Did Police Excessive Force Lead to Death of Stockton Bank Hostage?

The family of 41-year-old Misty Holt-Singh believe Stockton police officers used excessive force in pursuit of bank robbers on July 16, leading to Misty’s death. Several men held up a Stockton Bank of the West, taking three hostages with them as they fled. Misty, a mother of two, was shot and killed by police gunfire.

As the robbers and their hostages drove from the scene of the crime, police gave chase through the streets of Stockton. Officers shot over 600 bullets into the vehicle carrying three innocent people: Misty and two bank employees.

Although the criminals were heavily armed, it’s difficult to understand how police officers could participate in a shootout through uncleared streets. This was a terrible risk, not only for the three hostages, but also for the public at large. The bank robbers put the hostages in harm’s way, but the Stockton police department did little to protect them.

Misty was killed by police gunfire as the last remaining gunman (and only surviving suspect) used her as a human shield. She was struck by 10 bullets. The two other hostages survived by jumping or being thrown from the SUV while it sped through town. Given the amount of bullets flying, they were lucky not to have also been hit by police gunfire.

Unsurprisingly, the department is defending the actions of responding officers. The police chief has asked that an independent foundation do a thorough review of the incident.

For the sake of the family, we hope the investigation is open, honest, and can come up with changes in protocol to prevent a similar incident. It’s a tragedy when the police who are in our communities to serve and protect put us at risk instead.

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