03 July 2008

Young Irishman shot dead by US Policeman

The family of a 20-year-old man from Dublin is trying to establish the brutal circumstances surrounding his death in the USA on Monday.

Andrew Hanlon was shot dead by a local part-time police officer in the small town of Silverton in the northwestern US state of Oregon.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ Radio 1, Mr. Hanlon's sister Melanie Heise, who lives in Silverton, said the circumstances surrounding her brother's death were the subject of much hearsay.

Police told the family on Tuesday that Andrew had been shot dead, but they had not contacted the family again since then.

Ms. Heise said there was a lot of anger about the death in the town, which has not had a shooting for twenty years. She said that local residents had held a protest.
They were appalled and wanted to know why such excessive force was used against her brother.

This afternoon the popular Liveline programme on RTÉ Radio 1 was entirely given to the case. Dorothea Hanlon, Andrews mother, appealed for help and received one of the most emotional outpourings of Irish solidarity ever heard on the airwaves.
She is now preparing to travel to Oregon, to find out what exactly happened there to her son.

Sadly the USA are a violent country, and shootings happen there every day. It also happens in regular intervals that US policemen make more than excessive use of their firearms. Mostly the victims of their irresponsible actions are poor black people. But this time it is a young Irishman, who had only moved to the USA a few months ago.

Personally I would never set foot on US soil again, and I can only suggest to others to follow my example. There is enough violence in Ireland, but at least our police force, the Garda Siochana, does not gun down young men as they please.

The Emerald Islander


CLAN AGNEW said...

I live in Oregon, and I can tell you the communities here are as shocked and horrified as you are by this terrible tragedy. And yet, the same thing happened in my town two years ago-- a man with a mental illness was gunned down by police. Our system for dealing with the mentally ill is broken. Our sadness is enormous.

chris said...

I do not understand how it is that in america, when something like this happens, we remember until the news stops printing the articles. If Americans are so sad by this then why are we not doing something to stop it? Why is it that we feel bad for people like this poor young man and then when we see a poor person on the streets, we ignore them. Are they any less important since they have yet to be shot. Seems to me that they are just another future police statistic.
My advice to people in the USA who read this and really do care, stop allowing it to happen. This is the 3rd shooting in a Oregon city in the last few weeks. The last 2 were cases where 6 or 7 police emptied their guns into the non moving, non aggressive victims. WHY is that necessary? And how can we call ourselves humane if we sit back and do nothing? Are this not our human brothers and sisters?

Kate said...

I grew up in the small town of Silverton, Oregon and lived in the Willamette Valley until just a few years ago. I can assure you that such incidents are a very very rare occurrence, especially in that very sleepy farming community of Silverton. Please note that they hadn't had a shooting there in over 20 years!

Please do not judge the rest of rural America by what is portrayed in the media. I found your comments and judgments unfair. I know that if the police officer in question is found at fault he will be subject to litigation. That of course won't bring the man who was shot back, but the police are subject to our laws just like the criminals they bring into justice.

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