Thursday, March 23, 2006

No Justice for Sal Today

This site is dedicated to the memory of our beloved son of 37 years, Dr. Salvatore J. Culosi. Sal was unjustly shot and killed by a member of the Fairfax County, VA police SWAT team on January 24, 2006. Sal was under investigation by Fairfax County police for supposedly taking sports bets. Police sent a fully-armed, paramilitary SWAT team to his home to serve a documents search warrant and killed him with a .45 Heckler & Koch handgun – a powerful weapon typically used by U.S. military forces in combat. Sal was alone, unarmed and cooperative outside his home - in plain view when he was shot and killed. He had no criminal history and did not own a weapon.

Sal was the most gentle and kindhearted human being. He had his whole life ahead of him. He was contributing to the community as an Optometrist. His practice at the WAL*MART’s in Warrenton and Manassas were established. His friends and patients are as saddened and outraged as we are that something so senseless could happen to our Sal.

A week ago today, our family decided we wanted to launch a blog site to keep the public informed on the status of the investigation into Sal’s death. For two months we’ve had no answers and we still don’t have answers. Our family and friends, Sal’s friends and patients and people we have never met from all over Fairfax County, VA and the country have come out of the woodwork wanting to help somehow right this terrible wrong. This site will provide resources for doing just that.

Our family was working really hard this morning - putting the finishing touches on the site so we could share it with you tomorrow - two months to the day that Sal was killed. Just before noon, we learned that Commonwealth Attorney, Robert Horan, would be announcing that charges would not be brought against the still unnamed officer who unjustly shot and killed Sal. Needless to say, we are devastated. We do not understand how Mr. Horan came to the conclusion that there is no evidence to bring criminal charges.

Our family is regrouping right now, but tomorrow, we will begin uploading more information to the site. Please stay tuned and come back! We will use this site to share what we learn with the public on exactly what happened to Sal.

There will be no Justice for Sal until the full details of what happened are publicly disclosed, those who are responsible are held accountable for their actions, and police policies and tactics are changed to prevent another senseless tragedy like this from happening again.

Please keep Sal and our family in your thoughts and prayers.

Salvatore J. and Anita Culosi
Proud Parents of Dr. Salvatore J. Culosi

16 comments:

Chug-A-Bug said...

My heart goes out to you.

Nothing can bring back your son, but hopefully your quest for justice will prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future.

reconphil said...

This is typical of the "above the law" mentality of the police. What if a civilian had done that? You'd never see the light of day. It is also indicative of the OVERUSE of SWAT. SWAT on a gambling bust? Why? SWAT is supposed to be a repsonse to highly dangerous criminals. We should worry about the number of SWAT teams out there. Typical of any para-military organization, if you train to do these things you are anxious to "validate" your training by going into action. It is an obvious abuse of power.

JBR said...

H&K makes some of the finest firearms in the world. THey are not Saturday night specials and they do not go off by themselves and they do not go off by being raised quickly. An Iver Johnson? Maybe. An H&K? No way!

Bob Horan said it himself. These officers are trained to keep their finger straight. That means outside the trigger guard. But Sal was shot. That can only mean one thing. The officer had his finger on the trigger and applied enough force to it to discharge the firearm. This is clear negligence and should be prosecuted.

By the way, the same thing happened about 20 years ago. A female Fairfax Co. police officer fatally shot a suspect sitting in the front seat of a pickup truck. She said she was startled when he "suddenly appeared at the window." The thing is, if you have your finger outside the trigger guard, being startled will not result in a discharge. She, also, was not prosecuted.

Katrina said...

Dear Culosi Family,
You know that I am always here for you and if I can do anything please let me know. I watched the news last night and it sickened me. I know that you are strong and will keep pursuing this.
I still can not believe how this happened and was sure that the officer would be brought to some sort of justice, even though it was an "accident". I just can't believe it. Don't give up on this. And as I always say "Give em hell!"

Jason said...

Hello.

Sorry for you loss.

You need to file a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Fairfax County Police is currently receiving federal funds through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program run by the DOJ. Any department receiving funds under this program falls within the jurisdiction of the DOJ. Pittsburg, PA has already been slammed by the DOJ for getting out of hand while receiving COPS grant money. Although the DOJ has jurisdiction over Fairfax County they will not start an investigation unless they receive a complaint.

If you need more info please contact me at rawiron1@yahoo.com.

http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/

Jason

**** said...

I'm outraged by Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Horan's determination that Fairfax County SWAT officer Deval V. Bullock is above the law after shooting and killing the unarmed Dr. Salvatore Culosi while serving a document search warrant in January.

