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When Is It Excessive Force Anymore?

96 posts in this topic

I'm sure George Zimmerman is very interested in this as well...

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I did pay attention to your whole post! Have you seen a toxicology report yet? I didn't think so, so you're making some assumptions here.

I believe police officers are ill-trained if excessive force is used. If I had to fire my weapon, I personally would have fired a warning shot first, then tried for a leg shot, then the chest as a last resort. Again, I would like to see the campus security video.....

I think you are missing the plot here.... This guy came to the campus Police department banging on windows... the officer came out... He charged the officer several times and the officer retreated, with weapon drawn, several times... the suspect was warned.. told to stop... he was non compliant and beligerant. Drugs or not, this person was a threat to life or limb. Some one who was not a threat, would have stopped when seeing a police officer telling him to STOP while he had his weapon drawn...

Just a few points.

  • Even if the person you shoot is convicted of a crime for assaulting you, they can file a civil suit against you. The other guy can literally sue you from his jail cell. What else has he got to do?
  • "Guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt" is the standard for criminal trials. For civil trials, the plaintiff only has to prove a preponderance of evidence. In other words, the creep in jail who's suing you got the benefit of the doubt, not you.

  • Forget about the myth of "shooting to wound." Shooting is shooting and reflects the use of potentially deadly force, and may result in death despite your best intentions. Shooting someone in the leg to wound them could open their femoral artery, which will cause death by blood loss in minutes.

EDIT To Add: Warning Shots are classified as "Pray And Spray" Rounds. And could potentially injure an innocent bystander. As an officer, you must account for every round you fire in a situation such as this.

Edited by Dredimus

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I always wonder about these types of discussions in that I have a strong feeling that the same folks talking about non-lethal options would be the some ones screaming if the kid had been tazered.

As far as the kid being naked, I seem to recall that the "face eater" down in Miami was naked and took multiple rounds before he stopped eating the other guy.

Not in my case. I'm fully aware the guy was a danger to the cop and himself. He obviously had a mental issue but the circumstances were such that the cop had several moments to back away from the danger. In that amount of time he could have resorted to some other option IF that option were available to him. That's part of what makes me angry. It seems that either he hadn't been trained to use non lethal force OR he simply freaked and shot in a panic. When the investigation is finished I suspect the University's insurance carrier is going to be on the hook for several million in damages. I'm normally the first in line to support cops. They have a dangerous thankless job and they earn next to nothing for what they go through. But that is no excuse for fielding an improperly trained officer in a campus setting.
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Cause I'd totally go toe to toe with a nude man who may be high out of his mind and let him get within range to bite, scratch or spit in my face. Good thing cops are immune to any sexually transmitted diseases or any disease for that matter, eh?

I know scrawny people who could put you into an arm or wrist lock quite easily because they have the know how. Police officers are expected to be in good shape are they not? A couple of Jiujitsu moves and this kid could have been pinned to the ground with no means of biting or scratching. If diseases were the worry then why would you opt for the weapon that splatters blood everywhere?

It's all moot anyway. Who are we to say that the call he made was the right or the wrong one? We don't have the full story and it's not like the media would ever report it anyway. Maybe the kid was suicidal and wanted the cop to shoot him. Maybe he was a serious drug addict scumbag who 'deserved' it or maybe he was just a dumb kid who took a hit of something and wound up paying for it with his life. We can't change what happened and we can't judge the situation based on a tidbit of news.

What we can do is debate whether or not a similar situation could be avoided in the future. It doesn't help to say 'what if he was diseased?' because, if you haven't noticed, police get spat on, scratched and bitten all the time. It is a risk inherent in the job. I don't know what kind of training the police in the United States recieve, which is why I asked. One thing we do know is that if the officer did manage to disable the kid he would still be alive. Does anyone here not think that would be a better outcome?

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I think you are missing the plot here.... This guy came to the campus Police department banging on windows... the officer came out... He charged the officer several times and the officer retreated, with weapon drawn, several times... the suspect was warned.. told to stop... he was non compliant and beligerant. Drugs or not, this person was a threat to life or limb. Some one who was not a threat, would have stopped when seeing a police officer telling him to STOP while he had his weapon drawn...

If he had time to retreat several times, why didn't he retreat back into the building and/or call for backup?

Just a few points.

  • Even if the person you shoot is convicted of a crime for assaulting you, they can file a civil suit against you. The other guy can literally sue you from his jail cell. What else has he got to do?
  • "Guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt" is the standard for criminal trials. For civil trials, the plaintiff only has to prove a preponderance of evidence. In other words, the creep in jail who's suing you got the benefit of the doubt, not you.

