July 12, 2014
Jason Shuck, a Springfield, Missouri, police officer is being charged with only a misdemeanor after shooting a fleeing pan handler in the back on May 9th, which means he may be eligible to return to the force after his paid leave.
His victim, Eric Butts, has been diagnosed with mental illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and was unarmed and fleeing when the officer shot him.
Butts was seriously injured and kept in the hospital for a week. He now has 31 staples in his stomach and must use a colostomy bag.
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The officer claims he meant to use his taser, but just had a little oopsie when he pulled out his gun and fired on the unarmed man.
"I'm sorry Butts, I thought I reached for my taser... I didn't know that I reached for my gun, I thought I had my taser." he told his victim on the scene, according to the probable cause report.
Shuck also told a fellow officer, "I meant to pull my taser, but pulled my gun", the report shows.
"The evidence in this case did not show a 'conscious disregard' of the risk but rather a 'failure to be aware' of the risk — the standard for criminal negligence and thus the class A misdemeanor of assault in the third degree," according to the prosecuting attorney Dan Patterson, while explaining why he is being charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony.
If you can't tell the difference between a TASER and a GUN, you probably shouldn't be allowed to use either.