Joplin, MO — Despite the infuriating and disturbing video of their gross negligence and incompetence which left an unarmed mentally ill man dead on the street, two Joplin police officers — Christopher Grant Meador and Laken Rawlins — have been cleared of any wrongdoing by their department in the killing David Ingle.
On the night of August 13, 2019, Ingle was in the midst of a severe mental health crisis. Police received a 911 call from a resident who told police that Ingle was walking around shirtless yelling strange things. Prior to his interaction with police, Ingle had harmed no one and was merely suspected of causing a disturbance for being mentally ill.
This mentally ill shirtless man — who had harmed no one — would have his life brought to a grinding halt that night by two cops whose incompetence was overwhelming. Despite the entire senseless killing being documented on video, the Joplin Police Department investigated themselves and determined officers did nothing wrong. The Missouri State Highway Patrol also aided in the “investigation” and came to the same conclusion.
“The Missouri State Highway Patrol completed their investigation and determined no criminal wrongdoing (had been committed) by either of the officers,” Joplin Police Chief Matt Stewart said. “We also completed our own internal affairs investigation and … determined there were no policy violations that occurred.”
According to both of these law enforcement departments, shooting a shirtless unarmed man until he dies, is “within policy.” Chief Stewart reassures us, however, that we disagree with their ruling because we do not work inside law enforcement.
“It’s easy for someone who is not involved in law enforcement encounters to question events because they don’t know the reality of trying to subdue someone that is aggressively trying to attack them,” Stewart said.
The video, however, paints a different picture and shows Ingle complying entirely with the officers’ commands, initially. It wasn’t until force was escalated that Ingle jumped up and started running, leading to officer Meador dumping multiple rounds into him.
The incident unfolded around 9:20 p.m. on August 13 when police received a call about a mentally ill man.
Ingle is “screaming and hollering and cussing” and “really acting up,” the caller said. “I think he has drug problems.”
Police, however, knew that Ingle had a history of mental illness. As the Joplin Eagle reports:
Ingle’s friends have described him as a diagnosed schizophrenic prone to episodes of paranoia and delusion. He also had a history of run-ins with Joplin police. It also was known that police were aware he had a history of mental illness, including an incident Meador handled in 2017. However, police have said that officers who responded to the scene that night were not aware that Ingle was the subject of the call, and the address police were dispatched to that evening was not Ingle’s address.
As the video shows, Ingle listens to officer Rawlins when she tells him to get face down on the ground. Although he yells out random rants like, “I know the secrets of the universe,” Ingle was nonviolent and not a threat.
As Rawlins tells Ingle to put his hands behind his back, Meador begins tasering the mentally ill man, sending him into a panic. At this point, Ingle is flailing about on the ground, yelling, “I know I can survive this!” Sadly, he was wrong.
For no reason, Meador then kicks Ingle instead of getting on his back to cuff him. This causes the mentally ill man to try to get up.
As Meadors continues to taser Ingle, Rawlins decides to get in on the action too. Instead of hitting Ingle, however, Rawlins tasered herself, causing her to panic and flee the immediate area.
Both officers then lose complete control of the situation, having escalated it to the point where Ingle is on his feet with is arms flailing about. Although police referred to this flailing as “swinging” punches and trying to reach for Rawlin’s belt, it is appears from the video that he was just waving his arms about from the agony of being tasered and kicked. In fact, even after this arguably entirely innocent mentally ill man is shot, this movement continues as if Ingle is attempting to wipe the taser wires from his body.
“You will see Ingle swinging at (Rawlins) and then trying to reach for her gun belt,” Stewart told reporters. We do not see this in the video.
As Ingle flails toward Meador, instead of bravely attempting to wrestle the shirtless, unarmed, mentally ill man in a two-against-one match to cuff him, Meador cowardly pulls out his gun and opens fire.
Ingle would not survive. That night, Ingle sadly became one of the many unarmed mentally ill people to be killed by American cops every year.