We at TFTP hear it all the time from the apologists. “There’s always at least one bad apple in every bunch,” they tell us. But when the system fails, which is supposed to weed out the bad apples, the entire police department is corrupted. Such is the case in the shooting death of an unarmed 26-year-old, Daniel Fuller, according to Fuller’s family and Detective Brandon Potts own service record.
On July 5th, multiple members of the community called 911 to report a man who was going from trailer to trailer, attempting to break into homes. When police officers arrived, Fuller ran, eventually found hiding in grass near the train tracks. Police say Fuller did not immediately surrender and was resisting arrest when Potts was forced to shoot and kill the young man. He was unarmed and his family says he was trying to surrender when the detective pistol-whipped him and shot him in the back of the head.
As TFTP has consistently reported, officers who wish to teach a suspect a lesson will in unison begin yelling “stop resisting”. After doing so, the officers will often times beat a suspect, attempt to break bones or joints, and rough them up, all done under the guise that the perpetrator is “resisting arrest”.
Because the officers are yelling “stop resisting”, bystanders also conclude a suspect is resisting and therefore somehow deserves the beat down they’re receiving. But it’s a carefully orchestrated psychological tactic designed to escalate the use of force, seemingly allowing the officer(s) to take out their own frustrations and anger onto suspects.
Potts reportedly admitted to pistol-whipping Fuller and shooting him, an action which led to his death. He has been placed on administrative leave—a paid vacation—while the North Dakota Bureau of Investigations conducts their own investigation into Fuller’s death. More often than not, such investigations conclude the officer did nothing wrong, and therefore murder charges are not brought against them.
Following an in-depth investigation into Potts’ career by a local television station, many interesting facts about his work history have emerged. While Potts is a decorated Marine (who once served inside the White House), his work history is a mixture of commendations and serious disciplinary actions. Potts has been known to miss work shifts, leave his police cruiser trashed by chewing tobacco, does not answer his police-issued cell phone when others attempt to call him, and has actually been kicked out of training programs for being drunk and disorderly.
Most recently, Potts was suspended without pay for one day last summer for destroying a door at a home while serving a search warrant (while) the homeowner was in jail…In 2013, Potts was suspended for three days without pay after he was kicked out of a training course in Bismarck. Potts admitted to drinking alcohol at a bar with his body armor on and was armed with his department handgun. Other officers claimed he was drunk and was pretending to be a member of the North Dakota BCI. Potts was also disciplined because he wore a muscle shirt – shorts and flip flops to training. And when he was given the boot–left his handgun in his dorm room.
Because the investigation into the shooting death of Fuller is still ongoing, no conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not the young man’s death was a murder or a so-called “justifiable homicide”. But it may be safe to conclude if Devils Lake Police Department had fired their detective for being drunk and in uniform, or for leaving his firearm unsecured, or for losing his temper so bad that he smashed in a door, Fuller may very well still be alive. Resisting arrest or running from the police should never be a death sentence carried out by law enforcement.
Potts is considered a martial arts expert, a weapons expert, a member of the SWAT team and is a decorated detective. His paid administrative leave could last months, even years. He will be allowed to return to active duty if and when the investigation clears him of all wrong-doing in the execution style shooting death of an unarmed 26-year-old.