- Video Games
DECEMBER 1, 2015
On November 15, 2015, a 24 year old black male, Jamar Clark, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was fatally shot by two Minneapolis City Police officers when Clark allegedly interfered with emergency responders helping an assault victim. Activists and some witnesses claim that Clark was unarmed and handcuffed when he was shot, although police deny that he was handcuffed. But the Minneapolis Police Department did admit Jamar Clark was unarmed.
While there have been large scale protests and a large number of civil disturbance arrests in the Minneapolis area (and also the incident where two alleged white supremacists shot five Black Lives Matters protesters); what makes the controversial shooting stand out even more is that Jamar Clark's death marked the 1,000th person to die in a police related incident in the United States since January 1, 2015.
And in the following two weeks since Clark's death; an additional 36 people have died in situations involving law enforcement agencies across the country. The total tally is 1,036 as of November 29.
In a comparison, 29 Americans have been killed by terror attacks around the world so far in 2015. Also for a related comparison, 39 American police officers have been murdered and 26 American police dogs have been killed in the U.S. so far in 2015 as well.
In West Virginia, 11 people have died in police incidents this year, ranking the state with its population of 1,850,326 for a total rank (per capita) of 6 / 51 states (including Puerto Rico); and a numerical rank total of 29 / 51.
In Ohio, 32 people have died in police incidents this year, ranking the state with its population of 11,594,163 for a total rank (per capita) of 30 / 51 states (including Puerto Rico); and a numerical rank total of 7 / 51.
In Kentucky, 17 people have died in police incidents this year, ranking the state with its population of 4,413,457 for a total rank (per capita) of 17 / 51 states (including Puerto Rico); and a numerical rank total of 24 / 51.
Of those 17 deaths in Kentucky for 2015, one of those deaths happened six months ago to the day in Louisa.
Billy Collins, Jr. death still 'under investigation'; no protests or national media coverage
On Friday night, May 29, 2015 at approximately 9:30 pm, Billy J. Collins Jr., 56. of Louisa, passed away during a violent altercation while in police custody at the Louisa Police station after being arrested for multiple charges when he allegedly caused a disturbance near the Lawrence County High School senior graduation ceremony.
A couple of hours before the deadly outcome at the police station, Sergeant Steven Wilburn, of the Louisa Police Department, was attending the Lawrence County High School Graduation when he reportedly observed a vehicle being operated by Billy Collins drive off the roadway, into a grassy area and continue into a ditch before getting stuck.
Sergeant Wilburn made contact with Collins and determined he was operating the motor vehicle with a suspended Kentucky Operator’s License and did not have proper vehicle insurance. Collins also began acting in an "inappropriate manner" by yelling and cursing toward individuals attending the graduation ceremony.
Collins was arrested and charged with Driving on a Suspended Kentucky Operator’s License, Failure to Maintain Insurance, and Disorderly Conduct.
Collins was then transported to the Louisa Police Department, where he allegedly began refusing to comply with all officer commands. Sergeant Wilburn called for assistance when Collins became combative, allegedly striking Sergeant Wilburn multiple times.
Collins then fled into the foyer area of the Louisa Police Department and barricaded himself inside the facility.
Additional officers with the Louisa Police Department responded to the scene to assist.One of the officers reportedly deployed his agency issued taser through a small crack in the door, striking Collins. The taser was ineffective and Collins removed the probes. Sergeant Wilburn was then able to gain access to the foyer through a secondary door. After failing again to comply with the commands of Sergeant Wilburn, he deployed his agency issued taser striking Collins. The taser was effective, but Collins continued to resist and would not comply with officer’s commands.
Officers on scene continued struggling with Collins and issued strikes with closed empty hands and also with their agency issued asp as Collins remained combative. After the struggle, Collins was restrained and placed in a seated position.
Officers quickly requested EMS respond to the Police Department and prior to their arrival Collins began exhibiting signs of a medical emergency. Netcare EMS provided medical assistance and transported Collins to Three Rivers Medical Center where he later died.
An autopsy was conducted on Billy Collins on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the State Medical Examiners Office in Frankfort, KY. The final report was pending while waiting for additional examination and was supposed to have been available to the public once complete, but it has not yet been released.
Prior medical issues were reviewed and examined as part of the autopsy and state police investigation, which revealed Billy Collins had reportedly suffered a heart attack two weeks prior to the arrest, which led to him having heart surgery and stints put into his heart but the police were not aware of his health problems.
At the time of Collins death, results of the preliminary investigation did not indicate criminal actions involving any law enforcement officers. The death remains under investigation by the Kentucky State Police, with Detective Christopher Carter the lead investigator.
After Collins death, Louisa Police Department Chief Greg A. Fugitt released an official statement: "The cause of death is still being investigated by the Kentucky State Police. The Louisa Police Department is fully cooperating with the KSP while they complete their investigation of this unfortunate event. Just so we do not interfere or impede with the ongoing investigation, any questions about the incident can be answered by the Kentucky State Police," Fugitt stated.
