Knoxville Officer Who Shot Unarmed Man in Back Can’t Claim Immunity

Gerlach fatally shot Carden, 45, in an encounter that began on the Interstate 40 ramp at the West Hills interchange. The initial encounter between the two men was captured on police dash cam footage. The shooting occurred out of camera range when Carden began running up a hill after throwing punches at Gerlach. The officer’s microphone captured audio.

On the day of the shooting, KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk described a violent struggle in which he said Carden fought to wrest Gerlach’s gun from his holster with such force the holster broke.

“Officer Gerlach was able to retain enough control of the gun to fire more than one shot,” DeBusk said at the time.

An autopsy showed Carden was shot after the struggle ended and as Carden was running away, with more shots fired after he fell.

Citing the autopsy and evidence submitted by attorney Richard M. Brooks on behalf of Carden’s son, Varlan offer the following description of the shooting:

“(Carden) started to flee, and made it about one step, when (Gerlach) began shooting at (Carden),” Varlan wrote. “(Gerlach) fired approximately two to three shots at (Carden) while (Gerlach) was still lying on the ground. He then stood up and fired three more shots down at (Carden). Approximately thirty-five seconds elapsed from the moment (Carden) struck (Gerlach) to the moment (Gerlach) fired his final round.”

The appellate court opined that even if Gerlach “had probable cause to fear for his safety during his struggle with Carden,” a jury could find “he lacked the same cause after the struggle had ended and Carden, still unarmed, had turned and begun to flee.”
Deadly encounter

Carden had just been released on parole on a 1996 conviction for abducting a woman at gunpoint from a motel on Asheville Highway, taking her vehicle and leaving her tied to a tree. The autopsy report stated he had a syringe in his sock and part of a Suboxone pill — an opiate used to treat opiate addiction — in his jeans pocket when his body arrived at the morgue.

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Filming Cops
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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.

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  • Forrest Carlton Lackey

    There’s this thing called personal responsibility. It’s something a lot of cops and their supporters, who often claim to be conservative and christian, say they have and wish they would see more of.
    Having a badge means more accountability, not less.
    No, he shouldn’t have run from you.
    But murder was not the right answer.
    You should have resorted to a non lethal take down.
    As spider man was told, great power means great responsibility. As the Bible says, to him whom much is given, much more will be asked. So the fact our tax dollars go to arm and train you to handle this situation means we can be pissed when you over react and shoot somebody. He maybe in the wrong, but he wasn’t an actual threat. It’s not about you and your ego’s take on your authority.
    It’s about as morally bank rupt as me, a big man, walking into a store. A little girl punches me in the balls, and I send her to the hospital.
    Or shoot her.
    Naturally that’s what Jesus would do, instead of smack her hand, give her a spanking, or better yet, get her mother and have her grounded. (in this case grounded means prison).