Written by Phillip Corbin.

Continued from Breathe Easy, Don’t Break the Law.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored some instances when innocent people were killed by the police to combat the logic of the statement, “Breathe easy, don’t break the law.”

In Part 2 we will explore more people in different circumstances who also are no longer breathing despite not having broken the law.

Consider the following events, most of which took place in recent history.

Omar Edwards was returning to his car to find a man stealing from it. He called 911 and gave chase with his gun drawn to apprehend the robber. Police arrived on the scene and shot Edwards when they mistook him for the robber.


Kathleen Schaefer had her gun out and was covering a law enforcer, at his request, while he was made a drug bust. Other law enforcers arrived to the scene and shot her, fearing for the safety of the uniformed officer.


Christopher Ridley was breaking up a fight between two homeless people. When he got involved in the fight himself, his handgun came unholstered and discharged which drew the attention of nearby police. While Ridley was retrieving his gun from the ground, law enforcers arrived on the scene they shot him when he didn’t follow their orders to drop the weapon.


Cornel Young Jr was dining and saw police in conflict with a man who had a gun. Young drew his own handgun and approached the police. The law enforcers ordered him to drop his weapon and shot him when failed to comply with their order and continued his approach.

Nehemiah Pickens was working as a private, plainclothes security guard when he observed law enforcers giving chase to a suspect who had just fled his vehicle.  Pickens drew his own sidearm and began chasing the suspect.  Law enforcers spotted him, ordered him to drop the weapon, and shot Pickens when he failed to comply.

Nehemiah Pickens

Monroe Scott was occupying his apartment complex when a confidential informant mistakenly identified him as a drug dealer. Four plainclothes law enforcers ran towards him to apprehend him with their guns drawn. Scott drew his own sidearm to defend himself from the gang of assailants. The law enforcers, seeing an alleged drug dealer draw a gun on them, shot him to death to ensure their safety.

Randy Stephens and his three associates were chasing another man down. An off-duty law enforcer spotted the incident and shot Stephens in response.


Gary Wayman was working as security for a hotel where he was accidentally shot by a law enforcer. Unfortunately, details concerning this incident are sparse.

James McGee witnessed a robbery in progress and intervened. Responding law enforcers thought he was a suspect and killed him when he wouldn’t drop his weapon.

If you have been clicking on the links while reading this piece then by now you will have realized that all of the deceased victims in these examples were actually either off duty or plainclothes law enforcers.

Despite not having broken the law, these policemen were killed because they were party to unclear circumstances.

Despite not having broken the law, how many civilians who were exercising their right to bear arms have been killed by the police because their department’s use of force policies are too difficult to comply with and allow for the escalation of lethal force too quickly which makes it impossible to survive? These use of force policies used by the police are so unrealistic that even law enforcers in the examples we studied, who are intimately familiar with their department’s policies, cannot comply with uniformed law enforcer’s commands well enough or fast enough to avoid death themselves.

With this being the case, how can we as a society realistically expect innocent citizens to survive being confronted by law enforcers in ambiguous circumstances when even the police have members who could not survive being confronted by their own departments?