  • Forget about the myth of "shooting to wound." Shooting is shooting and reflects the use of potentially deadly force, and may result in death despite your best intentions. Shooting someone in the leg to wound them could open their femoral artery, which will cause death by blood loss in minutes.

EDIT To Add: Warning Shots are classified as "Pray And Spray" Rounds. And could potentially injure an innocent bystander. As an officer, you must account for every round you fire in a situation such as this.

So shoot to kill to keep them from suing you? Do all police officers have this point of view?

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Maybe because he was a human being! Without a toxicology report we don't know what or if he was on anything. Again, why shoot to kill? This is just another story as to why law enforcement is dealing with a lot of scrutiny these days. Cops that use excessive force are being videotaped all of the time and many cops are getting fired for it. If the campus video proves that this was his only option then so be it, but I haven't seen it and I don't know if the video has even been released to the public....

I understand where you are coming from. Honestly, I do. But you are making a judgement from the saftey of your home or workspace about the actions of an officer who was doing his best under extreme duress to try and stop this man without deadly force, but was unfortunately unable to do so. It's a shame, but it's what happened.

Also, "shooting to wound" isn't a real thing. No law enforcement agency uses this as standard practice that I know of.

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I always wonder about these types of discussions in that I have a strong feeling that the same folks talking about non-lethal options would be the some ones screaming if the kid had been tazered.

As far as the kid being naked, I seem to recall that the "face eater" down in Miami was naked and took multiple rounds before he stopped eating the other guy.

Oh, i missed the bit in the article where is said he was eating another human. As far as i can tell he was threatening a police officer by "charging" naked at him. I am pretty sure that shouldn't be a crime punishable by death, but i don't live in that society. Each to their own.

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I understand where you are coming from. Honestly, I do. But you are making a judgement from the saftey of your home or workspace about the actions of an officer who was doing his best under extreme duress to try and stop this man without deadly force, but was unfortunately unable to do so. It's a shame, but it's what happened.

And your judgement is better? How do you know the "officer was doing his best"? Have you seen the video? It might clear up a lot of things!

Also, "shooting to wound" isn't a real thing. No law enforcement agency uses this as standard practice that I know of.

Maybe it should become standard practice for certain situations......it might cut down on unnecessary deaths!

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Why are drugged up people trying to bite/eat others all the time? Even when on LSD instead of bath salts

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If he had time to retreat several times, why didn't he retreat back into the building and/or call for backup?

....and good luck to the poor female student that happened to walk by while this naked lunatic, high on bathsalts or PCP ran around outside until back up came. "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, we are truly sorry your daughter got her face eaten off and her throat torn out but we didn't want to shoot a naked, unarmed man....at least not until he harmed someone." Does that make more sense to you?

Edited by Merc14
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....and good luck to the poor female student that happened to walk by while this naked lunatic, high on bathsalts or PCP ran around outside until back up came. "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, we are truly sorry your daughter got her face eaten off and her throat torn out but we didn't want to shoot a naked, unarmed man....at least not until he harmed someone." Does that make more sense to you?

That was a pretty lame post!

Do you have any more stories that have absolutely nothing to do with this particular case?

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And your judgement is better? How do you know the "officer was doing his best"? Have you seen the video? It might clear up a lot of things!

I believe my judgement is better, yes. I have not seen the video. I believe that a man who gives multiple warnings, does his duty to retreat and tries to diffuse the situation through peacable actions, does not sound untrained or trigger happy. It sounds like he did his best to try and calm a clearly disturbed suspect, was repeatedly attacked, and when he was eventually under duress enough to believe that his life was in danger, he defended himself in the best and most effective manner he had at his disposal.

And don't forget, an officer who shoots a suspect is a normal human being. Probably just wants to get home to his wife and kids at the end of the day. I am not going to try and judge whether or not he had reason to believe that he was in mortal danger.

Edited by Maestro
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I believe my judgement is better, yes. I have not seen the video. I believe that a man who gives multiple warnings, does his duty to retreat and tries to diffuse the situation through peacable actions, does not sound untrained or trigger happy. It sounds like he did his best to try and calm a clearly disturbed suspect, was repeatedly attacked, and when he was eventually under duress enough to believe that his life was in danger, he defended himself in the best and most effective manner he had at his disposal.

And don't forget, an officer who shoots a suspect is a normal human being. Probably just wants to get home to his wife and kids at the end of the day. I am not going to try and judge whether or not he had reason to believe that he was in mortal danger.

Why is your judgement better? Just because?

Nobody has answered the question as to why the officer didn't call for backup and/or retreat back into the building. And I don't want assumptions, but real answers. This would clear up a lot of things for me.....

