Editor’s Note: This is part 3 of a three part series about Corey Kanosh. It is recommended that you read the other two parts first, in order, prior to reading this one. For Part 1, CLICK HERE. For Part 2, CLICK HERE.
Among other things, I’ve been getting a real education about what it means to be a “P.O.S.” It’s a funny thing, I frequently use acronyms and abbreviations, but that’s one I had never used before. I was well-acquainted with the full phrase — “Piece Of Shit” — and over the course of my lifetime, I have used it to refer to all kinds of inanimate objects, like cars, computers, cellphones, mostly stuff that breaks down and doesn’t work.
A Sure Sign Your Car Might be a POS.
But in my entire life, I had never used that phrase to refer to another human being. The closest I had ever come to that was the phrase “piece of work.” But this new phrase, has now taken on a whole new meaning for me.
In most contexts “POS” stands for “point of sale.” It relates to Point of Sale hardware, software, etc. In business, it’s a very big deal.
In the urban dictionary, however, I found this: “POS: 1) Piece Of Shit; 2) an abbreviation some companies use for Positively Outstanding Service. I.e., “If you would clean that POS off the floor, that would really be a demonstration of POS. Hell, I’d promote you!” Even then, no reference to a person. I did learn, however, that it is also the nickname of a Rapper, which probably shouldn’t be any big surprise. Maybe that’s why it has become so popular.
Why am I even talking about this? This week, with the help of some of the comments that came in (including some that were so rank that they weren’t approved), I learned that POS is a very commonly used phrase and concept among local law enforcement and MCSD personnel. As I started getting into this, I was also given the opportunity to review some very interesting previous comments to that were never posted, as well as comments to articles that are not currently online — using, among other things, e-mail addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org.” and vice versa, “email@example.com.” And I was shown the local law enforcement connections to most of the vitriol that has been spewn against the Pahvant Post, that concentrated on three main groups of articles: starting with the stories about Oz Balfour, then picking up again with the series of stories about Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox, and then again with this series of stories about Corey Kanosh. There have been others too — primarily anything that involves law enforcement or a law enforcement theme — but those are the main ones. The message is pretty clear: if you criticize anything MCSD does, be prepared for some pretty rank attacks.
What does this specifically have to do with Corey Kanosh? Well, it actually helps to explain a lot of things, and not just about Corey, but also about his family, and his people, and how they have been treated. And I have gotten a pretty good taste of it myself, now, with the realization that I too am viewed and referred to by many in local law enforcement as a POS for simply saying something other than what they want to hear. Contrary to what some people would say, this has nothing to do with being a criminal, or having a rap sheet. I have never had an arrest or conviction of any kind, and I haven’t even had a speeding ticket in over 10 years (knock on wood — okay, there was that parking ticket about 8 years ago).
But I started to realize what it means. If you’re considered a POS, you’re scum. You’re a real bad dude (or dudette, as in my case). Depending on who’s saying it, you may be considered to be the lowest form of substance in existence. It’s just not possible to go any lower. But what does it take to be considered a POS, by “the system,” the people in it, and especially by law enforcement? Not much apparently. Certainly, getting in trouble and having a rap sheet can get you there. But so will just being a mother, sister, brother or family of someone who has been in trouble. The color of your skin and where you live will also get you there. And so will exercising your freedom of speech and expression. Just start asking the wrong kind of questions and you’ll quickly and automatically be labeled POS. Standing up, speaking out, and challenging the status quo, will definitely get you there. All it takes is to start asking a few questions. If you don’t bow down and worship the powers that be, and treat them like royalty, you’re POS. If you view government officials and law enforcement officers as public servants, who should be acting transparently, with full accountability to the people, you will be viewed, treated and referred to as POS because of your views. It’s quite a racket they’ve got going, because the last thing in the world most people want to be viewed, referred to, and treated like is POS.
In my case, according to some of my sources (not to mention comments the PP has received), one of the things it also means is that I am public enemy number one at MCSD. Rather than see if there is something useful that can be learned or gleaned by what you have to say, you’re considered to be the enemy. Based on what it has meant for others who have fit in that category, that could mean open season and shoot on sight. Really comforting thoughts.
Now I’m going to address some of the specific comments to my piece last week. As I mentioned, Millard County sought and obtained a protective order seeking to keep any and all information about the Corey Kanosh case under wraps. In one of the comments, it was suggested that might be because of pending litigation. What I have learned is that there is no currently pending litigation. Corey’s family originally filed a lawsuit fairly quickly, back in December, 2012, mostly because they couldn’t get any answers from the Millard County Sheriff. Nothing. Nada.
