Po­lice: Sus­pect in slay­ing of 2 of­fi­cers in cus­tody

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OBITUARIES - By Scott Mcfetridge

A white man with a his­tory of racial provo­ca­tions and con­fronta­tions with po­lice am­bushed and fa­tally shot two white Des Moines area po­lice of­fi­cers in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents Wed­nes­day morn­ing, po­lice said.

Au­thor­i­ties took 46-yearold Scott Michael Greene into cus­tody hours af­ter the killings and less than three weeks af­ter he ar­gued with of­fi­cers who re­moved him from a high school foot­ball game where he had un­furled a Con­fed­er­ate flag near black spec­ta­tors.

Greene flagged down a state Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources em­ployee in a ru­ral area west of Des Moines, iden­ti­fied him­self and asked that he call 911. Sher­iff’s of­fice and state pa­trol of­fi­cers re­sponded and took Greene into cus­tody.

He’s sus­pected in the early morn­ing killings of two of­fi­cers, who were shot as they sat in their cars. Po­lice iden­ti­fied the men killed as Of­fi­cer Justin Martin, who had been with the Ur­ban­dale force since 2015, and Sgt. An­thony “Tony” Bem­i­nio, who joined the depart­ment in Des Moines in 2005.

Greene was taken to a hos­pi­tal for treat­ment of un­known health is­sues and will be brought later to Des Moines po­lice head­quar­ters, where he will be ques­tioned and charged, Sgt. Paul Parizek said.

Po­lice re­sponded to a re­port of shots fired at 1:06 a.m. and found an Ur­ban­dale Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cer who had been shot. Au­thor­i­ties from sev­eral agen­cies sat­u­rated the area af­ter that shoot­ing, and about 20 min­utes later dis­cov­ered that a Des Moines of­fi­cer who had re­sponded to the ini­tial killing had been shot in a pa­trol car at an in­ter­sec­tion, Parizek said. The shoot­ings hap­pened less than 2 miles apart and both took place along main streets that cut through res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Ur­ban­dale Po­lice Chief Ross Mc­Carty said that in the first shoot­ing, in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the shooter walked up to the of­fi­cer’s car and shot with­out warn­ing.

“I wouldn’t call it a con­fronta­tion,” Mc­Carty said. “I don’t think he may have even been aware that there was a gun­man next to him.”

The shoot­ings fol­low a spate of po­lice killings, in­clud­ing am­bushes of of­fi­cers in Dal­las and Ba­ton Rouge, Louisiana. Five of­fi­cers were killed in Dal­las on July 7 and three were killed later that month in Ba­ton Rouge.

Race has been an is­sue in those cases and others in­volv­ing un­armed black men killed by of­fi­cers.

Al­though Greene is white, as were the of­fi­cers, Greene ap­peared to have is­sues with race.

In the con­fronta­tion at the Ur­ban­dale high school foot­ball game, which Greene video­taped and posted on so­cial me­dia, Mc­Carty said Greene ap­peared to be try­ing to an­tag­o­nize African-Amer­i­can fans when he shook a con­fed­er­ate flag in front of them dur­ing the na­tional an­them. In the video, of­fi­cers can be seen ask­ing Greene to leave, telling him that dis­play­ing a Con­fed­er­ate flag there was in­flam­ma­tory. Greene mean­while ar­gues that his con­sti­tu­tional rights are be­ing vi­o­lated.

In other in­ci­dents, court records show Greene was jailed and charged with in­ter­fer­ence with of­fi­cial acts af­ter re­sist­ing Ur­ban­dale po­lice of­fi­cers who tried to pat him down for a weapon on April 10, 2014. An Ur­ban­dale of­fi­cer de­scribed him as hos­tile and com­bat­ive. He en­tered a guilty plea and was fined.

Two days later Ur­ban­dale po­lice were called to an­swer a com­plaint of ha­rass­ment at the apart­ment com­plex where Greene lived. The com­plaint said he threat­ened to kill an­other man dur­ing a con­fronta­tion in the park­ing lot and yelled a racial slur used against blacks. Greene was charged with ha­rass­ment.

He pleaded guilty and re­ceived a sus­pended jail sen­tence and a year of pro­ba­tion. Court records show he com­pleted a sub­stance abuse and psy­cho­log­i­cal eval­u­a­tion.

Soon af­ter the foot­ball game in­ci­dent, on Oct. 17, a crim­i­nal com­plaint in­di­cates Greene was in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion with his 66-year-old mother. Greene ac­cused her of scratch­ing and hit­ting his face. He cap­tured the fight on cell­phone video, which he used as ev­i­dence of the as­sault. A judge or­dered Greene’s mother to stay away from her son and she was re­leased on $1,000 cash bond.

Des Moines and Ur­ban­dale Po­lice later said they had iden­ti­fied Greene, of Ur­ban­dale, as a sus­pect in the killings through “a se­ries of leads and in­ves­tiga­tive tips.” It is un­clear if ei­ther of the shoot­ings was cap­tured on po­lice cam­eras.

The at­tacks on po­lice this sum­mer in Dal­las and Ba­ton Rouge came in the wake of sev­eral high­pro­file po­lice shoot­ings of black men, fuel­ing a na­tional de­bate about po­lice use of force, es­pe­cially against mi­nori­ties — a fre­quent topic in the na­tion’s pres­i­den­tial race.

Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump has ar­gued that po­lice need the free­dom to use greater force, while Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton has sup­ported of­fi­cers while call­ing at­ten­tion to what she and others have called ex­am­ples of bias in polic­ing.

Parizek said the of­fi­cers’ deaths are a blow to the city.

“They are our friends and co-work­ers,” he said. “Des Moines is not a big city. We all know each other. We’re heart bro­ken.”

CHAR­LIE NEIBERGALL — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials in­ves­ti­gate at the scene of a shoot­ing, Wed­nes­day, Nov. 2, 2016, in Ur­ban­dale, Iowa. Au­thor­i­ties ap­pre­hended a man Wed­nes­day sus­pected in the early morn­ing killings of two Des Moines area po­lice of­fi­cers who were shot to death while sit­ting in their pa­trol cars in what au­thor­i­ties de­scribed as sep­a­rate am­bush-style at­tacks.

Greene

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