A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was given only a one-week suspension without pay after he fired nine rounds at a vehicle that bumped his cruiser. In the incident caught on this videotape, Trooper Timothy E. Nichols was responding to a call about a man suspected of stealing two bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches from a Palm Harbor gas station. However, an investigation showed that (as indicated on the video) the driver was innocently backing up his SUV when the bumping of the cruiser occurred — triggering Nichols’ shower of bullets.
Agency director John T. Czernis ruled that the force was obviously excessive, but only saw fit to suspend the officer.
When Nichols caught up with Magdi Kanaan, 22, in a parking area and Kanaan put his SUV in reverse, bumping Nichols’ cruiser. Nichols is heard screaming, “He just backed into my car.” He then fired nine rounds at the SUV in the retirement center area.
Highway Patrol internal affairs investigators determined Kanaan was simply trying to park. Czernis wrote ‘[y]our recollection of the events contradicts the evidence on the videotape from your patrol car.”
Nichols later admitted that events may not have occurred as he initially recollected.
Since Nichols started work with the department on Sept. 10, 2001, he has been orally reprimanded, counseled or cited at least eight times according to press reports — including two incidents of crashing into cars of citizens.
The question remains why there is not a more substantial punishment for an officer who (the internal affairs report) fires his weapon in a retirement center after a man innocently bumps his car.
Source: Tampa Bay