As Police Tactics Questioned, 'Threat of Terrorism' and 9/11 used to justify Miriam Carey's Death

Two sisters of 34-year-old dental hygienist Miriam Carey appeared on Anderson Cooper's CNN 360 program Friday night, discussing the tragic shooting death of their sister.

"Regardless of the reason that she was there, her life shouldn't have ended there," said Valarie Carey, a former NYPD Sergeant. When asked "Do you have questions about the reaction by law enforcement?," Carey added "Well, that's something that has to be looked into further. This is the reason why the family is here. We're here for answers in D.C." Days before the CNN interview, Carey had tweeted comments about her sister's death.

Cooper asked Amy Carey-Jones if she had "questions about those final minutes and how police responded?" to which she replied "We have a lot of questions. I'm sure, as a lot of viewers when you read the information you see what the media is reporting, it just doesn't add up. And personally, I feel that, you know, as professionals, there has to be another way instead of shooting and killing an individual. I do feel that there could have been something else that could have been done." [The entire transcript can be found here.]

Family attorney Eric Sanders, who had posted updates via facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, told CNN "We want to know if protocols were followed" and that "We are interested in finding out what happened. ...We are going to conduct our investigation, and we are not going to go with just what the government said." Sanders made news in 2009 when he represented a NYPD cop who was racially profiled. [Amy Carey-Jones discusses Miriam Carey's postpartum depression here.] [CNN transcripts.] On their main page Saturday, CNN ran the sub-headline Woman killed in D.C. had quit meds, implying that that led to her death, when in reality the vast majority of violent shootings which occur are perpetrated by people on SSRI anti-depressants.

D.C. Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier affirmed that police 'acted within commonly accepted use-of-force policies and practices in reaction to an intentional series of violent acts.' [Latest press relases from the department can be found here.]

Meanwhile, CNN is running a flurry of articles justifying the shooting. Most disturbing is the fact that they use the pretext of 'heightened terrorist threats' to justify more lax standards for use of deadly force.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, a former Police Chief, police academy director, and criminal justice professor, who proudly displays a photo of himself with George H.W. Bush autographed by Bush on his website, wrote an op-ed for CNN in which he wrote, in part,

"...Departmental policies and police training in the United States reflect the "objective reasonableness" principle put forth in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 Graham v. Connor decision, which applies a three-part test to assess the seriousness of the offense, the suspect threat, and the suspect's resistance or evasiveness... Pending the final facts, it appears that all three prongs of the "objective reasonableness" standard were present."

In their article ' No clarity on whether Capitol Hill shooting was justified', CNN 'law enforcement' experts Maki Haberfeld, Mike Brooks and Tom Fuentes all joined the chorus proclaiming that the threat of terrorism justified the killing of the 34 year old dental hygenist.

"...But if the shooting occurred after the car stopped and if Carey had gotten out, as some accounts unconfirmed by CNN have suggested, that changes things, he said. "If she did not turn on them like she was going for a gun, something to at that point say the threat is ongoing and immediate and imminent, then maybe the police should have taken a breath, waited," O'Mara said. They would have quickly determined that she posed no threat, he said.

What if police fear a terrorist bomber? But Maki Haberfeld, chairwoman of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said police would have had no way of knowing whether Carey posed a threat as she got out of the car, and therefore the shooting was justified.
"We live in times of heightened alert as far as terrorist activities are concerned," she said. "The fact that she was not displaying a gun doesn't mean anything, because bombers don't necessarily display anything. They have the explosives around their waist, usually.
"It's a matter of a split-second decision that the police officer needs to take before someone explodes himself. It's all about the larger context. They just push the button, or it could be activated from a remote location."

CNN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks said the police had no choice but to shoot. "You don't know if she has a bomb," he said. "You don't know if it's a terrorist attack. The officers just don't know." "...Fuentes said officers had to consider whether the woman had explosives in her car: "Is she just looking for a large gathering of people that she can drive up close to them and explode a bomb?" "...Rules have changed since 9/11
After the September 11 attacks, police chiefs reconsidered whether the usual rules of using lethal force were sufficient to deal with people who might detonate a bomb when confronted by police. The U.S. Capitol Police adopted a suicide bomber policy in 2004. Then-chief Terrance W. Gainer told The Washington Post in 2005 that Capitol officers were trained to shoot a suspected bomber who refused to stop and be searched. The Capitol Police public affairs office could not be reached Friday night to confirm whether that policy remains in place.
...The International Association of Chiefs of Police issued guidelines for coping with suicide bombers in 2005, including a recommendation that officers need not wait until the threat is imminent before using deadly force. ...Anti-terrorism policies often allow officers to fire without warning a suspect to surrender because a warning might simply alert the bomber to detonate."

Miriam Carey's sister Valarie and family held a press conference in Brooklyn Friday night Oct. 4th in which she noted her sister was unarmed. She stated, in part,

"Regardless of why she was in our nations capitol, as a citizen she has that right.... I'm not finished. And as a citizen she has that right. And my sister could have been any woman or any person travelling in our capitol. Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse and didn't have to be. And you have to ask yourselves as Americans is it okay for that to happen because it can happen to you. And if we are ok with that then I feel sorry for all of us."

Meanwhile, it has been discovered that D.C. cops were running a drill called 'Capital Shield 14' on the same day as the Capitol shooting. also reports "A video shows members of Congress giving a standing ovation to Capitol police for executing an unarmed mother with a baby who was brutally gunned down after driving erratically at a checkpoint near the White House." After the shooting, the FBI cordoned Off an entire neighborhood to search the executed driver’s condo for anti-government material.

This article was first published on

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