Gun Stories Nelson Vs Sarey Weekly Edition 8/17-23/2020
I want to start out by saying that I fully support the police and the job they do. Along with my belief that the police as a whole are good honest people that have an impossible job with almost no reward. The case of Nelson Vs Sarey does not showcase the actions of the men and woman of law enforcement. As with every group of people in this great nation there are bad individuals. A single person’s actions should never represent an organization as a whole.
That does not change the fact that we have seen cases in the past and recently where emotions and bad judgement. Have got the better of individuals wearing a uniform. We have even seen cases where individuals should have never been allowed to join law enforcement. As well as cases of group mentality taking control and causing devastating harm.
I will let you judge this case based on the current facts presented here. What I am asking our readers to comment to here. Is how can we learn to spot this behavior early and put a system in place that prevents these actions in the future. Along with, is there something we can train that will prevent the conflicts we are seeing today.
Jeffrey Nelson Vs Jesse Sarey Officer’s version
Jeffrey Nelson gets a call May 30th 2019th of a disturbance. When Mr. Nelson approached Jesse Sarey the second time things got physical. According to Mr. Nelson when he informed Mr. Sarey that he was under arrest he became physically and verbally non-compliant. Mr. Sarey stood up as the officer approached him to make the arrest. At which time he struck Mr. Nelson knocking his microphone off his uniform.
In an attempt to throw Mr. Sarey to the ground to put the cuffs on him. Mr. Sarey was able to avoid the maneuver and struck the Mr. Nelson in the side of the head with his elbow. Mr. Nelson also stated that he felt a sharp pain to his rips when the maneuver failed. It is unclear whether that was from a hit or from the strain. Mr. Nelson then felt a strong pulling on his duty belt and heard the sounds of his firearm being pulled from the holster.
It was at this point Mr. Nelson was able to push his firearm back down in the holster before it broke free. He then tried to push Mr. Sarey away from him, however; he was able to hold onto the officer’s uniform. According to Mr. Nelson he continues to go for his firearm. As a result, Mr. Nelson then began to punch Mr. Sarey to create distance.
The Struggle Continues
Mr. Nelson stated that Mr. Sarey was knocking items out of his pockets during the struggle. At which point, Mr. Sarey grabbed the officer’s utility knife. Upon seeing the silver blade partially open. Mr. Nelson realized he was about to be stabbed. He leaned down and away, while drawing his firearm. To avoid being stabbed in the face or neck area.
Using his opposite forearm, he blocked and pushed Mr. Sarey away. Mr. Sarey then went for his firearm a second time. In an attempt to block him, Mr. Nelson brought his forearm down as he fired a shot. His forearm stopped the slide from racking all the way and caused a failure to eject, type jam on his firearm.
After clearing the jam, Mr. Nelson noticed that Mr. Sarey fell to the ground and was attempting to get back up. He stated that Mr. Sarey was in a position that would allow him to pounce back up at the officer. Mr. Nelson still believing Mr. Sarey had his knife. Then shot a second time, this time hitting Mr. Sarey in the head. Mr. Nelson immediately radioed dispatch to request aid at the scene.
The First encounter
The original call came in of a disturbance outside two separate stores. The complaint was someone was kicking trash cans and throwing stuff at the windows of the stores. The first set of officers could not find the person causing the disturbance and left. The next call went to Mr. Nelson, and bystanders pointed him to Mr. Sarey when he arrived on scene.
At which point Mr. Nelson noticed behavior that led him to believe Mr. Sarey was on some sort of drugs at the time. Mr. Nelson let him go with a warning but warned him that if his behavior continued that he would be arrested. Mr. Sarey then went across the street to another store. Where Mr. Nelson observed him still being inappropriate and decided to arrest him. His cam was on and can be heard calling for backup prior to approaching Mr. Sarey a second time.
In this case there were at least two witnesses whose statements were entered into the report. Steven Woodard who saw the whole thing. Along with Quincy Williams who saw part of the events. Mr. Woodard noted that Mr. Sarey demeaner was odd and he felt he was likely mentally ill and/or on drugs. He stated that when Mr. Sarey got to his feet after Mr. Nelson approached him that his arms were flailing about. Immediately after standing the two began fighting like “Tasmanian devils”.
He did notice that Mr. Sarey’s hand had reached around and touched the officer’s firearm. Not knowing if the officer needed help, he then got out of his car. At which point a closed folded knife came sliding over his feet. He picked up the knife and placed it on the hood of his car.
He then observed Mr. Nelson punching Mr. Sarey with little to no effect. As a result, he observed Mr. Nelson then shooting Mr. Sarey in the abdomen. He went on to say Mr. Nelson then looked back at him. At which point Mr. Nelson then looked at Mr. Sarey and shot him in the head. The second witness stated that he seen Mr. Nelson pin Mr. Sarey to the ice machine with his left hand and then shot him with his right hand.
