • mm

      Gene,
      We lost you in the last paragraph. That is an insulting statement to black and white cops.

      • GENE

        I honestly don’t understand what’s “insulting” about what I said… If you think I’m speaking about officer Jacobs, I’m not. He should not have been killed.

        Yet, black people, as well as all of America, have seen incident after incident after incident of WHITE cops gunning down BLACK men in this country, many of whom are unarmed, and some shot as many as 16 TIMES by WHITE police officers.

        And I’m sure you, like most black people, have seen the video, here in SC, of Walter Scott being shot in the back and killed by the white cop Michael Slager.

        So yes, paired white cops should NOT be patrolling black communities. If white cops do patrol black communities, they should be paired with a BLACK officer. This will help create trust, calm the tensions and fears, and promote a better relationship between the black community and police because it removes the “white cops against black people” perception that’s been created nationwide.

        Think about it: If BLACK cops were coming into your white communities and gunning down unarmed WHITE men, again and again, what do you think your reaction to that would be? How would white people then feel towards BLACK cops?

  8. Angel

    The POS should be under the jail , key thrown away, Maybe find him a big ole Blood so he can be someone’s lil B!+#& for the rest of his days! Death penalty would be too easy and too good for him. He deserves to suffer….A LONG LONG TIME…….

  9. Jerry Morrison

    It is time the judiciary is held accountable for their lack of action. Sue the judge.

  10. Riggs

    Way to go Greenville PD. You have successfully killed a true hero. Maybe you guys will be eager to change another policy to go with the tending times. That was said in complete sarcasm.

    Honestly I have been in law enforcement for 13 years and find it despicable to change a policy for political correctness. The public is going to make law enforcement out to be the bad guy at the end of the day whether it is a positive or negative situation.

    In other words, we need to look out for ourselves and pull together instead of being politically correct. Most of this political correct bullsh*t is a lie anyway.

    • Lee

      If you truly are a law enforcement officer with that line of thinking you should quit because you are what’s wrong with America

    • Jayce

      Thought it won’dult to give it a shot. I was right.

  11. Dave (SGT RETIRED) Davis

    I believe they should have a dept.meeting and rethink that policy because it is unsafe for their officers.

  12. Ken Miller, Chief of Police, Greenville, South Carolina

    I want you to be aware that there are parts of your story that arefactually incorrect and, therefore, your assumptions of our policy are incorrect.

    The Department’s use-of-force policy does not prevent an officer from drawing his or her firearm when a situation is unfolding. The policy addresses and comports to the standard of the law, which is that one cannot use deadly force without a deadly threat. None of that is new in this policy revision or in similar policies all across this nation. The portion you attribute to is guided policy is plagiarized from an inaccurate Greenville News Article dated March 24th.

    Through our training and experiences, our officers know that running full-bore with a firearm in hand is very dangerous for them. It is discouraged as a safety and practical matter in almost every agency nationwide, to promote officer safety. However, there are always times where a situation may dictate the need to run with a firearm drawn. The policy provides that flexibility because it is silent on the topic.

    In addition, policies in our department are developed with the operational work in mind. Half of the Policy Management Group that revises policies are non-ranking officers. That design ensures that we do not ignore an operational need or concern. They reviewed this policy and others, and virtually every suggestion they made was incorporated into this revision. The policy is sensible and our employees embrace it.

    The thrust of the story seems to suggest that the reason Officer Jacobs’ firearm was not drawn was the revision in our use of force policy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • mm

      Thank you Chief for your response here. We will be glad to print your response to this article or just a general article of your choosing. We have grave concerns on what PERF and others are putting out to law enforcement. There are suggestions to modify the use of force policy in a more restrictive manner than Graham V Connor and we do not like the tone much of it is taking. Here is our latest editorial on the issue – http://lawofficer.wpengine.com/2016/03/12/lapd-reform-the-beginning-of-the-end/

      Our prayers are with you, your agency and your community during this difficult time.

    • Rick

      Congratulations, Ken Miller – you sorry excuse for a lawman. Your politically correct polices just got one of your men KILLED! R.I.P., Officer Allen Lee Jacobs; too bad your Chief is more worried about the safety of street thugs and politics than the lives of the Officers under his command. As for you, Miller – Jacobs’ children, widow, and everyone who is devastated by his murder have YOU to thank for it. You should immediately resign, then spend the rest of your miserable life trying to make it up to Officer Jacobs’ children and family. Go, get a job and give the majority of whatever you earn to that poor family. You don’t deserve to have anything good happen for you the rest of your days. But you won’t do that, because that’s what a MAN would do. A man would never have instituted such an idiotic policy as you. A man would stand with his Officers and defend their rights to defend themselves first and foremost. No, you are the type who “feels” he’s always right and will try to justify what you did. No, you won’t do the right thing. But, at the very least, you should rescind your stupid policy that resulted in this good man’s death and try standing WITH your Officers for a change. Maybe some good can come from the results of what you did. It would be better for everyone in that City if you would leave. May the memory of Officer Jacobs haunt you forever.

