Legal defense fund for a U.S. Soldier -- A plea for help, a plea for money

Bottom line up front:

I asked for, and received, permission from the staff* here to open this thread in hopes of raising money for a U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (a Platoon Sergeant) that is facing charges of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

The Soldier in question, Walter Taylor, wisely in my opinion, hired a civilian attorney and regardless of the outcome faces some stiff legal bills to the tune of$35,000.

Here’s my short version of events that led this Soldier to these charges and why I feel, strongly, that this Soldier is wrongly accused.

Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor’s platoon, a route clearance package (a convoy that looks for roadside bombs), was conducting operations in Afghanistan when they were hit by the biggest bomb they had ever encountered wounding four. As was typical, after the bomb exploded, they were then attacked with small-arms fire from insurgents. During the firefight something very, very strange happened. A black sedan drove onto the battlefield, leading many (if not all) to believe the car was part of the attack. Some even reported, incorrectly, seeing muzzle flashes from the sedan. The car was engaged with heavy weapon mounted on the platoon’s vehicles and quickly came to a halt.

After seeing that the injured soldier’s were medically evacuated Taylor and a group of 3 other individuals began to search for the command wire (the wire by which the road-side bomb was detonated). They quickly found it and began to trace it back towards its origin. Strangely it seemed to lead directly toward the black sedan. Shortly before they located the wire the sergeant had been warned, verbally, by his platoon leader to be weary of a suicide bomber in the car. That type of attack had been recently reported in the vicinity of their area of operation.

As the Soldiers followed the wire, which was buried inches under the ground, they came closer and closer to the car. While reports differ when the platoon came somewhere between 25 and 10 meters from the car a person leapt from the passenger-side rear door of the car and rushed toward the rear of the car.
Taylor shot that person.

That Taylor shot the person is not in question at all, he freely admits it. What he, and his attorney, say in his defense is that he only had mere seconds to make that decision. If he had not shot and the person had been a suicide bomber, he and the men with him would likely be dead.

I’m a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant and I work as a Department of the Army Civilian as a public affairs specialist, the same job I did on active duty. In the course of my duties I have attended many court marshals and can honestly say that until I went to this young man’s hearing I never encountered a defendant that I didn’t basically feel was guilty.

I obviously can’t say that this time. I 100% believe Taylor did the right thing to protect his men, himself and to accomplish the mission. It’s dreadful, tragic even that an innocent person was killed that day in Afghanistan but the fog of war is just that, not all things are crystal clear as they are happening.

$35,000 collectively is nothing, its budget dust if everyone takes a moment and donates $5, $10 or even $30. For $30 you get a bumper sticker that says “I support SFC Taylor” which hopefully becomes a pointless statement once the $35,000 is paid in full.

I sat through three days of testimony and have been in touch with the person running both the donation site and the ‘facebook support page’. She, I’m 100% certain, is legit.

I’ll do my best to answer any questions you might have regarding this case and the funds I’m asking everyone here to donate. If you cannot donate, maybe you can share this with friends and family on facebook or even send me a PM with a suggestion on how I can ‘get the word out.’ I’ll take whatever help I can get.

Finally, why bring this here? There’s no emotionally compelling you tube video to generate support. Efforts I’ve undertaken so far have helped a little but obviously not enough. While I’m not an account holder from 1999 and I don’t post here every day, I do read here daily. Given the boards history I think this is something that might generate help for this Soldier.

A website has been created to accept donation toward his legal defense fund and there is also a way to directly pay-pal the soldier in question. Seriously if somone here gives $5 bucks and 10 people push it into their face book feeds, I’ll be happy.

The site accepting donations and the pay pal information can be found here, note they are woefully short of their goal:

News articles regarding the court case can be found here and here and others places should you chose to search.

  • The STMB staff holds no views on the merit of this case.

P.S. thanks to Girafe, Mean old Lady and Marley for helping me with this …
Donation site here.

There are some link fails in your OP.

Donation site here.

News articles here and here.

Thanks MOL … gah. IS that something a mod can fix? Seriously though thanks.

Done.

Thanks Marley … much appreciated.

I am wondering something I may have missed in reading news reports.

Is anyone being charged with the death of her son and daughter?

SubaRhubarb, no. Because I think, they were killed when the vehicle first entered the firefight. There was, as you know, one survivor.

Actually Suba, I should say not to the best of my knowledge …

To correct myself : niece not daughter.

Also I did find in a report that no one is currently charged in the deaths of the son and niece.

Quote from LA Times " The criminal case doesn’t concern the dozens of rounds of ammunition that sprayed the black car, fired from nearly all quarters during the heat of the gun battle, which killed Hikmat’s son and niece. Nor were any charges filed against Wilson, the junior soldier who also fired at Hikmat when she emerged from the car."

Thanks Suba, I was pretty sure but no 100% sure …

Do you have a link to the facebook support page?

Hey Rick, I do … the FB support page is here:
https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/In-Support-of-SFC-Walter-Taylor/407113582661313

Thanks btw … Walter Taylor’s donation page is $300 up since I posted this!

found it! I posted it on my facebook.
His support page: Here
and a link to indiegogo page about him

Awesome, thanks Rick!

When a car with unknown occupants comes driving through a fire fight, it is understandable to misinterpret it as a threat. However, when you get within 10m of a vehicle, and see that you have killed a family, you know it was collateral damage, and not a combatant. At that point, a female jumping out of the passenger seat in fear as the Soldiers approach shouldn’t be viewed as the immediate threat he is claiming. Sure it is possible for anyone to be a suicide bomber. But we can’t just go around shooting everyone we see simply because they “might” blow up on us. At that point, Dr Hikmat was as likely to be a suicide bomber as just about any other female riding in a car with her family… which is to say almost not at all.

The other Soldier probably fired at her after his PSG started shooting, so that is Talor’s fault. Not the Soldier’s.

This whole story is a mess. It is certainly not worth the Doper Community’s time and MONEY!

Bear thanks for commenting and for your service.

Obviously I came away from this story with a different perspective than you did. I feel that this platoon sergeant absolutely made the best decision with the information he had at the time and with seconds to decide.

If anything his otherwise stellar career to this point, indicates he’s not the kind of Soldier that do this without cause.

I’d be surprised if soldiers were charged with shooting at a vehicle driven directly into the middle of a firefight. While obviously shooting the vehicle could kill non-combatants, the simple fact is not all killing of non-combatants is criminal under international law or (most importantly) the UCMJ. The car driving into the firefight started with an ambush is most likely going to be seen as a reasonable target.

Now, the woman who came out of the car, the military is basically taking the position that the soldier who fired on her violated standard rules of engagement which is a criminal act.

Agreed Martin, the govenment is taking the position that he didn’t take the time to positivley identify the person as an enemy combatant, his defense argued that he didn’t have time to do such.

So I’m glad to see this is coming along somewhat, but I feel like saying something.

If anyone cares, and I don’t know how much credibility a mean old lady has, I realize not everyone knows Oliveritaly. Well I do. And I know obviously no one can give to everything all the time, and sometimes just don’t want to (very understandably – particularly if the response is, “Dude, who the hell is that?”) but if any reluctance is based on unfamiliarity or skepticism, please, if anything I say means anything at all, rest assured he is as sincere as the sky is blue. Well except like right now when we’ll have hot and sunny blue skies, then bizarre intermittent moments of grey skies and storms. What the fuck, captain? No, but seriously now…

I’ll put my money where my mouth is, for what it’s worth. I’m in.

Wait, why were they following the trace wire after they had been bombed and ambushed by small-arms fire?