Jury acquits officer
Huber, Virginia-In a controversial case in a small town in Virginia, a jury has acquitted an officer of triple murder.
The trial, which lasted for 7 weeks, saw over 100 witnesses testify to the events that occurred that sweltering hot August day back in 2016 at one of Virginia’s premiere water parks.
“I hate cops like everyone else but, after hearing the evidence, it was clear that the officer was justified in his actions,” said one of the jurors Margaret Thompson.
Skip Reynolds, a key witness for the defense, echoed similar sentiments when he spoke to reporters just after the verdict.
“Shoot, my own dang brother-in-law is a cop and nobody in the family likes him,” said Skip. “But I can honestly say, I would have probably done the same thing that day.”
On August 17, 2016, Officer Danforth, a police officer and SWAT team member for Huber, Virginia, decided to relax and visit Splash World.
This day was like most in Virginia in mid August, temps reaching 110 degrees with the heat index pushing 184, in the shade.
Splash World is a water theme park in Virginia. It caters to families who want to spend a ridiculous amount of money for the chance to, at tops, ride possibly two rides without suffering a heat stroke due to long lines.
The wave pool is a common attraction at the park. It advertises no lines and only 10,000 bathers at any one time inside the faux ocean oasis.
Officer Danforth, single, liked to visit the park on hot days when he didn’t have SWAT training.
A lot of the season pass holders had come to welcome Officer Danforth, even though he would open carry in the wave pool.
During the trial, when asked why he carried a .50 Caliber Desert Eagle openly in the theme park, he just grinned and held up 2 fingers. Later in the trial it was learned that this cryptic gesture was his reference to the 2nd Amendment.
That day, Officer Danforth, while slowly wading into the wave pool, was approached by 3 college kids. For reasons unknown, one of the boys thought it would be a good idea to splash Danforth.
This was a mistake.
It happened so fast
“It happened so fast,” said one of the witnesses.
The first splash appeared to have no impact on Danforth. It was argued by the defense that his SWAT training had most likely kicked in.
The kind of training that forces the officer to ignore pain and hardship. Even a cold splash of water to the upper torso that has not acclimated to the temperature difference.
After realizing that the first splash had no impact on Danforth, witnesses then observed the other 2 males encircle him, both splashing him at the same time.
Ronnie Everett, a witness who testified for the prosecution, then observed Officer Danforth recoil as if some of the water had struck his eye.
That’s when Everett heard Officer Danforth yell out “you guys have no idea who your messing with, I’m an operator!”….
Danforth then withdrew his Desert Eagle and mowed down all three splashing assailants.
It was later learned, through an expert defense witness, the term “operator” has been adopted by SWAT team members as the moniker they use to identify with.
The prosecution countered this claim with their own expert witnesses countering that SWAT team members are really Navy Seal wanna-bees or worse, Marines.
Immediately after the shooting, witnesses observed Danforth return to his pool chair and begin to watch Youtube videos of SWAT call outs caught on camera.
Aftermath and verdict
The jury only needed 3 hours to come back with a not guilty verdict.
This stunned the court room and the small town of Huber.
Many were asking why?
“It all came down to putting ourselves in the shoes of Officer Danforth,” said Laura Pendleton.
“We all have been splashed in a similar fashion as Officer Danforth was on that terrible day.” Trevor Jones then pined “and as crazy as it sounds, if a gun were available, most of us would have done the same thing”.
As for Danforth, his only statement after the verdict was, “the water was really cold that day”…
Danforth plans to start a foundation and a nationwide call to action demanding for “no splash zones” at public beaches and pools.
At least some good may come of this senseless tragedy.
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