Officer gets clearance for shooting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

An Alabaster Police officer who fired his weapon during a recent traffic stop that involved a 15-year-old in the Taco Bell parking lot has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with the use of his weapon.

Capt. Curtis Rigney of the Alabaster Police Department said there were two internal investigations connected with the incident and an independent investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Rigney, when a police officer tried to stop a vehicle in the Taco Bell parking lot, the driver, later identified as a 15-year-old male, rammed another vehicle and turned his vehicle toward the officer.

&uot;The officer had no choice but fire his weapon,&uot; Rigney said. He said the driver stopped and was taken into custody. However, Rigney said, any time a weapon is fired by police, it is the policy of the department to call for an independent investigation.

Police charged the juvenile driver with attempted assault in the first degree and driving under the influence.

Rigney explained that when a police officer makes a traffic stop, he has no idea of the age, gender or race of the driver.

He said in this incident, the officer only knew a &uot;2,500 pound vehicle&uot; was coming toward him &uot;at a high rate of speed.&uot;

Rigney said the bullet fired by the officer struck the vehicle, and the driver stopped.

He said internal investigations were conducted into use of force and following police policy and procedures and no wrongdoing was found.

In addition, he said the Sheriff’s Department also found no wrongdoing on the part of the officer, and the matter was also cleared by the district attorney.

&uot;It was a good shooting,&uot; Rigney said, reiterating the officer did everything he was trained to do, and there was no cause for disciplinary action.

He said the findings were received by the department last Friday