Miami Cannibal Rudy Eugene: Did The Cops Really Need To Shoot This Guy?
Yesterday, we published some pretty horrific photos that supposedly are of the "face" of "Miami Zombie" victim Ronald Poppo. They are, quite frankly, some of the most vomit-inducing images we've ever seen.
Poppo is in critical condition and is reportedly expected to survive -- despite having much of his face gnawed off during the 18-minute cannibalistic attack that conspiracy theorists already are claiming is the latest sign of the "zombie apocalypse."
As for alleged cannibal Rudy Eugene -- who has since become the poster-boy for the anti-bath salts campaign (while it hasn't been confirmed, "experts" suspect Eugene was under the influence of bath salts during the attack) -- he's dead as a door nail, fatally shot in a "hail" of police bullets.
Various local media reports describe the shooting as follows: cops show up and find Eugene eating Poppo's face. They tell him to stop. He does (sort of -- more on that below). Bang, bang, bang -- Eugene's dead.
Eugene, mind you, was completely naked at the time, and completely unarmed.
Trust us, we realize that suggesting anyone was out of line to shoot a man who is literally eating another man's face is a hard sell. But the fact remains: the cops shot an unarmed man.
As we've chronicled, cops love Tasers -- sometimes a little too much. Seems like a naked, unarmed man chewing on another guy's face might be the opportune time to whip out the "non-deadly force" -- or a boot to the face, or a baton to the skull, etc. But -- according to local media accounts -- that didn't happen; the officers told him to stop and then fired.
It could be argued that the officers noticed that Eugene was potentially taking another man's life (which he'd been doing for nearly 18 minutes before they showed up), and used deadly force to save Poppo. An eye-witness account, however, describes the interaction Eugene had with the officers as follows: "The guy just stood, his head up like
that, with pieces of flesh in his mouth. And he growled." Then police started shooting.
The whole growling and chewing flesh thing aside, Eugene was no longer attacking Poppo when police shot him, according to the eyewitness, and was no longer a threat that couldn't be handled non-fatally by well-trained law enforcement officers.
We're somewhat on the fence here -- we're no fans of cannibals, but we're also not fans of cops shooting people who don't need to be shot.
We want to know what you think, though: did the cops really need to shoot Eugene?
Cast your vote below.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.