The night Corey was shot, Sheriff Dekker went to Marlene Pikyavit’s house very briefly, just long enough to tell her that Corey had been shot. He said he would be back to talk to her more about it. But he never came back. In the two years since it happened, he has never been back. He has never talked to Corey’s mother and Corey’s family about it. He has never offered to provide answers, apologies, or even condolences. Now, here come the questions, and here’s the first one. WHY?
Since writing the piece last week, I have actually had some of my questions answered. I have had a confidential informant step forward — the same one who provided much of the information about the Deputy Fox case — and answer some of my questions, and provide me with access to a considerable amount of information. Because of the protective order, however, I’m not comfortable sharing or disclosing much of that information. But that doesn’t stop me from asking questions. All I can say is, no wonder MSCD wants to keep the wraps on it and prevent the public from knowing what really happened. And now I also know why the sheriff hasn’t been back to talk to them — he doesn’t associate with or talk to POS.
Another question in the comments was why didn’t Officer Josse use his Taser or other non-lethal force? Good question, and I have learned some of the answers. Many departments authorize the use of pepper spray in such situations too. But this raises an even bigger question: was Officer Josse even prepared to deal with that situation? What was MCSD’s use of force policy? Had Officer Josse been properly equipped, trained, and educated? And now here are some even bigger questions that tie into some of the other questions I was asking last week.
I think many of us have assumed that Officer Josse made many of the fundamental decisions on his own, but do we know that for sure? For example, the decision to pursue Corey, as the Native American passenger, versus Dana as the white driver, is that a decision Officer Josse made by himself, or is that what he was directed to do by others in the chain of command, including Sgt. Corry, as the officer in charge? What other kinds of decisions did Sgt. Corry and the chain of command make?
Let’s go back to where we left off. For a variety of reasons that we can discuss until our panties are bunched tightly in a wad, Officer Josse and Corey got into a wrestling match. Apparently Corey wasn’t just messing around, and he scared Officer Josse to the point that he claims he thought he might not survive the altercation. As I’ve said before, I’m not going to second guess that. He might have been right.
But what happened then? Was Corey dead? Were the gunshot wounds fatal? Of course Corey died, so they must have been fatal, right? But there may also be more to the story. What kind of medical attention did Corey receive, and when did he receive it?
Just because a person is shot doesn’t mean they are automatically going to die. I personally knew a man who took five bullets in the stomach, and still lived another 40 years, until he was 90.
Based on what has already been disclosed publicly, let’s see if we can get a handle on what happened after Officer Josse shot Corey. From what I understand, Officer Peacock and his police dog arrived just as Officer Josse was crawling out from underneath Corey, who he claims collapsed and fell on him after he was shot twice in the lower torso, from the hip. And Sgt. Corry was right behind. He had been in Meadow, just a few miles away when he received word that Officer Josse had spotted the car on the North side of Kanosh, and chased it to the reservation. Some have claimed that he was at the convenience story in Meadow getting a donut, and may not have left immediately, but that’s another one of those questions we’ll probably never get answers to. What we can assume is that, as the officer in charge, he was in charge, and was in constant radio communication with the other officers, and arrived on the scene very shortly after Officer Peacock and his K9.
The very first officer to arrive and find Corey and Officer Josse was Officer K9, Peacock’s police dog. Did you know that police dogs are considered to be officers? It’s something good to know, because from what I understand, if you shoot at one or treat it badly, that offense can be treated and prosecuted as if you had done the same to an actual officer. One of the problems is that dog training is not an exact science. I’m a dog lover, so believe me, I know. And in this case, apparently Officer Peacock’s K9 became confused, and started attacking Officer Josse. From what I understand, the dog chewed him up pretty good. For a few minutes, Officer Josse wasn’t having a very good day. He got called from patrolling the blessed “West side” of the county, to come to the so-called “East side” which is considered by the West side to be the armpit of Millard County. He was called specifically to go look for Marlene Pikyavit’s car. And that raises more good questions. Was he looking for the car, or specifically for Corey Kanosh? Anyway, he was called from the West side, to cross the tracks and go not just to the East side, but to Kanosh (home of the Kanosh Crazies, and thought by some to be the next City of Enoch, and others to be the inner sanctum of Hell). Next thing he knows he’s in a foot chase with a drunk Indian. Then he tries to wrestle the Indian but quickly learns that what he’s really dealing with is a mad, cornered bear, that he claims grabbed him by the throat. At that point his day had really gone to Hell in a handbasket, so he tries to make the best of it by shooting the bear, only to be attacked by a dog. I hate to make light of it, but if I’m Officer Josse, about that point I’ve got to be asking some questions of my own — like why did I even bother to get up today? This would have been a really good day to call in with the Blue Flu.
