Saturday 20 January 2018

Suspect flags down farmer to call 911 after double police killing

Scott Michael Greene, 46, was taken into custody for the fatal shooting of two Des Moines area police officers. Photo: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register via AP
Scott Michael Greene, 46, was taken into custody for the fatal shooting of two Des Moines area police officers. Photo: Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register via AP

Harriet Alexander

An apparent white supremacist who had argued with police over his right to carry a Confederate flag was yesterday identified as the main suspect in the "ambush-style" murder of two Iowa police officers who were both shot while sitting in their patrol cars.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired in the early hours of yesterday, and at 1:06am found Urbandale police officer Justin Martin who had been shot and killed.

About 20 minutes later they discovered that a Des Moines officer, Sgt Anthony Beminio, who had responded to the initial report of an officer down, had also been shot dead in a patrol car at a crossroads. Both victims were white.

The shootings happened less than two miles apart, and both took place along main streets that cut through residential areas.

Scott Michael Greene (46) was arrested yesterday morning after he waved down a tractor on a country road and asked the driver to call the emergency services.

Police arrived and Greene, from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines, identified himself, and said he had "an existing medical condition that was flaring up", said Des Moines police spokesman Sgt Paul Parizek.

He was taken to hospital and remains in police custody.

Authorities said Greene had been removed from a football match last month at a high school near the scene of the shootings after he claimed his Confederate flag was stolen by other spectators.

A YouTube film of the incident showed him brandishing the Confederate flag at black people during the football game.

The video, filmed on October 14, was entitled: "Police Abuse, Civil Rights Violation at Urbandale High School."

The description reads: "This is an assault on a person exercising his constitution rights on free speech!"

A comment under the video, apparently by Greene, said he was angry at "black people not standing for the national anthem".

There has been a growing black rights protest movement in America, with several high-profile sportspeople refusing to stand for the national anthem at games.


Greene had also previously been arrested, in April 2014, when he resisted an attempt by officers to pat him down for weapons.Greene was "non-compliant, hostile, combative and made furtive movements toward his pockets" before the arrest, officer Chris Greenfield wrote in the complaint.

Greene pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge. Two days later he reportedly threatened to kill a man in the car park of an apartment complex and was charged with first-degree harassment.

He allegedly approached a man in the car park, shone a torch in his eyes, called him the N-word and said: "I will kill you, f------ kill you."

He pleaded guilty to a lesser harassment charge and was sentenced to one year of probation.

The shootings follow a spate of police killings, including ambushes of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Five officers were killed in Dallas on July 7 and three were killed later that month in Baton Rouge.

At a news conference, Sgt Parizek said of the victims: "They are our friends and co-workers.

"Des Moines is not a big city. We all know each other. We're heartbroken."

Sgt Chad Underwood of Urbandale police said he believed it was the first time an officer in his department had been shot in the line of duty, and the first time a Des Moines police officer had been shot and killed on duty since 1977. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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