Community Comment

TUESDAY, SEPT. 7, 2010, 5:12 P.M.

A baton blow leaves a mark, you know…

Good morning, Netizens...

The story of the officer-involved shooting of the late Pastor Wayne Scott Creach has become a bit more convoluted over this Labor Day weekend, and frankly the news media reports that Creach was hit by Deputy Brian Hirzel's baton at least once adds little to this otherwise incredible story of how Pastor Creach died of a single gunshot to the chest.

Details, particularly when involved in official police reports, are everything. Without them, you do not have enough information to make or form a cogent and well-defined opinion of what actually took place.

According to several news sources, Deputy Hirzel struck Pastor Wayne Scott Creach at least once with his police baton in an effort to force Creach to the ground.

How many readers have ever been hit by a police baton? Without a great deal of explanation, I will state with absolute clarity that once upon a time in far-off Berkeley, California an Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy hit me once in the leg during the People's Park Riot that took place several times in the 70's. I was not arrested; in fact once the Deputy saw that what I had in my hand was a sack lunch and not a weapon, he left me laying on the sidewalk and went down the street in search of better game. Later on, I discovered where he hit me had left a brilliant blue bruise that later on turned amazing hues of the rainbow as it healed. Fact: My experience is you do not hit someone with a police baton without leaving a mark.

Fact: One of the principal functions of a coroner's report is to officially record any scars, lesions, bruises, injuries or other breaks in the skin of the deceased. These would include, but are not limited to the bruise(s) that being hit by a police baton would leave behind and, obviously, the bullet wound to Pastor Creach's chest, including the bullet exit wound, if any. If Creach had been, in fact, hit with a police baton on the leg prior to being shot in the chest, as some news sources state, there would be a bruise or contusion on Creach's leg that would most certainly be noted in the coroner's report.

However, since we still do not have the coroner's report regarding Wayne Scott Creach in hand, we have no way of verifying that Deputy Hirzel hit Pastor Creach with his nightstick prior to shooting him.

At present we have a lot of conjecture, in the form of hearsay, that the baton blow took place; hence lacking the true evidence in the form of a coroner's report, we have no evidence at all. If either the Spokane Police Department or the Washington State Patrol wish to anonymously leak information to the news media, they could do themselves and public a service by releasing the coroner's report, which would clarify this issue without further question.

Until that time, or until the coroner's report becomes public knowledge, we may never know whether the baton blow in question ever took place. That is nearly as troublesome as the various other aspects of the death of Wayne Scott Creach.

Of course, your results may differ.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.