If no, who do you think would be the best people to effectively evaluate that threat.
If yes, since you have no immediate insight into the threat, how do you justify determining a course of action for a person who's life is at risk?
- There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
- Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
- Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.
But I don't think that's what you meant. I assume it's more like "Do you think that anyone not immediately involved should be able to evaluate the threat *per foot* for them (without their consent)? If so, my answer is no. The person experiencing the threat should make the determination as a matter of fact concerning their own well-being. But that doesn't absolve them entirely of responsibility for their actions. More on that in a moment.
In light of my reinterpretation of your first question, I'll answer the appropriate follow-on question:
If the person being threatened is a cop, or if the cop is acting on behalf of others who are perceived as being threatened, then it is the cop's call.If no, who do you think would be the best people to effectively evaluate that threat.
You answered my questions with only questions. Your choice of questions suggest to me we are operating on entirely different planes and are unlikely to achieve any substantial mutual understanding. I asked because your criteria for assessing the threshold of lethal force justification was well-stated and relatively objective, for which I'm thankful, yet doesn't stand to the fullest scrutiny. While you may consider this irrelevant pickiness, there's a great deal of context dependence omitted from your criteria. Your sole qualifier is "hostile", presumably as judged by the police on scene.
It's not hard to imagine a person threatening suicide with a knife might flail pathetically at kindly strangers trying to intervene, telling them to get back. Neither is it hard to imagine cops arriving on the scene at that particular moment - even on a suicide call - interpreting that as hostile and threatening action. If the police were to stop their cruiser at 35 ft distance from the individual, exit their vehicle, draw their firearms and yell "drop the weapon!"... would they be entitled to exercise lethal force if the individual advanced a few steps toward them? There could be no finding of poor judgement, in fact no inquiry at all because a priori it meets the criteria for lethal force?
What might be considered nitpicky or going to extremes to make a point is really exposing a position for lack of nuance. How does one properly account for the wide variety of possible situations and subjective or erroneous conclusions of hostility with such blunt instrument as your proposed criteria? While I do feel the decision to use lethal force at the moment rests with the officer - just as with a homeowner during a perceived home invasion - the final judgement on whether the decision was appropriate for the circumstances should not, and in practice does not, lie with the shooter. Thus, it may be true that, while a simple rule of survival might suffice for deciding to act, it does not suffice for a final determination of the correctness of that decision. If forensic evidence and logical inference determine that the force was unjustified, the officer can be culpable even when acting within the decision parameters.
Unfortunately, findings of unnecessary lethal force are rare enough to flag them as statistically anomalous, but that's another matter which is genuinely off topic.
I got the impression that it was a slam dunk in your mind because you're stating figures like 21 and 35 feet for criteria and 3-4 feet for closest approach to the officer. That far exceeds your criteria for lethality, why isn't it a slam dunk? Do you have additional unstated conditions?
I not only looked at the video again, I watched it many times, also scrubbed back and forth through frames and examined individual frames in detail. My first observation is, you're either playing fast and loose with distances (in favor of the police), or simply repeating what you've been told. The "3 or 4 feet" figure you've bandied about applies to a rolling corpse at the moment it (that's right, "it") hits the sidewalk after falling from the low wall. My second observation is that I would rule this police action as justified under the circumstances. The third observation is that a certain measure of excessive zeal is evident from the number of shots fired and the duration of fire, however I don't conclude this is evidence of anything other than "heat of the moment" reaction once the decision to drop the target had already been made. My final observation is that I believe the performance of the officers on scene prior to the use of lethal force was notably suboptimal but not outside the bounds of acceptability.
There are plenty of unjustified use of force cases to rally around, this is not one of them. IMO.
Last edited by Kat Dorman; 08-30-14 at 03:24 AM.
I think it's disingenuous to stack something like the Tueller Drill against any real world situation without proper contextual qualification. The drill establishes a bounding case for expectation of survivability. Any given case may deviate greatly and the typical case is unlike it altogether. It presumes the officer(s) must unholster as opposed to being already drawn and trained on the target. It doesn't account for instances where the officer has deliberately engaged the subject at distances under the bounding threshold, nor cases where the officer advances rapidly as opposed to the subject.
A real world threat need not be anything like this drill, so this survivability measure is an inadequate basis in itself on which to judge merits of use of force. Merely stating the final position of the subject relative to the threatened party, for example, ignores all dynamics leading up to that point. I don't like the idea of a "line of death" within which an officer's discretion is supreme, it's too simplistic.
In this situation, I see the closest officer does back up while shooting and does not advance on the subject past the initial contact. All aggression leading up to the shooting is displayed by the subject who had ample opportunity to comply. Shooting commenced at relatively close range. I originally characterized this as borderline where I don't now after closer examination. An unfortunate outcome, yes, but spurred by the subject.
"The Tueller Drill combines both parts of the original time trials by Tueller. There are several ways it can be conducted:
1.The "attacker and shooter are positioned back-to-back. At the signal, the attacker sprints away from the shooter, and the shooter unholsters his gun and shoots at the target 21 feet (6.4 m) in front of him. The attacker stops as soon as the shot is fired. The shooter is successful only if his shot is good and if the runner did not cover 21 feet (6.4 m).
2.A more stressful arrangement is to have the attacker begin 21 feet (6.4 m) behind the shooter and run towards the shooter. The shooter is successful only if he was able take a good shot before he is tapped on the back by the attacker.
3.If the shooter is armed with only a training replica gun, a full-contact drill may be done with the attacker running towards the shooter. In this variation, the shooter should practice side-stepping the attacker while he is drawing the gun.
Mythbusters covered the drill in the 2012 episode "Duel Dilemmas". At 20 feet the gun wielder was able to shoot the charging knife attacker just as he reached the shooter. At shorter distances the knife wielder was always able to stab prior to being shot.
Tueller Drill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How did Our Oil get under Their Sand?
What is the training officers have for using non-lethal force, when working with a partner, out of a squad car? What further training might be helpful, so that Tasers were used more frequently, before an aggravated suspect is shot and killed?
Would police prefer to carry a 17 Foot Taser, or a 35 Foot Taser? Would police prefer the option of having a shot-gun type taser cartridge, in the cruiser for 100 foot range?
Last edited by Gladiator; 08-30-14 at 05:35 AM.
How did Our Oil get under Their Sand?
It applies to everyone, not just cops. And the entirety of the circumstances are included for each situation. And the bold shows you do not understand at all (as previously stated).
It is ONLY applicable against an immediate lethal threat (or gross bodily harm, etc). Nothing leading up to it matters. Nothing. If the lethal attack is turned towards someone, this is the *reality* of the attacker's ability to kill. (it doesnt mean certainty, it means they have the ability.)
This is the same for all these encounters people are describing. Lots of things *happen* to put all the participants in place. Lethal force can only be used when and IF it gets to the point where lethal force is justified. Not before. For an example...all the cops surrounding him talking to him: lethal force not justified, nobody shooting, trying apprehend him. Attacker becomes a threat: police have the right to protect themselves.
Do people really believe cops just prefer to shoot people?? Really?
And I'm not even interested in reading the rest of the wall of text you wrote. Maybe you should consider starting a blog.