Apparently one of the consequences of not calling in sick was that Officer Josse was mistaken by the dog for a “really bad dude” and chewed up pretty good. And that appears to have become the side show. From that point on, the focus shifts from Corey Kanosh, who has has been shot in the stomach, to Officer Josse who has been attacked by a dog. So did Corey become an afterthought? It appears that all energy was then focused on Officer Josse and providing him with medical attention.
EMTs and at least two ambulances were summoned to the scene. The first to arrive were first responders, including EMTs from the Kanosh Fire Dept. But they were held back and not allowed to evaluate or treat Corey for some time. How long were they held back? Why were they held back? What was the reason for the delay? What, if any, medical attention did Corey receive?
Some have suggested that the EMTs were held back to make sure that Corey had bled out, and was good and dead before they were given access. Under that theory the last thing MCSD would want to do was have the EMTs save, revive or resuscitate a POS. That’s one thing about it, if you are a POS and happen to get shot, the last thing they want to do is try to save you. So what were the EMTs allowed to do? What, if any, medical attention did the EMT’s provide for Corey? Did they attempt to resuscitate him? If not, why not? Who was directing them? When was Corey pronounced dead? By whom was he pronounced dead? Was the person who made that pronouncement qualified to make such determinations?
Even if we assume that by the time the EMT’s were finally allowed to have access to Corey he appeared to have already expired (whatever that means, if it is not officially pronounced by one qualified to make such pronouncement), from what I understand, the following quote is the medical standard that applies to such situations:
When presented with a pulseless patient, medical professionals are REQUIRED to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unless specific conditions are met which allow them to pronounce the patient as deceased. For example, in most places, these are examples of such criteria:
Injuries not compatible with life. These include but are not necessarily limited to decapitation or other catastrophic brain trauma, incineration, severed body, and injuries that do not permit effective administration of CPR. If a patient is presenting with any of these conditions, it should be intuitively obvious that the patient is non-viable.
Rigor mortis, indicating that the patient has been dead for at least a few hours. Rigor mortis can sometimes be difficult to determine, so it is often used reported along with other determining factors.
Lividity, indicating that the body has been pulseless and in the same position long enough for blood to sink and collect within the body, creating purplish discolorations at the lowest points of the body (with respect to gravity).
Stillbirth. If it can be determined without a doubt that an infant died prior to birth, as indicated by skin blisters, an unusually soft head, and an extremely offensive odor, resuscitation should not be attempted. If there is even the slightest hope that the infant is viable, CPR should be initiated; some jurisdictions maintain that life-saving efforts should be attempted on all infants to assure parents that all possible actions were performed to save their child, futile as the medical professionals may have known them to be.
Identification of valid do not resuscitate orders.
If the EMTs were not allowed to treat or attempt to resuscitate Corey, which, if any, of these conditions applied?
From what I have been told, under such circumstances, MCSD had a constitutional duty to provide Corey with prompt and reasonable medical attention. From what I understand, the constitutional standard in such situations boils down to this question: “Did the officers act with deliberate indifference to Corey’s serious medical needs?” Just another serious question in a long line of unanswered questions. If it was your son or daughter, brother or sister, who this happened to, wouldn’t you be asking similar questions? Don’t people, especially families, deserve answers? Doesn’t the public deserve transparency and accountability from its “public servants?”
Because, with the protective order in place, there is only so much that can be said about the Corey Kanosh case, to help better explain what is going on and how this sort of thing works, I would like to compare it to another case that one of my colleagues at the Post shared with me. That case likewise involved a Native American man, in West Valley City.
Brandon Chief, another young Native American man, was 21 years old when he was shot and killed by WVC officers in December, 2010. Brandon wasn’t perfect. He’d had some trouble as a minor, and had a juvenile record for things like truency, shoplifting, substance abuse, etc. But he didn’t have any convictions as an adult. One evening he got into an argument with his teenage niece. Although it is undisputed that she was the aggressor and initiated the altercation that led to pushing, shoving, pulling hair, and basically acting like immature idiots, in an attempt to one-up her uncle, she called 9-1-1. She had no idea what a chain of events her call would put in motion.
While she was talking to the 9-1-1 operator, there was a separate police radio dispatch conversation going on. An officer was assigned to go investigate. Another officer keyed into the radio conversation, and said that, based on the address, the suspect would be Brandon Chief, a young Native American, with “history,” who was also known to own a rifle. Based on this information, two more officers were also assigned to assist with the response. And based on the fact that the suspect had history (was a POS), and might have access to a rifle of some sort, they treated the assignment like an active shooter response situation. When they arrived at the house, the niece was standing safely in the driveway still talking to the 9-1-1 operator. By their own admission, they didn’t talk to her longer than a second before bursting into the house without knocking and without a warrant. They entered the house in single file “stick formation.” When they encountered Brandon, he turned around and started going the other direction, retreating away from them toward a bedroom.
