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That decision was consistent with the determination made by HPD's Internal Affairs Division shortly after the shooting.
That does not mean, however, that the cops did everything right.
Hurtt gave a written reprimand to Foster for not remaining behind cover and for going up to Carnaby's Jeep without trying to talk with him first. Hurtt also ruled that Washington did not supervise Foster properly, and suspended him for a day. Ellison sided with HPD, stating that the officers should have done a better job approaching the car and communicating with Carnaby.
"If the officers had been behind cover and calling Mr. Carnaby out of the vehicle like they should have," says Kallinen, "they would have been at a distance and there would have been no reason to be frightened at seeing a shiny object at that point. There would've been no sirens blaring, no window bashing and they would have just called him out and waited him out. They created the situation and their practices caused it to happen."
City Attorney Annie Teehan declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.
Although Ellison ruled that the individual officers are not liable, the City of Houston may still be held responsible.
Foster, Washington and Starks each admitted during separate depositions that when it came to HPD's high-risk vehicle approach and motor vehicle pursuit policies, their training basically sucked.
Foster said that his training consisted of a slide show and a classroom exercise in which his instructor put four chairs together, had four officers play the bad guys and then attempted to show how to conduct a felony stop. Foster said he did not think the training accurately represented real life and that it was not adequate for the situation he encountered with Carnaby.
Starks also said that the training he received was unrealistic and that pursuits are taught "mainly through word of mouth" and by showing videos, which is "not very effective." Starks said he had never been trained for a situation like the one he encountered with Carnaby, but thought the officers made the right decisions based on what was happening at the time. As for waiting longer to try to talk to Carnaby before bashing in the window, Starks said no one had ever taught him that he had to wait a certain amount of time to establish communications with a suspect.
Washington echoed the other two officers, saying he did not feel properly trained in high-risk vehicle approaches, but added that he did not think it would help if HPD included specific instructions to try to talk to a suspect for a set amount of time prior to forcing the suspect out of a car. He also said better training would not have resulted in a different outcome for Carnaby given the situation.
Kallinen argues that HPD officers have a pattern of violating police department policy, which has resulted in numerous unnecessary shootings.
In one case, according to HPD Internal Affairs records, officers were behind cover while a suspect who may have been armed was refusing to exit his car. One of the officers then walked up near the suspect's car, saw the man make an "overt movement" and shot the suspect. Internal Affairs investigators concluded that the officer "had no justification for leaving" his protected spot and that "the fact that the suspect did not immediately show their hands and made overt movements inside the vehicle does not justify the use of deadly force."
In another case, in which several officers fired a total of 31 shots at a suspect, Internal Affairs concluded that the officers violated the high-risk vehicle approach policy by walking up to the car of a possibly armed suspect while the suspect was still inside.
Kallinen says if Susan's case goes to trial, he plans to show roughly ten such examples that he believes demonstrate a pattern of officers disregarding HPD's policy, resulting in shootings.
"The danger that killed Roland Carnaby is due to poor training and a pattern and practice of this kind of behavior, and puts many other people in jeopardy," says Kallinen. "This did not end with Roland Carnaby, but will happen again."
Susan insists she is not suing for just the money.
"Maybe this will embarrass HPD into cleaning up their act," she says. "If any good can come of Roland's death, that would be it. Someone has to keep an eye on the police."
A Google search of "Roland Carnaby" yields more than 27,000 hits. That's a lot of interest, a lot of unanswered questions and little final resolution.
Susan says it was very uncharacteristic of him to run from the police. "He always loved and supported, brown-nosed even, the police department. I don't know what was in his mind that day."
Kallinen speculates it may have been to protect sensitive information on his laptop computer. "Maybe he didn't want it to fall into the wrong people's hands," he says.
Napolitano said in his deposition that Bechaud told him that Carnaby was working on a case for a federal intelligence agency the day he died.
"I don't know what it was," Napolitano said. "But whatever it was was on his computer, and he was trying to get it to see Dennis Franks at the FBI."
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