The Video Evidence
Throughout the video it can be seen. That Mr. Sarey was indeed resisting the officer. Mr. Woodard can be heard telling him to just go down. Mr. Sarey claimed he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Mr. Nelson was seen pulling his right side away from Mr. Sarey when his hand reached the gun. At this point he had Mr. Sarey pinned against the Ice machine. Mr. Sarey can then be seen covering up but still resisting the arrest. Finally, Mr. Nelson drew his firearm and shot him once in the torso.
There was a verbal confrontation going on through much of the video as well as a physical one. After the shot Mr. Sarey dropped down the side of the ice machine and was on his buttocks. He was in a reclined position leaning on his right forearm and just sitting there. Mr. Nelson can be seen clearing his weapon from approximately 7 ft away from Mr. Sarey. He then looked at Mr. Woodard then back to Mr. Sarey and shot one round into his forehead. After which he can be heard calling into dispatch saying “Shots fired”.
The time from the first shot to the second shot was 3.44 seconds
There was two use of force experts that looked at all the evidence in this case. Scott Haug and Jeff Noble both of which worked law enforcement for over 30 years. Mr. Noble has been considered an expert and consultant since 2006. Mr. Haug credentials go back as far as 2002.
They both concluded that Mr. Nelson’s did not follow his training. Along with the fact that his statements did not match the evidence. For example, at no time did Mr. Nelson attempt to de-escalate the situation. He was also supposed to make sure he had back prior to making an arrest. Along with the fact he had two less lethal option available that he did not use.
Mr. Nelson was part of the K-9 unit and had a taser on him at the time. Police procedure dictates that he needs to have backup present when going to make the arrest. This procedure is done to lower the likelihood someone would resist. Along with the fact his vehicle would not have allowed him to place Mr. Sarey in the back.
The Medical Examiner
Upon arriving on scene officers began CPR. It was stated that Mr. Sarey had no pulse initially. They were able to revive him and get him to the hospital. The Medical examiner stated that Mr. Sarey’s wounds were to the liver and the head. The wound to the liver would have proven fatal. Unfortunately, the medical staff was unable to stop the bleeding to the liver during surgery.
The head shot wound entered above the left brow. Then traveled through the orbital socket and hit the C-1, C-2 vertebra. While there was damage to the brain, it was unknown whether it would have been fatal. There was no indication that Mr. Nelson ever tried to assist Mr. Sarey prior to backup arriving.
Putting it All Together
It took 38 seconds from the time Mr. Nelson got out of his vehicle until the fight broke out. Any attempts at de-escalation would have extended that time greatly. It was only 29 seconds from Mr. Nelson going hands on until the second shot fired. The experts determined Mr. Nelson created what they call a police emergency. They also stated that his life was never in danger based on the evidence.
Mr. Sarey previous run ins with law enforcement have been due to mental issues, and misdemeanors. Although it has been suggested that the two had previous run ins. The prosecutor did not find any documentation showing that they ever had previous contact.
Mr. Nelson has worked for law enforcement for just over 11 years. This is the third fatal shooting he has been involved in. The first was determined to be justified. The second the city settled with the family. Although that is not an admission of wrongdoing. It could simply mean it would have been more costly to take to a civil trial. Mr. Nelson is now facing murder in the second degree and assault in the first-degree charges.
I think it would be safe to say that Mr. Sayer violated the law when he resisted arrest. It was also determined that he had methamphetamines in his system at the time of his death. He did everything wrong and nothing right in this situation. That leaves the question does unruly conduct warrant being shot. Both witnesses stated they seen him touch the officer’s gun. What no one saw including the cameras. Was the claim of a struggle for Mr. Nelson’s firearm.
We have seen too many cases where people are arguing their point with officers. It usually ends up with additional charges and a conflict escalation. We must find a way to reach our young people and let them know how to make their case in court. Even when an officer is 100% wrong. That argument isn’t going to be won on the side of the road. Instead it will likely make matters way worse.
What makes matters even worse is the fact that Mr. Sayer resisted. Any wrongdoing on the officer’s part would have likely been overlooked after that fact. Anything short of death anyway. Because of his death the officer is now being closely scrutinized. Although he is still walking free without a bond. Along with the fact he is on paid leave during this investigation.
This is only one side of the story and more evidence will come to light in the future. Everything stated here is in filings from the prosecutor. There are more details in there if you would like to read it, I posted it below. While I have my own opinion on the matter, it is not for me to judge and I take no responsibility for anyone making that leap.
I encourage everyone to look at this from a learning perspective. I am simply asking our readers to post comments based on how we can prevent this in the future. What can we as gun owner learn from this? Imagine for a minute that it was one of us who was legally armed. This may not be under investigation if that was the case. So, please approach this from a learning standpoint and give us your thoughts on how we can avoid a situation like this in the future.
As always thanks for reading and stay safe. Self-defense is dangerous and extremely costly if we survive. You can check out this weeks other story Smith Vs Smith here