A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: police kill college football player

Naked, Former College Football Player Killed by Police

[Picture] Reggie Doucet Jr

By Paul Irlando

At 3:30 a.m. on January 14, after a long night of drinking and partying at a number of Hollywood, California clubs, Reginald Doucet, Jr., a 25-year-old former college football player at Middle Tennessee State University, and current personal trainer and part-time model, took a taxi to his apartment in Playa Vista, California.  What happened next is as strange as it is tragic.

The taxi driver told police that after he drove his fare, Mr. Doucet, to his destination, Mr. Doucet informed him that he had no money to pay for his ride.  An argument ensued and Mr. Doucet proceeded to remove all of his clothes.  Naked, Mr. Doucet then started jumping up and down on nearby cars and yelling; the driver and neighbors, alarmed by the disturbance, called the police.  Two officers arrived on the scene, one of whom, the eventual shooter, had only been on the force for 17 months.  They attempted to calm Mr. Doucet down and were able to get him to put his undergarments back on.  The trio ended up in an alcove near the entrance to Mr. Doucet’s apartment where Mr. Doucet allegedly attacked both officers and reached for one of their guns.  That’s when he was shot twice.  Both officers on the scene were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.  Mr. Doucet died from his wounds.

The LA Weekly and various other news outlets (see here and here) did an excellent job reporting the bizarre facts surrounding the shooting, but didn’t discuss the legal standard used for determining whether the incident was justifiable homicide, or whether Mr. Doucet’s family has a potential claim against the LAPD for wrongful death – a claim often brought after such shootings.  We’ve done some research on California’s justifiable homicide law; here’s what we think: (more…)

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