This County-described "highly-trained officer" clearly showed recklessness and criminal negligence in his actions when he purposefully chose to place his finger on the trigger. He showed negligence when he purposefully chose to aim his gun at Dr. Culosi. He showed negligence by not only choosing to ignore his department's policies and training, but to purposefully ignore the most basic of gun safety rules that even children learn.

In fact, a review of the Virginia Magistrates Manual on Criminal Law
www.courts.state.va.us/ed/resources/magman/criminallaw.pdf clearly illustrates how even "accidental" shootings may be criminally negligent because a reasonably prudent person should realize what constitutes a dangerous act and should exercise greater care. Certainly an officer with 17 years experience would fall into the bucket of "a prudent person." Given examples like that, and similar shooting incidents involving civilians in the Commonwealth that have resulted in criminal charges, it's mind boggling to determine how Mr. Horan could have come to his decision.

The Commonwealth's Attorney has done the public a great disservice by failing to hold this officer responsible for his actions and to bring the issue in front of a jury. One can only hope the Fairfax County Police department, which is still conducting an internal review, won't allow officer Bullock to continue to serve in a capacity where he is able to interact with the public and make the same mistakes twice.

Windypundit said...

I've been following this story via Radley Balko's blog. It makes me sick the way Sal and your family have been treated. I hope that somehow, some way, everybody responsible gets what they've got coming.

Jeremy said...

I am thoroughly disgusted with the paramilitary attitudes and activities of law enforcement. I live in a county where the police department describes itself as a "paramilitary organization". Thank you for putting together the blog and please let me know if I can provide in web site assistance. Also, I'm not too far from NoVA so if there are any vigils or protests please let me know.

Wm Babbington USMC said...

As a US Marine, with the Expert Pistol Badge (6th Award) and also trained by the LAPD SWAT team in Close Quarter Battle I can assure Fairfax County Attorney Horan that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge of a handgun. When a handgun unintentionally discharges it is negligence not an accident. Regardless of Officer Bullock's past record what he did to Mr. Culosi was not an accident it was an act of negligence at the least which cannot be dismissed as proper conduct in the line of duty. At the minimum this act reflects poorly on the training and conduct of Officer Bullock and the Fairfax County Police. It is a disservice to the citizens of Fairax County for Mr Horan to call this act an accident and dismiss all criminal and administrative action against Officer Bullock and his superiors.

WM Babbington
USMC

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt said...

Dear Culosi family,

I'm a Washington area law student. I'm outraged that the man responsible isn't being charged. If there's a way for those of us who care to help you attain justice, please let us know as soon as possible.

kimberly said...

I am so sorry to hear about your son and his death at the hands of the FCPD. I have lived in this county most of my life and I am just blown away. I can't imagine that they would be this irresponsible to send in the SWAT team for a simple warrant for a simple gambling charge. Sal didn't have any criminal record in the past. They overreacted in this case and this cop needs to pay for his actions even if it was an accident. He knew better than to work all those hours and have his finger on the trigger. I just hope that something good can come from all the pain that this family and community is going through.

kimberly said...

I am so sorry to hear about your son and his death at the hands of the FCPD. I have lived in this county most of my life and I am just blown away. I can't imagine that they would be this irresponsible to send in the SWAT team for a simple warrant for a simple gambling charge. Sal didn't have any criminal record in the past. They overreacted in this case and this cop needs to pay for his actions even if it was an accident. He knew better than to work all those hours and have his finger on the trigger. I just hope that something good can come from all the pain that this family and community is going through.

Gabriel said...

At the very least, Moran has run a shotty and corrupt department for years and is a key part of Bar Association corruption in F.F. County. Moran may have let the officer off so that he can collect on the "favor" later. Our courts are becoming increasingly corrupt every day and if we citizens are too busy to get involved, thousands more will be falsely imprisoned and some will be killed. Lewis Barber stood up against this same corruption, and was killed by the Alexandria Police last April with his 9 yr old son nearby. The true evidence was clearly covered up. Some of our best officers are quitting, because they are assigned to arrest innocent citizens in a process of using their force and our courts for purposes of financial extortion. Moran ran for his office, unopposed. Candidates would have to be lawyers and subject to the will of private clubs called bar associations. Justice in F.F. County simply hasn't been possible for years. We have the wrong impression from what we see in the media. It is all about financial extortion.
Send your complaint to The State Attorney General, the FBI, and don't give up.

David Jernigan said...

Being the 4yr old that rode thru the plateglass window and over the cars with bigwheels, handcuffed the annoying kid to a tree and had my cousin stripped and swimming in a flooded basement I was deeply upset when I heard what happened to my childhood friend. It is a tragedy and my heart goes out to you Sal and Anita and your family. If there is anything that my family can do for you please let me know Love to you all David Jernigan

Sean O’Tuathaigh said...

God bless, hang in there