The officer first in line, who shot Brandon testified that he told Brandon to stop and turn around, and that when he did, he had a small kitchen paring knife in his hand. So the officer fired four shots, three of which hit Brandon. The only thing the other officers could/would say is that they couldn’t really see what had happened.
Now here’s the interesting part. The officer testified that from the time Brandon turned around to face him, they were always facing each other, and because he felt like he was faced with a threat, he was justified in shooting Brandon. But what the ballistics and autopsy reports showed is that Brandon was shot twice in the side and once in the back. The case was analogized to a car chase case in Colorado where the officer was standing on the other side of a vehicle, but said that the car was coming straight towards him so he feared for his life and shot the driver to save himself. But what the ballistics showed was that most of the bullet holes were in the side of the vehicle, and the shot that killed the driver was to the back of the head. The appellate court found this discrepancy between the officer’s testimony and the ballistics to be significant.
Within less than 90 seconds from the time the WVC officers parked their cars down the street (to avoid being ambushed), Brandon Chief had been shot three times, tazed (after he was shot, as he was ready to collapse), and was lying handcuffed, face down in a pool of blood. He died several hours later.
No weapons were ever found in the house. Neither Brandon nor his family owned any weapons, including a rifle. The .22 rifle that the officer had been referring to, that Brandon’s family once owned and used to take to the Navajo Reservation, to hunt squirrels and jackrabbits, had been confiscated by WVC police 4-5 years earlier, when Brandon had put it in a friend’s vehicle without his parents’ permission.
Despite that, because Brandon had “history” he was considered to be a POS, and because he was thought to have access to a rifle, the call was treated as an active shooter situation, and Brandon was taken out at the first opportunity.
After Brandon was shot, his Native American family was immediately separated so they could not talk to each other, and taken into custody, where they were treated like suspects, and interrogated for hours, before finally being released, without any information about Brandon’s condition or what had happened to him. WVC would not tell them where Brandon was, what his condition was, or what his situation was. His poor mother spent the rest of the night calling hospitals, trying to find out where he was, and what his condition was. They learned that he had died through the media.
Afterwards, they couldn’t get any answers, but the shooting was ultimately found to be justified because the officer said he felt threatened, despite the fact that the autopsy and ballistic reports showed that Brandon had been shot in the side and in the back, which meant that in all likelihood he had been retreating away from the officer when he was shot.
The family felt like they had no choice but to initiate litigation to try to get answers. They too were continually stonewalled. They soon learned that as far as WVC law enforcement was concerned, their son’s life had zero financial value. They also learned that their own civil rights had little financial value. If you happen to be family of someone shot by cops, you’re POS.
If you happen to be colored, you’re that much more of a POS. Just the title of this article from Dispatches from the Underclass tells the tale. “Missing from the gun control debate: Police shootings of unarmed people of color.”
Ultimately, the parties in the Brandon Chief case agreed to try to mediate the case in hopes of finding a resolution. The family hoped to settle the case for around $150,000, so their initial offer was twice that much, knowing that there would probably be plenty of haggling back and forth. On WVC’s side, the haggling started at $10,000. The city had made it well known that it was willing to spend over a million dollars to defend the case, but it was only willing to settle the case for nuisance value. WHY? The family was so emotionally wounded by the approach WVC took that the parties were not able to close the gap in their negotiations.
And it is that same “why” question that plagues the Corey Kanosh case. Why can’t they get answers? Why has MCSD not been willing to make any attempt to reach any kind of resolution with the Kanosh Family? Why has MCSD simply ignored family’s own settlement proposals and requests to mediate? From what I understand, MCSD and its attorneys have not even been willing to respond to the family. Why?
Why has the sheriff never been back to talk to Corey’s mother? Why hasn’t he even bothered to show her the human decency of explaining what happened and offering condolences? Why has MCSD completely ignored Corey’s family and treated them as if they don’t exist? WHY? The silence is deafening.
Now you’ve got some idea (but will never really know) what it means to be viewed and treated like a POS.
Editor’s Note: We have received some criticism for allowing quite liberal use of the word “Shit” in this article, which is not considered proper speech. We didn’t invent the word, nor its usage, which has significance in this piece, but have you ever wondered where the word comes from, and what it really means?
Here’s one explanation:
Certain types of manure used to be transported (as everything was back then) by ship. In dry form it weighs a lot less, but once water (at sea) hit it. It not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas.
As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen; methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern. BOOOOM!
Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was discovered what was happening.
After that, the bundles of manure where always stamped with the term “S.H.I.T” on them which meant to the sailors to “Ship High In Transit.” In other words, high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.