BOISE — When Boise police officer Jason Green shot at Arthur Zalman Ferrel, 58, in a Meridian campground on Aug. 31, it was the fifth on-duty shooting he’d been involved in during his 12-year tenure.
Two other Boise police officers also fired their guns, identified in a Boise Police Department press release as A. Morlock and S. Martinez. It was the first time either of those two officers had been involved in a shooting, according to an Idaho Press public records request. Morlock has been with the department six years, and Martinez has been with the department 17 years.
The Boise Police Department said the higher rate of shootings involving Green has to do with his shift and the department’s staffing strategy.
“Officer Jason Green has worked on the ‘night shift’ for the Boise Police Department for most of his 12 years with the department,” BPD wrote in a statement to the Idaho Press. “Police night shifts across the Treasure Valley are typically staffed at lower levels than at other times of the day/evening, as calls for service are usually fewer in number than at other times of the day. Night shift officers from every department in the valley often provide mutual aid for each other on a regular basis, especially when large-scale events or calls require additional resources, as the call on August 31st did.”
The nature of the job and the shifts Green has worked have repeatedly put him in harm’s way.
Yet an officer who fired their gun five times in 12 years is an anomaly, according to Brian Dunn, a civil rights attorney in Los Angeles who has handled more than 100 cases that involved police shootings. He’s handled over 200 police misconduct cases, and more than 100 of them involved shootings.
The Idaho Press reached out to Dunn to speak with an expert in this subject who was not connected to the Boise Police Department.
Dunn remembered a case he handled in which a police officer was involved in three shootings in five years. To him, at that time, that was a lot.
But Dunn was also cautious when talking about police shootings. Each one is different, he emphasized. Drawing comparisons between them is difficult and dangerous.
“These are very complicated issues,” he said.
Five shootings in 12 years is a lot, Dunn said, but it doesn’t mean they involved misconduct.
Investigations into each of the previous shootings involving Green cleared him of wrongdoing and showed he “acted appropriately, within the law,” according to BPD. The investigations where conducted by a Critical Incident Task Force — comprising law enforcement agencies across Ada County — the city of Boise’s Office of Police Oversight and Boise Police Department Internal Affairs.
“The investigations were each reviewed by an out-of-county prosecutor, so as to avoid any potential or perceived conflict of interest,” the police department said.
The vast majority of the time when an officer shoots someone, it is the first time they’ve done so, Dunn said.
Below are the details of the five shootings Green has been involved in over the past 12 years.
- In March 2013, Green was involved in the shooting of Peter C. See. According to a press release from Ada County, one of See’s friends called police to say he was threatening suicide. Police also learned See had a handgun and was threatening people with it. At 2:58 a.m., See confronted police on South Cloverdale Road with a .44 magnum handgun, according to the release. Officers attempted to negotiate with him, but he fled in his pickup, the release reads. “After a high speed chase, See’s vehicle was disabled, whereupon Mr. See emerged from his truck, still armed with the .44 caliber pistol,” according to the release. “When he pointed the gun at officers, several law enforcement officers opened fire hitting Mr. See several times.” Green was among the officers who fired.
- In February 2015, Boise police responded to reports of
- Officers were called out to a duplex on the corner of Malad Street and Gourley Place. Green was among those who responded. “Green was the first to arrive on scene,” according to KTVB. “Police say he heard glass breaking, then heard shots fired as he walked toward the house. Two more shots were fired as Green crossed the road toward the house. Green reported seeing Casper standing near a window inside the house, holding a gun. Green shouted at Casper three times to drop his weapon, police say, but the other man ‘shouldered’ it as if to fire.” Casper was fatally shot.
- Late one night in June 2016, Green responded to a home near Boise’s Capital High School
- on West Bridlewood Circle. She’d broken off the relationship, and he came to her house carrying a gun. He fired on officers, according to a story in the Idaho Statesman, but although officers — including Green — hit him with gunfire, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
- Months later, in September 2016, Green was among the
- Police responded just after 2 a.m. to the 2300 block of Elliot Street in Eagle, to a report of a suspicious person, CBS-2 News reports. Bauer took off from the scene on Glenwood Street, and later pulled into the Garden City Police Department on East 50th Street. Police say he pointed a gun at four officers, who opened fire on him; Green was among them. Bauer then drove his vehicle into the Garden City Police Department building. The Ada County coroner said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
- Most recently,
to the Kampgrounds of America in the 100 block of Pennwood Street in Meridian, near the Meridian Speedway. According to police, Ferrel had barricaded himself inside a trailer and was firing at other trailers in the park. Green, Martinez and Morlock were assisting Meridian police officers in responding to the call, and it was the Boise officers who fired the shots that killed Ferrel.