Fugitt then said in his final remark: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Collins during this time."
Billy Collins had long history of problems with police. Between April 2008 and final arrest in May 2015, he had been arrested 15 times for a total of 33 criminal charges and bench warrants.
One of Collins criminal arrests was a notorious incident in July 2012 when he when got out of the passenger side of a pickup truck and ran up to then Louisa mayor Ted Preston at his home and threw hot coffee on the mayor and ran. He later said the mayor had refused to have breakfast with him and that's why he did it. Preston was not seriously injured.
Collins was arrested by Louisa officer Steven Wilburn (the same officer he was arrested by and later assaulted in his current 2015 fatal arrest) on 3 charges and related to the incident with Mayor Preston
Billy J. Collins Jr. was born in Clearwater, Florida to the late Billy Collins Sr. and Judith Caldwell Collins. He was preceded in death by one brother, Jeffery Collins. He was survived by one son, Billy Joseph (Kayla) Collins of Louisa, KY, three daughters, Amanda (Timmy) Adkins of Louisa, KY, Kimberly Collins of Summerville, SC, and Shelly Collins of Louisa, KY, six grandchildren, one sister, Donna Johnson of Georgia, and two brothers, Mitch Collins and Mike Collins both of Virginia.
It has now been six months since Billy Collins death and there has not been any word of a final conclusive investigation report by the Kentucky State Police. Nor has there been national or even state media coverage of the incident.
The KSP promised to release the body camera videos of the altercation within a few weeks of Collins' death, which the State Police, as well as the Louisa P.D. and Lawrence County Sheriff Department said existed, but those videos have not been released to either family members or brought in front of a grand jury. This has led to questions by Collins' family and community members, that either the body cameras were never turned on, or were turned off before or shortly after the violence erupted, or possibly the cameras malfunctioned.
Because of Billy Collins family members refusing to speak officially to any media or press outlets, it is not known if Collins family has undertaken any legal civil lawsuit actions against the law enforcement that were involved in the episode.
The Levisa Lazer staff made written inquiries about the investigation three months ago to the Ashland Post of the KSP but no answers have been forthcoming.
NOVEMBER 30, 2015
While area residents (including yours truly, were loading and stuffing their stomachs on Thanksgiving; local fire fighters stopped a major disaster that could have led to a tragic number of casualties were it not for their efforts.
Just after 12 P.M. Thanksgiving day, Lawrence 911 received a call of a fuel tanker fire that had caught on fire at the Peach Orchard Mayo 7 coal mine on Route 2033 in southern Lawrence County.
The Cherryville Fire Department immediately responded to the scene, and once the units arrived, they discovered the situation was in an even more precarious explosive danger, as the flaming fuel tanker was parked next to several large ground fixed fuel storage tanks.
Cherryville hastily called for assistance from the Lomansville Fire Department, but they were then alerted that the Lomansville crews were out on a call from an hour earlier with Netcare EMS to an ATV accident on Lost Creek Road (luckily the ATV driver, Rex Ferguson, received only minor injuries).
Cherryville then requested assistance to Martin County for the Inez Fire Department. Inez fire crews arrived to the the mine soon thereafter, along with the freed up Lomansville fire fighting units. The Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency helped direct the operations of the fighting the truck fire.
All three fire departments spent the next several hours extinguishing the flames and suppressing the intense heat from spreading the fire and igniting the ground fuel tanks.
The were no injuries suffered in the extensive fire fighting operations at the coal mine.
NOVEMBER 29, 2015
A Louisa teenager who went missing for five days and had police on both sides of the Big Sandy looking for her turned herself in Saturday, Louisa Police Chief Greg Fugitt said.
"On November 28, 2015 at 2010 pm the missing/runaway juvenile has been located safe when she turned herself in to Chief Greg Fugitt. We would like to thank everyone for all their assistance in this matter." Fufitt said in a prepared statement to the Lazer.
Bobbie Sue Clay disappeared on Tuesday evening and a missing persons alert was issued. Fugitt did not give details as to where Ms. Clay had been or if she was held against her will.
He also did not say if any charges will be filed in the incident.
NOVEMBER 26 (THANKSGIVING DAY), 2015
Police in the Louisa/Lawrence County area, along with law enforcement in the Fort Gay/Wayne County area, are searching for a Louisa teenager who was reported missing Tuesday.
Bobbie Sue Clay, age 16 of Louisa, was last seen Tuesday in the area of the Louisa Budget Inn motel
The Louisa Police Department reportedly stated that Bobby Sue Clay is possibly in the Fort Gay, West Virginia area.
Bobbie Sue Clay given description is a 5 foot 5 inches tall; weighing 135 lbs, and that she has long auburn/red hair.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Ms. Bobby Sue Clay, please contact the Louisa Police Department at 606-638-4058 or the Kentucky State Police at 800-222-5555 or dial 911 in Lawrence County or Wayne County.