sd police lights

Ever wondered what it sounds like when a cop-hating journalist has to choke down her bile in order to report the fact that an officer was justified in using deadly force to protect himself and others?

It would sound a lot like this anger-laced report from Sara Flores of the Beaumont Enterprise.

After he was punched in the face inside a Beaumont bar, bouncers took Chaz York out the front door while the man who slugged him was walked out the back.

York was drunk and angry.

He was loud.

In a matter of minutes, the 23-year-old from Vidor was dead.

Chase Welch, an off-duty Beaumont police officer who had been inside the bar, fired eight shots from his Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol at York in less than two seconds.

York, who was standing 15 feet from Welch in the Shops at Dowlen parking lot, was struck five times. He had bullet wounds to both his left and right arms, right thigh, chest and back. The shots to his chest and back were fatal, piercing both lungs, according to Dr. Tommy J. Brown’s final autopsy report filed on Dec. 2.

Last Wednesday, a Jefferson County grand jury declined to indict Welch in the Oct. 14 shooting, making it the second time this year the 26-year-old former Marine from Hamshire escaped possible criminal charges.

Did you notice the reporter’s obvious contempt?

Officer Welch was twice forced into a position of having to use deadly force to save other people this year, but Ms. Flores makes clear her disgust by contemptuously spitting out that he “escaped possible criminal charges.”

Welch used his patrol rifle to shoot an armed and violent meth abuser named Herbert Edgar Ballance IV on March 5. Ballance wanted to go out in a “blaze of glory” after stealing a car and a gun from relatives. Welch though Ballance was about to point the stolen Walther pistol at officers at the scene. Welch’s use of deadly force was justified by the evidence and the witness testimony in the March 5 shooting.

Welch’s shooting of Chaz York on October 14 was just as obviously another tough but correct call by the young officer. It supported by the forensic evidence, audio, and multiple eyewitness accounts.

York was severely drunk (.184 BAC), was incredibly angry, and was armed with a bat he apparently intended to use against Officer Welch, the bouncers outside the bar, and other bar patrons.

Is eight shots excessive? Again, it depends on the context of the individual incident, and the evidence presented showed the Welch fired until York stopped being a threat, and didn’t fire again after he ceased being a threat.

The writers and editors of the Beaumont Enterprise seem to have made up their mind about Officer Welch, and seem to be gunning for him.

I wish they’d leave that for those better suited to correctly judge use of force, such as the prosecutors who concluded he did what he had to do to save lives.