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I know scrawny people who could put you into an arm or wrist lock quite easily because they have the know how. Police officers are expected to be in good shape are they not? A couple of Jiujitsu moves and this kid could have been pinned to the ground with no means of biting or scratching. If diseases were the worry then why would you opt for the weapon that splatters blood everywhere?

It's all moot anyway. Who are we to say that the call he made was the right or the wrong one? We don't have the full story and it's not like the media would ever report it anyway. Maybe the kid was suicidal and wanted the cop to shoot him. Maybe he was a serious drug addict scumbag who 'deserved' it or maybe he was just a dumb kid who took a hit of something and wound up paying for it with his life. We can't change what happened and we can't judge the situation based on a tidbit of news.

What we can do is debate whether or not a similar situation could be avoided in the future. It doesn't help to say 'what if he was diseased?' because, if you haven't noticed, police get spat on, scratched and bitten all the time. It is a risk inherent in the job. I don't know what kind of training the police in the United States recieve, which is why I asked. One thing we do know is that if the officer did manage to disable the kid he would still be alive. Does anyone here not think that would be a better outcome?

As a practicing judo/jui jitsu player I can honestly say that adrenaline alone is enough to overcome a "wrist" or "arm" lock that has been executed to completion. Completion being popping the joint. Pain is something that only works on the willing or fearful. With an adrenaline dump going through someones system alone you are just as likely to p*** them off as you are hurt them. Now lets add possible narcotic use on top of a situation and jui jitsu is a mute point and should only be attempted when the distance has been closed and is your LAST resort. UFC has rules the street doesn't. Subduing anyone hand to hand, regardless of size, is hard enough without the aid of a narcotic that will dull the senses and hence nullify pain as a reason for them to stop. Also, hard to apply said wrist or arm lock when someone is biting you. Again, rules are only for the ring. Hell, I fought for 4 minutes with a very dislocated shoulder on adrenaline alone. Didn't realize the severity of the injury until I walked off the mat and the pain kicked in within a couple of minutes.

Now, I agree with waiting for more info to come out to pass judgement, but it goes both ways. You cannot just assume the police overreacted to the situation and just popped off a cap to feel all manly about himself just like anyone else can't assume that the police didn't possibly over reach with the reaction. But unlike some, I tend to be a bit more lenient toward the officer, in cases like these, because of the aggravating factor of possible narcotics use.

As for law enforcement training, the one thing I took from the academy that was numero uno on the list was officer safety. Hand to hand engagement is not about safety as much as it is about survival. If you have to use it, something along the way went wrong. Let me ask you this, if the officer in question goes through 2 or 3 different non-lethal weapons trying to subdue the suspect and he/she is walking through them, what is the officer supposed to do? What happens if an innocent bystander gets attacked because he/she was walking by while the officer is trying said tactics to no avail? Is it still the officers fault either way? It is real easy to Monday morning quarterback a situation the next day and not take into account all the variables that are current at the scene. Context is everything in these matters.

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If he had time to retreat several times, why didn't he retreat back into the building and/or call for backup?

You do realize this happened AT the police station right? There were multiple officers on the scene.

So shoot to kill to keep them from suing you? Do all police officers have this point of view?

Yes... Aiming for center mass is the basic of every agency be it military, police, security or even FBI, CIA, NSA, NCIS... any acronym you can throw out there. Its also standard teachings for civilians who go through hand gun ownership and use classes. And as I said, its not shoot to kill, its shoot to stop.

Now, more details are coming out about what actually happened...

He says Collar assaulted two couples in cars on campus. He says the victims claim Collar tried to bite a woman’s arm while being punched by another person in the car. From there the sheriff says Collar approached the USA Campus Police office and began banging loudly on the door—trying to break the window. He says the officers inside didn’t know what was happening and Officer Trevis Austin exited the building with his service weapon drawn.

Its linked a few post back.

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Why is your judgement better? Just because?

Nobody has answered the question as to why the officer didn't call for backup and/or retreat back into the building. And I don't want assumptions, but real answers. This would clear up a lot of things for me.....

As stated above, there were already other officers aware and there. However, even if this officer had been alone, what would him retreating into the building have caused? You have a definately beligerant suspect, naked and running around the campus who has already tried to harm a police officer. If this guy had been allowed to continue, what else could he have done? Moving into an enclosed building would have given the suspect time to break away into any direction... and with his lack of regard for any type of authority... imagine the possibilities of injury/death.

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Why is your judgement better? Just because?

Nobody has answered the question as to why the officer didn't call for backup and/or retreat back into the building. And I don't want assumptions, but real answers. This would clear up a lot of things for me.....

I believe my judgement is better because your posts show you lack a fundamental understanding of how both violent conflicts happen, and how police officers respond to violent suspects.

