After nearly a month on the run after breaking out of a maximum-security prison in Upstate New York, convicted murder David Sweat was shot on last week by a New York state trooper and apprehended. Two days earlier fellow convicted murderer and escapee Richard Matt was shot dead by a federal agent nearby. While Governor Andrew Cuomo was quick to label Sergeant Jay Cook, who shot and captured Sweat, a “hero” — a claim that was repeated by CNN, the Daily News, Time and many other outlets — there was no serious analysis about whether Cook’s use of lethal force was legally justified.
The Associated Press published “Trooper had law on his side when he shot unarmed escapee” (6/29/15), which was widely reprinted nationally and internationally. The article makes the case appear definitively open and shut.
“A state trooper had the law on his side when he shot unarmed prison escapee David Sweat, apparently in the back, as the convicted killer ran toward a forest near the Canadian border,” the AP wrote.