Law/Justice

Judge: Police Can’t Blame a Bystander for a Cop Killing Another Cop

By Billy Binion, Reason

It was unconstitutional to charge Jenna Holm with manslaughter. But the state wanted to protect its own.

An Idaho judge has dismissed a manslaughter charge against a woman after she was accused of killing a police officer who was killed by another police officer.

In May of last year, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Maser died after his colleague, Sergeant Randy Flegel, accidentally hit him with his police cruiser. In response, the state decided someone needed to pay—and they zeroed in on Jenna Holm, the woman lying on the ground nearby.

It is uncontested that Holm did not kill Maser, having just been tased repeatedly. The officers were trying to help Holm navigate what may have been a mental health crisis, in which Holm had been wielding a machete. (For their part, her attorneys contend she kept the machete for protection in the rural area where her car had broken down.) Though she did not harm any of the officers, Deputy Benjamin Bottcher, another cop on the scene, had to tase her for around a full minute in order to subdue her. After she fell to the ground, Maser crossed the street to handcuff her, at which point Flegel drove into the deputy as he arrived in his car.

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