Alexander, AR — After George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, protests encompassed the United States. During this time, the president himself promised to begin extrajudicially executing those who were suspected of looting. “The looting starts, the shooting starts,” Donald Trump promised. These comments seemingly empowered the police state to begin similar pushes with one cop going so far as to threaten to shoot peaceful protesters who showed up to his home — through the door.
On June 3, Alexander police officer Calvin Salyers, 33, shot and killed his colleague, officer Scott Hutton. He did so through the front door of his own home, just like he’d promised to do a few days earlier.
Alexander Training Sgt. Matt Wharton told investigators that just after the “riots in Minneapolis,” Salyers told him that he would “shoot through the door” if any protesters showed up at his home, according to a court document narrative from state police Special Agent Ryan Jacks, Arkansas Online reported.
According to the documents, Wharton said he reprimanded Salyers and told him that shooting through the door would be “reckless and negligent” and that officers could not shoot anyone without first identifying the person as a threat.
Salyers did not take this advice seriously.
When officer Hutton showed up at Salyers’ residence on June 3, just after 7 p.m., he was there to retrieve a patrol car. However, a frightened Salyers claimed he saw a dark figure with a firearm through the peephole and opened fire instead of answering the door — just as he promised to do days before.
Salyers told investigators he transferred his weapon to his other hand and reached for the door handle, accidentally firing a shot through the door and hitting Hutton in the chest, according to state police Special Agent Ryan Jacks.
For over a month, Salyers likely though police bought this explanation, all the while an independent investigation was taking place in the background.
“There was a complete investigative file,” Saline County prosecutor’s office spokesman, Bill Sadler said. “Everybody who was present was questioned. Everybody who may have had any knowledge that led up to that one hour before, two hours before, this officer went to that residence.”
During the investigation, officials found that Salyers had expressed his desire to shoot protesters through his door and this was used to help obtain the arrest warrant.
“I was actually the lead on the internal investigation, and that was part of my investigation was digging into those statements that were made,” Alexander police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica Burnett said.
The accidental shooting while changing hands appears to be a falsehood as well. According to the forensics investigation, the powder residue indicated that Salyers fired the gun as he pressed it up against the door.
Burnett said the idea that Salyers accidentally fired a round while switching hands is unlikely given the amount of time police officers spend training on how to handle their firearm.
“We qualify easily twice a year,” Burnett said in regard to firearms training. “Pretty much any extra training that the officers want, they’re able to go to. We don’t turn down for any training.”
Once the facts of the case were determined, Salyers was charged with manslaughter. This charge is not nearly as serious as a murder charge, but definitely more than we’d expect for a police officer.
According to the Arkansas State Code, someone commits manslaughter if the person “recklessly causes the death of another person.”
Though Salyers acted recklessly, he also allegedly did so with the intent to kill by pressing the gun to the door and firing. This manslaughter charge should be murder instead.
“Ultimately it’s the prosecuting attorney that makes that decision — what elements of this investigation spell manslaughter,” Sadler said.
Tragically, officer Hutton was killed by one of his own and now the family of Hutton will watch the blue privilege unfold along the way. Indeed, with the manslaughter charge, they already have.
What this instance also exemplifies is the trigger happy tendency of police officers.
Salyers had no problem expressing his interest on killing entirely innocent people who walk up to his home. Unfortunately, he followed through with his intent and now an innocent man is dead.
This example has played out many times before. In fact, earlier this year, we pointed out how every cop killed in 2019 from the NYPD died at the hands of a fellow cop. If this doesn’t show you there is a problem with police violence, nothing will.