Reading, PA — Pennsylvania State Troopers are under fire this week following a deadly officer-involved incident Monday whereby a man was killed by a bulldozer commandeered by one of their officers. Gregory Longenecker (51) was run over by the bulldozer and killed as the PA State Trooper and the dozer operated by the PA Game Commission were supposedly attempting to flush him out.
Longnecker and David Light (51) were suspects in a then-discovered cannabis grow operation on state-owned land. Game Commission employees found the grow operation and notified local police who contacted PA State Police who sent out narcotics officers to investigate. Finding a vehicle nearby, troopers discovered the two individuals. Light turned himself in to police but Longnecker ran into the thick underbrush nearby as observed by the PA State Police helicopter.
That’s when the PA State Trooper apparently got the bright idea to bulldoze the thick underbrush. The dozer then began to “blaze a trail” through the underbrush, according to PA State Police Information Officer David Beohm.
“There’s no way that you could walk through that stuff up there,” Beohm said, implying also troopers must have known Longenecker was lying in the brush. Beohm said in a press conference:
So as they’re blazing this trail through the brush the trooper tells the operator to ‘stop’. They look behind the bulldozer and then they saw the male that they were looking for was laying on the ground behind the bulldozer as they had already gone over that area. But I’m telling you that is so thick up there. There is no way you could see somebody laying in there.
Such news will come as little comfort to Longnecker’s family who now know their family member was killed by peace officers in a bulldozer. Those same officers were sworn to protect and serve the community and treat every suspect as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But once again, as TFTP has reported, it appears the Pennsylvania State Police conducted itself as judge, jury and executioner.
We can now add death by bulldozer to a whole host of ways TFTP has documented someone can be killed by police. Over the years we’ve reported as police have tased teenagers in the genitals until they died, pepper sprayed and tased inmates to death, intentionally run over them with their police squad cars, tased them as they were riding moving ATVs, choked them to death, drowned them, and beaten suspects to death.
Beohn did not say criminal homicide charges have been brought against the unnamed officer, something which would have happened to us had we taken our bulldozer and crushed a man to death. Instead, Beohn reportedly implied Longenecker could have died from a heart attack for all he knew. An autopsy is scheduled for this week to determine the actual cause of death but it’s safe to say at this point the man would still be alive had the PA State Trooper not commandeered the bulldozer and forced the Game Commission worker to “blaze a trail” through the underbrush.
Thanks to the qualified immunity police officers often enjoy, the killing of American criminal suspects will likely continue until federal law is changed. The War on Drugs will continue to seek out individuals who possess, grow, or use cannabis, even though countless Americans die yearly from legal drugs. The drug war against a plant has to stop. It’s a plant, not a dangerous drug — and no one deserves to be hunted and killed for growing, smoking, or otherwise possessing it.