    • GENE

      Thank you Chief Miller for making these necessary clarifications to your police force so that we don’t have police officers believing it’s their duty to be judge, jury, and executioner.
      Nationwide, including in SC, we’ve seen far too many incidents of citizens being shot and killed, including Walter Scott and Zachary Hammon, when there was no deadly threat being posed to the police officer.
      Though the recent incident involving officer Jacobs was tragic, it has nothing to do with this policy concerning when the use of deadly force is justified.

      Yes, police work can be dangerous work, but nothing justifies shooting and killing citizens who are not posing a deadly threat to an officer, nor should police officers believe they have the right or legal authority to do that… Any officer who believes he should have the right to kill someone who’s not posing a deadly threat to him, should resign.

      Again, thank you Chief Miller for your leadership and for your sensible handling of this critical issue which has increasingly become a national problem.

      God Bless.
      .

  13. Steve

    It appears this is a standard SOP from the IACP model. I think he would have been justified drawing his weapon due to the nature of the call. If his Chief is that asinine to apply that SOP so narrowly that it is an issue then he needs to turn his badge in because that is where the problem and blame lies.

    • Robert

      Unfortunately, this officer now lies dead, and does not have the option to simply turn in his badge and walk away. I speak from experience, on the job for 28 years, and currently dealing with a megalomaniac, politically correct Chief of Police and his ridiculous policies. It’s not so easy to walk away with a family to care for, and retirement credit.

    • GENE

      Nationwide, including in SC, we’ve seen far too many incidents of citizens being shot and killed, including Walter Scott and Zachary Hammon, when there was no deadly threat posed to the police officer.
      Though the recent incident involving officer Jacobs was tragic, it has nothing to do with this policy concerning when the use of deadly force is justified.

      Yes, police work can be dangerous work, but nothing justifies shooting and killing citizens who are not posing a deadly threat to an officer, nor should police officers believe they have the right and legal authority to do that… Any officer who believes he should have the right to kill someone who’s not posing a deadly threat to him, should resign.

      • Brian

        Why don’t you do everyone here a favor and join Obama in another country. Where your liberal views are wanted. Law enforcement officers don’t go to work everyday thinking about the people they can kill that day. It’s people like you that get officers killed all the time. This policy most definitely led up to Jacobs being slain and does nothing but protect the criminals. Me going home to my family at the end of the day is all the justification I need. For some reason a percentage of the population believes they are entitled to take whatever they want regardless of who owns it and Officers have to deal with these people on a daily basis. So instead of handling the trash, like the one who shot Jacobs you would rather tie and Officers hands and keep the criminals. Smh… People like you want the officers out of the 90’s movie, Demolition Man.

        • GENE

          Chief Miller’s policy has absolutely NOTHING to do with the death of officer Jacobs.. A police officer can get killed just sitting in his car.. A police officer can get killed just making a routine traffic stop.. Police work can be dangerous work, PERIOD!.. But as a cop, you do NOT get to go around shooting and killing people who are NOT posing a deadly threat to you!. That should be common sense to you.

          Yes, officer Jacob’s death was tragic. But as I said, police work can be dangerous work, PERIOD!..There is NOTHING in Chief Miller’s policy that says an officer can not defend himself if facing a deadly threat.. Officer Jacobs was simply caught off guard.

          It is NOT your job to “handle this trash”… It is NOT police officer’s job to be judge, jury, and executioner.. That is NOT what you’re being paid to do. You are NOT the criminal justice system.

          The Police Chief is doing exactly what he should be doing, namely, stopping police officers from being vigilantes — which seems to have become a nationwide problem!

          Any officer who believes he should have the right to MURDER someone who’s not posing a deadly threat to him, should resign.

          All officers will be required to wear body cameras.. And if you are going to be murdering people (“handling this trash”) who are not posing a deadly threat to you, you are going to be criminally charged and SENT TO PRISON, and rightly so, because that’s being a murderous THUG with a badge!

          If you can’t be a cop who goes BY THE LAW, resign! You can’t use the line of “wanting to go home to your family at the end of the day”, to justify murdering people who aren’t posing a deadly threat to you — “handling the trash”, as you call it.

          Police officers are NOT to be playing GOD.
          .

  14. Peggy Hanson Higgins

    This politically correct policy needs to be put in the trash ASAP! Enough already! The only people protected with this policy are the bad guys.
    Stop tying law enforcement hands when they’re trying to do their jobs and protect the community!

  15. Tom Tindal

    The policy is somewhat confusing, but without knowing exactly what happened when they confronted each other, I find it hard to say that the policy had any bearing on the outcome.

  16. Audrey

    The officer’s family should sue the department. It won’t bring him back but may save another officer’s life in the future.

    • Lynell

      An inntlligeet point of view, well expressed! Thanks!

  17. WMartel

    Better to be judged by 12, then carried by six.

  18. KW Moreland

    If this policy is true, this requires a lawsuit from his family against his agency of EPIC proportions.

  19. BigAl

    This isn’t the first time this happen. I remember years back the same type of policy cause the life of an Officer. If the person is running away to holster your weapon. Sad day

  20. Pieter

    The police should all bevsick for one day. From floor to top. Believe me than the public shal see where the problem lies.

    • Monkey

      If you want to get read, this is how you shuold write.

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