Five minutes. That's all it took for a teenager to lose his life in a confrontation with police -- and for this town to be thrust into the national debate about police use of force.
Anthony McGrath (on left) was a 16-year-old high school dropout who had had run-ins with the law when he allegedly tried to break into a liquor store before dawn. Police officers tracked him down, cornering him when the car he was driving struck a stone wall, backed up, struck a pole, and then drove toward the officers, who opened fire.
McGrath's relatives say officers weren't justified in killing the boy, whom they described as kindhearted. Police said officers fired the shots to avoid being run over.
The shooting is being investigated. The Plymouth Country prosecutor is considering whether the shooting is justified.
"Hopefully, they'll come up with the truth," Ron Knight, a cousin of McGrath, said after a church service in Plymouth. "It's a one-way story right now -- their story. Cops being judge, jury and executioner -- it ain't right."
The case has raised a number of issues, including whether police should fire at moving vehicles -- a debate that has raged in other cities across the country...
Boston police policy, described by Professor Alpert as a national model, bans shooting at a moving or fleeing vehicle "unless the officer or another person is currently being threatened with deadly force by means other than the moving vehicle." It says officers "shall move out of the path of any oncoming vehicle instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants."
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