Points to Ponder About the Manistee Police Shooting of Lee Milks

Manistee homeowner Lee Pat Milks dies in a hail of bullets from a code enforcement officer who wouldn't leave Milks property when asked.  The public is otherwise relieved that the officer lives to utilize his poor judgment in the future.   The media reports from second-hand accounts of Manistee's police chief the story that they want you to hear, the other side, for some reason, is deadly silent: 

Google: Michigan officer fatally shoots 73-year-old man

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 73-year-old man has died after being shot by a police officer in Michigan.

Manistee Public Safety Director Dave Bachman says the officer shot Lee Pat Milks after the man came out of a house with a gun Tuesday evening and told the officer to go away. Police say the officer was conducting ordinance enforcement, which can involve such things as investigating blight complaints and abandoned vehicles.

Bachman says the officer told Milks to drop the gun. Bachman says Milks had "stopped, chambered a round and was bringing the weapon to bear on the officer" when the officer fired multiple times.

Investigators say they don't believe he fired at the officer, who wasn't hurt.

Michigan State Police are investigating. Bachman says the officer is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Earlier today WZZM TV reported: Police say that Milks had previously been informed that the old bus in his backyard needed to be removed, but the city had not taken any official action and there was no deadline to have it removed.  A neighbor says the bus had sentimental value to Milks because he live in it for a time in Alaska.

Other media as far ranging as Time Magazine and the United Kingdom's Daily Mail took up the story, reporting small variations on the story put out on Google News.  Nearly a day after the shooting there are several questions that discerning members of the public should ask in this situation.

1)  Why have they not released the ordinance enforcers name, and whether he was uniformed and whether he was sent expressly to Milk's residence to do his job?

2)  Was the officer trespassing on Milk's property?  Milk did ask the officer to go away, one would presume that had the officer retreated off the man's property and de-escalated the situation, the decision to use lethal force would have been avoided.  But each story has the officer asking Milk to put the gun down, this wasn't a lawful command for him to give at that point, as the officer was the only one in violation of a law at that point.

3) The above is a picture of Milk's front porch (from the WZZM video) indicating that Milk was in that vicinity when the shots were fired.  The front door had tempered glass, which would shatter if struck by only one bullet, most would fall inside the house.  Why is there so much glass on the outside, and why isn't there apparently any blood evidence on the outside?  Was he shot while he was inside his home?

4)  Lee Pat Milks appears to have had a crystal clear record over his 73 years of life, he apparently had no problems outstanding with Manistee other than the bus which they hadn't got on him about (you will notice he had a "For Sale" sign in the window for it).  A city official walked on his land, would not get off his property when asked, made unlawful demands to Milks, radioed for backup instead of de-escalating the situation, and then...

We are forced to believe his story that Milks was about to load his weapon and fire at him, and that the only way he could change that was by sending four slugs at the septuagenarian who would be otherwise enjoying the safety and security of the property he owned, were it not for the apparent unauthorized intrusion by Officer Doe, an officer who definitely needs more training in how to conduct himself in the course of his duties.

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The Milks family should be in an uproar over his death. And Sue the MSP if they proved wrong. Afterall, they have tear gas to shoot into the house, mace, taser, and other psychological methods to ease and calm the situation. Now, they justify calm with a bullet, and that's wrong.

This incident doesn't pass the smell test.  Why would Milks come out without having a round chambered?  Why once he chambered a round didn't he use this time to get the drop on the officer? And instead allowed the officer to draw his firearm and shoot.

Another case where body cams should have been mandatory. To hell with their police union.

The City FOIA Coordinator, trying to avert giving out the rest of the other non-investigative records, today released the code enforcement records for Milks' address since 2015.  Most of the reports show the City had been aware and red tagged the bus since last June.  Just before that, in May 2016, a Code Enforcement Officer named Dave Shands went to the property early, and apparently made no contact.  About two hours later, Shands comes back and is ordered off of the property by Milks.  Shands does not apparently escalate the situation at that time and shoot Milks.  He documents that fact, nobody is hurt, no laws either way are broken, nobody dies.

You will notice in the reply that the code enforcement visit/communication for this year on March 28 is not included, even though they say all are included.  For this incomplete bit of work, they ask for $18.43 to cover photocopying (which never occurred, only scanning non-exempt records) and a half hour of a very well paid office assistant.  The lowest paid employee capable of retrieving code enforcement records is remunerated over $72,000 per year.  Incredible, and not believable.

What kind of a common clerk get paid $1,450/wk.? Not Believable for any reason or job that usually should pay $35K/yr..

Nothing more than BS once again.  They want to force people to be uncomfortable by paying ridiculous fees for something that would cost next to nothing just to keep them from requesting documents.  Where did the decent people go?

While I have no knowledge of the wage and salary structure of Manistee judging from Ludington's remuneration  $72,000 sounds about right for a clerk if you tack on their fringe benefits.

I thought your were supposed to be charged the lowest hourly rate for this service?

Another example of the hubris of Government.

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