Iraqi Police Likely Killed U.S. Civilians

UPI: Iraqi police likely killed U.S. civilians

Iraqi Police were likely responsible for Tuesday’s murders of two U.S. civilian employees of the occupation government, local investigators said.

The murders of Fern Holland, 33, a women’s rights advocate, another unidentified American and their Iraqi translator outside the southern Iraqi town of Hilla Tuesday afternoon were committed by men in Iraqi police uniforms, according to witnesses. And local police officials insist they were actually police and not imposters.

The two American victims are the first Coalition Provisional Authority civilians killed in Iraq, CPA officials said.

In more than a dozen separate interviews with police officials and local eyewitnesses — few of whom would speak on the record but told a basically similar version of what happened Tuesday — a story has emerged that is very different from the one reported Wednesday. The version told to UPI Thursday is also supported by physical evidence at the crime scene.

Coalition officials told reporters Wednesday that the car carrying the three victims had been stopped by a phony checkpoint on the road between the Iraqi towns of Hilla and Karbala, about 90 minutes south of Baghdad. After stopping the vehicle, imposter police opened fire on the car, killing the three, according to that account.

Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez – the American commander of coalition military forces in Iraq — and the Polish defense minister told reporters Wednesday that they believed imposter police set up a phony roadblock.

Not good. I suppose we don’t have a perfect screening mechanism for our own police forces; this sort of thing is probably inevitable.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.