The police had come to take his son away from him, and it was all because he alleged used marijuana. To make matters worse, he never actually did use the plant, but a police officer accused him of it, and when he tried to stop Child Protective Services from kidnapping his son, he was gunned down by police.
Now, a prosecutor in Gaylord Michigan has cleared the police officer who shot and killed William Reddie, 32, during the course of this kidnapping, as police and CPS employees tried to take his three-year-old away.
All of this began with a report to CPS that a police officer smelled marijuana. The officer reported the incident to CPS, who said that this was grounds to take the child away and place him in a foster home.
The kidnapping and killing took place on February 3 of 2015. But it wasn’t until the end of the year that prosecutors decided that the police officer’s use of deadly force was justified.
The Crawford County Avalanche reports that Grayling police Officer Alan Somero had been called to Reddie’s apartment for what was claimed to be a domestic disturbance.
But seeing no evidence of this, Somero made no arrests. He did believe, however, that he smelled marijuana, which he reported it to CPS.
CPS obtained a court order to remove Reddie’s 3-year-old son, Cameron, and told police to assist them with the removal of the child from his home.
The Gaylord Herald-Times obtained the CPS removal order. It added a lot more detail, reporting that Reddie was accused of smoking marijuana in front of his son.
The order said that Reddie was “agitated” and threatened police when they threatened to take his son away for him allegedly using marijuana.
The court order said: “There are reasonable grounds for this court to remove the child(ren) from the parent … because conditions or surroundings of the children, and is contrary to the welfare of the child(ren) to remain in the home because: It is alleged that the father used marijuana in the home in the presence of the child. In addition, there is concern for the safety of the child due to a domestic disturbance and threats made toward law enforcement by the father.”
Reddie allegedly displayed a pocketknife, when Crawford County Deputy John Klepadlo shot and killed him.
The police had Tasers out, but re-holstered them and chose to shoot Reddie when they saw he had a knife – even thought Tasering him would have worked perfectly well at incapacitating him.
Crawford County Sheriff Kirk Wakefield asked the Michigan State Police to investigate the use of deadly force. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office sent this request to the neighboring Roscommon County Prosecutor’s Office.
Roscommon County DA Mark Jernigan said that “the deceased was in possession of an edged weapon. The deceased pulled a knife and hid it behind his back. At the point where he pulls his hand forward and lunges at the officer, he is in such close proximity, and presents a clear danger of deadly force, the officer is left with no option other than to use deadly force to protect himself, the other officer and the three civilians that were present. The use of deadly force is completely justified and therefore, the homicide was justified.”
Toxicology reports returned no sign of marijuana or alcohol in Reddie’s system. Marijuana shows up in one’s system long after it has been consumed, because it is fat soluble. This means that the accusation that Reddie was smoking marijuana in front of his son that day could not have possibly been true.
“They took the only thing he ever loved,” Reddie’s mother, Michelle VanBuren, said to the Avalanche.
“I was on the phone with my son all day, and that cop was bullying him and harassing him so badly,” she added. “Where was protect and serve?” VanBuren continued. “The officers always have to stick together and for them to do this is just totally uncalled for.”
“I can’t believe they (police) could not subdue Will without killing him, and over what, marijuana,” Joanne Michal, who knew Reddie for most of his life said. “Why didn’t police just arrest him or cite him for marijuana instead of removing his child?” she said to the Herald-Times.
“It is particularly sad that Will was shot to death right in front of his son,” Michal added. “Why not use a Taser? Even if he (Will) had a knife and lunged at police, they didn’t have to kill him. Instead of using a Taser, you shoot him in front of his child. It is just totally unjustified. They didn’t have to kill him. I think it’s very sad that his life was taken during the removal of his son. And the smell of marijuana shouldn’t have been a reason for an emergency order. Just a few days before he was killed, Will was visiting, and he was so excited because a hearing was coming up for custody. And it seemed to give him hope of getting permanent custody. His son was everything to him.”
Crawford County Clerk Sandra Moore said “it’s truly a shame. He was a good guy and very fond of his son. He had been very excited just days before” about gaining custody of his son.
Cameron Reddie has now been taken by the State and is in foster care. His family is fighting for the right to at least get visitation rights. Remember, he was stolen from his father – who the state killed – because an officer suspected that he smoked marijuana – which toxicology reports disproved.
How is this not murder and kidnapping?
Oh, and Deputy Klepadlo is currently back on the job, after receiving a short paid administrative leave.