Phenix City, AL - When the entire dash cam footage was released, showing officer Allan Brown firing eleven shots into a vehicle — pausing only to reload — and firing another ten shots into the vehicle as the teens inside can be heard begging for their lives, the country was shocked. It is disturbing, to say the least. Yet despite the disturbing nature of the video, this week, in a split ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Brown was granted qualified immunity and he was exonerated.
Christian Redwine, 17, was killed in the shooting and passengers Hunter Tillis and Hanna Wuenschel, two other teens, suffered multiple gunshot wounds. It was the first volley, of the 21 total bullets, that struck Redwine in the head and heart that ended his young life, according to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
According to the ruling:
"The surviving passengers and Redwine’s grandmother sued Officer Brown for allegedly using excessive force during the encounter, as well as the police chief and the county for supervisory liability. Officer Brown moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The district court granted the motion for Officer Brown as to the first round of shots but denied it as to the second. Because Officer Brown acted reasonably in firing both rounds of shots, we affirm in part, and we reverse in part and render a judgment in favor of Officer Brown, the police chief, and the county."
Brown claimed that Redwine tried to use the car to run him over, which caused him fear for his life, and prompted the fatal shots — and apparently the 11 Circuit agreed. An attorney representing Wuenschel said Redwine was trying only to back out of a hole. The attorney said Redwine was shot seven times, Wuenschel two or three times, and Tillis at least twice.
Despite the clearly desperate pleas of mercy from the teens, as Brown unloaded two magazines into their vehicle, a Russell County grand jury found that Brown committed no criminal wrongdoing in the November 6, 2017 incident. Now, four years later and the family's only chance for accountability has been ruined, yet again, thanks to qualified immunity.
“We are not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ arguments that Officer Brown was indisputably out of harm’s way,” wrote Chief Judge William Pryor. “For the purposes of summary judgment, we accept the undisputed evidence that Officer Brown was positioned in the “V” between his police vehicle and its open driver’s door and that, as it turned out, the Pontiac drove straight back,” . Viewing that evidence in the plaintiffs’ favor, it was not unreasonable for Officer Brown to conclude at the time he fired the shots that the Pontiac posed a serious danger. When an officer is on foot and standing in close proximity to a suspect’s moving vehicle, he need not be directly in the vehicle’s path to fear reasonably for his life. It is “obvious,” in this circumstance, that the suspect could quickly turn his steering wheel and swerve toward the officer.”
When watching the video, however, these claims ring hollow. Brown can be seen on dash cam video trailing two other police cars also in pursuit of Christian Redwine after reports of a stolen vehicle in Columbus.
As the teens attempt to take an exit at high speeds, Redwine loses control of the vehicle.
“We’re gonna be on Riverchase Road dispatch. He has wrecked out. Wrecked out. He is spinning. Start uh rescue,” Brown reports to dispatch.
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With the wheels of the vehicle now spinning in reverse, Brown, who is now on foot, fires his weapon 11 times.
The passengers can be heard pleading for the officer to stop firing.
“No, stop! Please! I got shot!
Please! Please! ”
Brown, instead, paused only to reload his weapon and fire 10 more times.
“Oh my God I‘m shot! My God. Please no. Please! Please!”
After shooting all three individuals, we can here Brown yelling at the unarmed teens to "get down on the f**king ground or I will f**king shoot you."
Wuenschel’s cries continue, repeating “Oh my God!” and “Oh my God, sir, please call me an ambulance! Please!”
For several moments after the shooting, the teens are heard crying and begging for help.
By the time Brown had unloaded two magazines, Christian Redwine, 17, was dead, and the two others had both suffered gunshot wounds. In fact, a later investigation would reveal that all three teens had been shot in the initial barrage of gunfire.
When Brown went to trial for his crimes, the city brought in a bunch of police apologist "experts" to justify and propagandize the jury into believing that unloading an entire magazine into a car full of teens, then pausing to reload and drop another ten shots as they beg for their lives, was justified.
Now, years later and the system is once again protecting a cop who tried to murder a car full of teens.