Things somehow turned very ugly on Thursday morning when two Pennsylvania state constables attempted to serve a man with a warrant because the man had accumulated 31 unpaid parking tickets.
The two law enforcement officials approached the man, Kevin McCullers, in the garage at his residence in a suburb of Allentown, reports The Express-Times. It was about 7:30 in the morning.
McCullers’s girlfriend, Hafeezah Muhammad, told NBC Philadelphia he was in the car because he was headed to Dunkin’ Donuts.
The constables positioned themselves on both sides of McCullers’s car. One of them told McCullers to turn the car off, and he did. There was a short conversation. Then, according to Lehigh County district attorney James Martin, one of the constables opened the driver’s side door of the car.
McCullers responded to this action by restarting the car. He began backing out of the garage with the car door ajar. With that, the district attorney said, the two constables drew their guns and began shooting.
One constable shot McCullers, 38, in the back. The other one shot out the vehicle’s left front tire.
One of the constables told Martin they pulled out their guns and shot the unarmed McCullers because they felt threatened while standing in his garage as he fled.
Muhammad, the girlfriend, noted that the constables could have walked up to the door of their residence to serve the warrant.
“They never knocked on the door! No nothing,” she told NBC Philadelphia. “I just heard the gunshots! He pulled the car out of the garage and all I heard were gunshots,” she told the NBC station
Muhammad indicated that McCullers may never walk again.
“For parking tickets?” she said. “It’s insane.”
Martin, the district attorney, expressed concern about the fact that a constable – an elected state official — shot a man and possibly left him paralyzed over some unpaid parking tickets.
He promised a full investigation into the use of deadly force and, possibly, criminal charges against the constables.
The district attorney also suggested that the position of constable — a Pennsylvania oddity, of sorts — is troubling because people who hold the job are poorly prepared and largely unaccountable.
“Although they receive training, they really operate under no one’s direct supervision,” he told NBC Philadelphia. “And that I wish was something that could be cured.”
At the same time, Martin refused to identify either constable. He also took the opportunity to suggest that the shooting incident might not have occurred had McCullers entered into a payment plan to pay the money he owed.
Meanwhile, McCullers has been admitted at a local hospital.