A policeman who was shot and killed while chasing a 17-year-old through the streets of Greenville, South Carolina, may have fallen victim to his own department’s politically correct policy that requires officers to keep their guns holstered, except in the most dire of circumstances.
According to the Greenville Police Department’s force policy, an officer is prohibited from using lethal force against those “believed to be unarmed or are not presenting an imminent threat to human life or serious bodily harm unless immediately apprehended — whether or not they are fleeing from police.”
The policy was made public in a story about the killing of Allen Jacobs, 28, a decorated Iraq war vet and a four-year veteran of the Greenville Police Department, published in the Greenville News.
On March 18, Jacobs and his partner stopped a suspect known to the officer as a self-identified gang member, Deontea Mackey, to question him about a weapon he was alleged to have been trying to acquire. Mackey, 17, turned and ran with Jacobs in pursuit on foot.
The teen reportedly shot and killed Jacobs during the chase.
Police said Mackey then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.
Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said shortly after the shooting that Jacobs never even fired at Mackey – that Jacobs’ gun was still holstered when emergency responders found him and took him to the hospital, where he later died of multiple gunshot wounds, the newspaper reported.
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As Greenville News reported, paraphrasing Miller: “Jacobs had no idea Mackey had already obtained that weapon when he chased after the teen on foot. To Jacobs, Mackey was an unarmed 17-year-old.”
The deadly encounter wasn’t the first time Jacobs and Mackey crossed paths. The officer arrested the teen a year earlier on a strong-arm robbery charge, according to police reports obtained by the newspaper.
According to other officers on scene, Mackey was “irate and began yelling he would not go to jail,” when Jacobs handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.
In his own half-page report, Jacobs said he asked Mackey if he belonged to any street gangs.
“I asked him which gang he was a member of, and he quickly replied, ‘blood in blood out,’ to inform me that he was indeed a blood-affiliated gang member,” Jacobs said.
Mackey, who pleaded guilty in February to the robbery, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head as law enforcement closed in on him, the news outlet reported.
Mackey, who wasn’t in prison at the time of shooting because he had been given at 10-year sentence suspended to 251 days time served, wasn’t allowed to possess a weapon, according to court records.
Circuit Court Judge Robin Stilwell, who sentenced Mackey to the suspended sentence for robbery, released a statement of condolences to the family of Jacobs, but stood by his February determination.
“It appears, given the specific facts and circumstances of the case, the defendant’s age and lack of any admissible adult record, and the input of the victim, that the state and the defense were in agreement with a proposed sentence for consideration by the court,” he said, Fox Carolina reported. “The court agreed with the parties’ analysis of the case and sentenced the defendant accordingly.”
Jacobs, the son of two Bob Jones University professors, leaves two sons, ages 5 and 6, and a pregnant wife, Meghan. They were expecting a daughter in July.