[WATCH] Orange County Deputy Tells Story of Magically Ineffective Glock Bullets In Killing

Connor Zion

Having handled excessive-force claims against police for three decades, Newport Beach-based attorney Jerry Steering says he had never seen a more outrageous case of a cop committing a public execution than the September 2013 death of Connor Zion, a 21-year-old Laguna Niguel resident.

Nobody absolves Zion, a talented dancer who was in the midst of a severe epileptic seizure, from creating a dangerous situation when he grabbed a sharp kitchen knife and began babbling. Both his mother, Kimberly, and his roommate, who initiated a 911 call, received cuts while trying to take the weapon away. Zion then ran outside and stabbed responding Orange County sheriff’s deputy Juan Lopez in both arms.

Likewise, nobody, not even Steering, blames deputy Michael Higgins for initially firing his Glock 9mm pistol at Zion.

“Concern for the safety of Deputy Lopez, myself and others in the community, including [a] woman who was with her dog, I started firing at the suspect,” Higgins memorialized in a statement for the sheriff’s team of private, Los Angeles-based lawyers. “The suspect, still in possession of the knife, began to retreat toward one of the residences as I continued to fire.”

This is where the officer’s story gets puzzling.

From a distance of just 8 feet to 10 feet, Higgins, who considers himself a decent shot, unloaded nine bullets at Zion. Some of the projectiles struck Zion’s back and ripped through his body, shattering bones. He fell to the apartment-complex sidewalk, a fact you might easily assume was the result of being repeatedly shot by a powerful handgun at close range.

But the deputy’s story temporarily suspended common sense and the laws of physics. To fight a wrongful-death lawsuit, Higgins claimed, “I could not be certain whether any of the shots actually impacted the suspect,” a scenario meant to justify what happened next.

With a wounded, probably even unconscious Zion down, the deputy stood over him, fired nine more bullets, and then used his boots to stomp him in the head three times.

“By the end of the first volley of nine shots, Connor Zion had been completely neutralized,” Steering told U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna.

He blamed the deputy for acting on “pure rage” during the second half of the incident, saying, “Deputy Higgins simply went temporarily nuts and decided to execute Zion. . . . The only reason he stopped shooting was that he ran out of bullets.”

But Selna, who wasn’t troubled by Higgins’ magically ineffective bullets tale, didn’t agree. In an October 2015 hearing inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, the judge came to the deputy’s rescue. He opined the officer had acted reasonably during the second round of nine shots and head stomps because Zion’s body moved slightly during that stage. Any movement, according to Selna, justified Higgins’ alleged fear he remained in grave danger.

You can see the dashboard cam video below:

For full story visit: http://www.ocweekly.com/news/federal-appeal-panel-overturns-judge-who-blocked-wrongful-death-lawsuit-against-deputy-8565463

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Filming Cops
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<p>Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.</p>

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