Adams County, CO — As we frequently point out here at the Free Thought Project, though African Americans are disproportionately killed by police in the United States, when it comes to cops unnecessarily pulling the trigger, no one is safe. 91-year-old blind and deaf grandmothers and, as the following incident illustrates, even fellow cops, who are unarmed, are not safe from the wrath of a frightened police officer.
Longmont police officer Jesse Jenson was shot in the head and killed by LaSalle Police Officer Caroline Persichetti. Jenson’s widow, who is also a Longmont police officer is now suing Persichetti and the department.
The incident in question unfolded in January of 2019. Police were engaged in a suspected DUI chase with a silver Jeep. Though he was off-duty at the time, for an unknown reason, Jenson engaged in the pursuit of the Jeep.
He continued to follow the Jeep even after police backed off. When police deployed spike strips, it caused the Jeep to come to a stop and Jenson came to a stop as well. When Jenson got out of his vehicle, officer Persichetti reportedly began to fear for her life, firing a single shot to the head of Jenson. Jenson would die two days later from the wound, on Jan. 18, 2019.
At the time of the shooting, Persichetti claimed Jenson caused her to fear for his life after he exited his vehicle “aggressively,” so she shot him. He was unarmed. Conveniently for Persichetti, her body camera malfunctioned two months prior to this incident, so she wasn’t wearing it the night she killed Jenson.
According to the Greely Tribune,
She (Persichetti) said he ignored repeated commands to stop and get on the ground. When he reached the back of the 4Runner, Persichetti later said, Jenson said something to the effect of, “Forget it,” and continued at a quicker pace, at which point she shot him once in the head.
The lawsuit states Jenson waived his open and empty hands in the air in front of him and that Persichetti shot him in the head without warning. It also accuses Persichetti of giving an inconsistent account of the shooting. The lawsuit goes on to say Persichetti was “emotionally unfit for duty,” after an incident months earlier in which she was dragged by a different suspect vehicle during a traffic stop.
The only video of the shooting is the grainy surveillance footage from a nearby gas station that showed Jenson walking toward Persichetti. A police vehicle obstructed the view when the actual shooting took place.
Five months later, in May of 2019, a grand jury cleared Persichetti in Jenson’s death, ruling it a justified shooting. The grand jury bought Persichetti’s testimony when she claimed she believed Jenson had a gun, despite the officer being unarmed.
According to the lawsuit, Persichetti was involved in a “severe stress” incident two months before killing Jenson in which she was dragged by a vehicle during a traffic stop. The lawsuit alleges the officer was put back out on patrol too soon, not given any necessary therapy, psychological assessments and retraining or re-entry programs, and therefore, was a loose cannon.
Now, like so many victims of excessive force who have watched the offender cops walk free, Jenson’s widow is forced to seek justice in a civil suit. Rest assured if Jenson was killed by a regular Joe who attempted to give the same excuse as Persichetti, that regular Joe would have been arrested, his face plastered on news stations across the planet, and he would have been labelled a cop killer. Jenson would have been celebrated as a martyr who died in the war on cops.