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Rutland Police Officer Justified In Use Of Deadly Force

CONTACT: Matthew I. Levine, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5517

June 11, 2010

Rutland County State’s Attorney Marc Brierre and Attorney General William Sorrell announced today that they have completed independent separate reviews of the police-shooting incident that occurred on November 8, 2009, in Rutland, Vermont. Both offices have concluded, as a matter of law, that Rutland City Police Officer Earl “Frank” Post was legally justified in the use of deadly force when he discharged his firearm at Tyshawn Plowden. The legal standard for the use of deadly force is whether the officer reasonably believed that he or a third party was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, and that deadly force was necessary to respond to that threat.

The incident took place on November 8, 2009, in Rutland, Vermont. Officer Post was dispatched to back-up another officer who was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. Rutland City Police officer Cpl. Andrew Todd arrived first and stopped the suspect vehicle, which contained a driver and three passengers. Officer Post arrived shortly after the stop and took up a position at the passenger side rear of the vehicle to watch the passengers while Cpl. Todd spoke to the driver. Officer Post noticed that a male passenger in the back seat had a handgun. He alerted Cpl. Todd to the presence of the gun, and they both drew their weapons and ordered the passenger (later identified as Tyshawn Plowden) to get out of the car and put his hands in the air. Plowden initially complied, but after getting out of the car and momentarily putting up his hands, he took off. Post, a canine officer, let his dog out of his cruiser and he and the dog pursued Plowden. During the brief pursuit Plowden fired one shot at Post, who returned fire, also with one shot. No one was injured, and Plowden managed to escape. Plowden was later apprehended by other officers, and charged with Aggravated Assault based on his conduct. He is being prosecuted by the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Under the facts of this case, the Rutland County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General’s Office concluded that Officer Post was reasonable in his belief that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury when he fired at Tyshawn Plowden who had just fired a shot at him, while fleeing from police. Given the serious threat, Officer Post’s response of using deadly force was reasonable and justified.

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