Home / Commentary  / Inglewood ‘Case of the Sleeping Motorists?’

Inglewood ‘Case of the Sleeping Motorists?’

Police initially described the incident as a “confrontation” with “suspects”

Perspective: Inglewood Mayor James Butts finally speaks on police shooting; comments serve only to add fog to a case of mystery

COMPTON — By now the entire nation and perhaps a sizable portion of the planet knows about the Feb. 21 police shooting of two motorists in Inglewood, Calif. — a male and female — under the most questionable of circumstances.

The case currently remains a swirling mystery with police unable to provide a translucent picture of what transpired in the moments immediately before the deadly show of force.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts told a local TV news reporter the police officers “felt threatened.” Butts – who is a former Santa Monica police chief, LAX police chief, and an Inglewood police officer – did not elaborate. He did say, the woman, Kisha Micheal, 31, who was behind the wheel, had a gun in her right hand with the other hand resting on her left chest, which is the police line. Michael was a single mother of three sons.

New information that emerged Tuesday is the identity of the passenger in the car: Marquintan Sandlin, 32, a single father of four daughters.

Police initially described the incident as a “confrontation” with “suspects.” Now, according to Butts, in a Feb. 23 interview with NBC4, police walked up on a sleeping couple.

Hardly a confrontation; takes two to rumble — in this case, two opposing sides.

Can’t help but speculate — could the Inglewood police have killed an unconscious couple? By the cops’ own admission, the couple appeared asleep. What prompted the barrage of gunfire?

If Mayor Butts knows the truth, he declined to divulge it. He said after police responded to a call of an occupied car stopped on Manchester Boulevard early Sunday morning, they saw a gun and that both [a] man and woman inside were unconscious. Butts also told NBC4 reporter Patrick Healy the following:

“I can tell you what I do believe I know … the officers retreated, isolated the vehicle and spent about 45 minutes, police attempting to rouse the occupants, and, uh, to de-escalate the situation.”

It is Butts’ first public explanation for what transpired early Sunday morning during the time between the initial call and the shooting. Police previously stated officers saw the woman had a gun, retreated to behind cover, and then gave orders for the couple to exit the vehicle.

“[…] at some point they were conscious because somebody felt threatened,” Butts added. He said it is important for police to finish their investigation, and verify facts, before commenting further.

Perhaps, Butts shouldn’t have said anything at all. If Michael’s and Sandlin’s survivors decide to take the case to court, Butts’ comments may figure prominently in a civil lawsuit.

There is speculation Michael and Sandlin were out on a date and may have been under the influence of a controlled substance, passed out. It is nothing more than speculation, enlarging the mystery. At some point, the driver was conscious to have driven the car to its stopping point.

The only witnesses to what occurred at approximately 3:11 a.m., Feb. 21, are the SWAT personnel and regular patrol officers called to the scene. But that only represents one side of the story — hence a mystery.

Unfortunately, the victims’ families — which includes Michael’s and Sandlin’s combined seven children — may never really know what happened on that fateful Sunday morning.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

Join the conversation!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.