City Desk

The Killing Fields of NoVa…

I wrote a column this week about the killing of Sal Culosi, shot three years ago last weekend by Fairfax County SWAT officer Deval Bullock. At the time of his death, Culosi was under investigation for sports betting.

Nobody was ever charged with any crimes in either the gambling investigation or the killing of Culosi, who was unarmed when he was gunned down in front of his house.

Culosi's death came during what felt like a spree of deadly and indictment-free police shootings in Northern Virginia.

Just five days before Culosi's killing, a civil jury had awarded the family of Prince Jones $3.7 million in a wrongful death suit.

Jones, an unarmed Howard U. student, was shot five times in the back in a Falls Church driveway in September 2000 by an undercover Prince George's County cop, Carlton Jones (no relation).

Fairfax County prosecutor Robert Horan, who later wouldn't bring charges in Culosi's killing, didn't charge Prince Jones' killer, either.

And only a month after Culosi was killed, unarmed 19-year-old Aaron Brown of Annandale was shot and killed in the parking lot of an International House of Pancakes by Carl Stowe, an off-duty Alexandria police officer.

Brown was in the backseat of a car full of friends who were accused of trying to run out without paying a $26 check when Stowe fired the fatal shot into the side of the vehicle.

Had one of the restaurant's waiters or short order cooks gunned down a patron under the exact same circumstances, murder indictments would surely have followed. No charges were filed against Stowe, who was working at the IHOP as a security guard when he killed Brown.

Stowe's other employer, the city of Alexandria, paid a $1.1 million settlement to Brown's family.

In Greece, one such police shooting — the killing in December of an unarmed 19-year-old student by an Athens cop — sparked a month of riots that has left governments all over Europe afraid.

Other than some quiet protests organized by some of Jones' Howard classmates, the three Northern Virginia killings inspired no civil disobedience.

Perhaps that's why these things happen more around here?

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  • http://www.justiceforsal.com Caby Smith

    I've been sitting here in front of my computer since 4am wondering why I didn't do more to let the County know that the killing of Dr. Culosi would not be tolerated... instead of action, I sat dehind this same computer and fired off emails to county official, thinking I was making a difference, proud of my involvement. Now I feel ashamed at my complete lack of action, and my misplaced trust in the system sworn to protect us all.

  • John

    Evidently the Greeks are more courageous in their defense of liberty than the descendants of George Washington and Samuel Adams.

  • Simon

    It gets worse. See Niese v. City of Alexandria, http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1012007.pdf . Woman gets repeatedly raped by on-duty Alexandria police officer, in uniform, who only had access to her because he was on an investigation; city gets off without a scratch.

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