Despite the unending amount of crap piled on them by protesters and Hollywood celebrities, police officers place their lives in harms way each and every day to keep our cities safe. When they are forced to use their weapons to stop an attacker, they are questioned by everyone – the department, the district attorney, the police union, the suspect’s family, and nowadays, the public at large.
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Luckily for these two police officers, the footage is enough to answer the plethora of questions and clear both officers.
Nearly four weeks since two Haverhill police officers shot and killed a man here on Route 302, Attorney General Joseph Foster on Friday issued a 14-page report that concluded the shooting was legally justified.
Foster also said that video of the July 6 shooting that was recorded by the officers’ body cameras will be released on Monday to the family of Hagen Esty-Lennon, and then on Aug. 5 in response to several Right-To-Know requests.
As Foster said previously, but in greater detail yesterday, the video shows the 43 seconds of interaction between the officers and Esty-Lennon, who minutes earlier, for reasons that remain unknown, and while suffering from what Foster said appears to be a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest, attempted to drive his SUV over the closed Bath Bridge near the intersection of routes 112 and 302.
Hearing the crash, people from the Twin River Campground, which is located directly across from the bridge on the south side of Route 112, went to the scene and made 911 calls to report the crash. They also said that Esty-Lennon was carrying a knife and was proceeding southbound on Route 302.
When Jarvis and Collins arrived, they repeatedly told Esty-Lennon — whom Foster said was 6-feet-one inch tall and weighed 275 pounds — to stop advancing toward them and to drop the knife.
Collins initially took out his electric stun gun, but when Esty-Lennon suddenly charged toward him and Jarvis, coming to between 10 and 15 feet of them, both officers fired their .45 caliber handguns at him.
The officers each fired five rounds, striking Esty-Lennon a total of six times. Although still alive when taken away by ambulance, Esty-Lennon was pronounced dead at Cottage Hospital in nearby Woodsville.
Foster’s report said a toxicology test found that Esty-Lennon had what were described as “slightly higher than therapeutic levels” of amphetamines in his system as well as the anti-convulsive and anti-anxiety drug Klonopin.
No officer goes into the day thinking “today I get to shoot someone”. Yet when a suspect charges forward carrying a deadly weapon and refuses to listen to commands – there is simply no other choice but to do whatever is necessary to protect both the officer and the city he protects.
[Note: This article originally ran on December 27, 2015]