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I believe my judgement is better because your posts show you lack a fundamental understanding of how both violent conflicts happen, and how police officers respond to violent suspects.

Believe what you want......I'll wait for a full report on this shooting.

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Cause I'd totally go toe to toe with a nude man who may be high out of his mind and let him get within range to bite, scratch or spit in my face. Good thing cops are immune to any sexually transmitted diseases or any disease for that matter, eh?

To be completely honest I would risk contracting a disease to save someones life. I would hope most people would.

I'm not sure if the force was necessary. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't have the proper information to say.

Edited by Kazoo

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what ever happened to shooting the legs?

yeah, you're right.. but from the cops perspective, he's thinking "what ever happened to petty crime?"

everything's been ramped up 50 notches

it only took 3-4 posts for somebody to say "being naked doesn't mean less dangerous" ...yeah.. usually the opposite (pcp, whatever) they empty full clips into those people, they don't go down.. the cop is just a human and scared... he shoots first and thinks second..

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.. the cop is just a human and scared... he shoots first and thinks second..

than he doesn't belong on the job than. it could be valid excuse for a homeowner that had a drunk\high intruder in his house, not a cop.

idk about you, but i'm not ok with cops shooting bystanders, and just shoot anyone at first sign of not being complied to.

what is next? cops shot you in the back, becouse he called you and you didn't turn around?

Edited by aztek

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As a practicing judo/jui jitsu player I can honestly say that adrenaline alone is enough to overcome a "wrist" or "arm" lock that has been executed to completion. Completion being popping the joint. Pain is something that only works on the willing or fearful. With an adrenaline dump going through someones system alone you are just as likely to p*** them off as you are hurt them. Now lets add possible narcotic use on top of a situation and jui jitsu is a mute point and should only be attempted when the distance has been closed and is your LAST resort. UFC has rules the street doesn't. Subduing anyone hand to hand, regardless of size, is hard enough without the aid of a narcotic that will dull the senses and hence nullify pain as a reason for them to stop. Also, hard to apply said wrist or arm lock when someone is biting you. Again, rules are only for the ring. Hell, I fought for 4 minutes with a very dislocated shoulder on adrenaline alone. Didn't realize the severity of the injury until I walked off the mat and the pain kicked in within a couple of minutes.

He wasn't on pcp or this bath salts crap everyone is so hysterical about, he was on acid, tripping like a fool and it cost him his life. Instead of jumping on the cop/anti-cop bandwagon we should see the incident for what it is; a tragedy. For both parties. A family lost their son, a police officer is at risk of losing his livelihood.

Now, I agree with waiting for more info to come out to pass judgement, but it goes both ways. You cannot just assume the police overreacted to the situation and just popped off a cap to feel all manly about himself just like anyone else can't assume that the police didn't possibly over reach with the reaction. But unlike some, I tend to be a bit more lenient toward the officer, in cases like these, because of the aggravating factor of possible narcotics use.

I never assumed such a thing and I haven't seen anyone in this thread who appears to. Now reading the comments in the article is a different matter.

As for law enforcement training, the one thing I took from the academy that was numero uno on the list was officer safety. Hand to hand engagement is not about safety as much as it is about survival. If you have to use it, something along the way went wrong. Let me ask you this, if the officer in question goes through 2 or 3 different non-lethal weapons trying to subdue the suspect and he/she is walking through them, what is the officer supposed to do? What happens if an innocent bystander gets attacked because he/she was walking by while the officer is trying said tactics to no avail? Is it still the officers fault either way? It is real easy to Monday morning quarterback a situation the next day and not take into account all the variables that are current at the scene. Context is everything in these matters.

If a whack with a baton or a zap with a taser doesn't deter them then by all means use lethal force. But don't assume that just because someone is acting unusual that they're on whatever flavour of the month drug is making the rounds in the news. Excessive alcohol consumption has been making people act erratically for thousands of years. Psychadelics and disassosciatives can manifest erratic behavior in people too. And what about mental illness?

And if there were other officers on the scene they definitely could have subdued him, all you need to do is knock him over and sit on him.

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Don't they teach hand to hand techniques to police?

They try, but as many are as overweight as the goons they tried to arrest the result is kind of comic :devil:

Edited by questionmark

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If a whack with a baton or a zap with a taser doesn't deter them then by all means use lethal force. But don't assume that just because someone is acting unusual that they're on whatever flavour of the month drug is making the rounds in the news. Excessive alcohol consumption has been making people act erratically for thousands of years. Psychadelics and disassosciatives can manifest erratic behavior in people too. And what about mental illness?

And if there were other officers on the scene they definitely could have subdued him, all you need to do is knock him over and sit on him.

I was raised in a bar, from the age of about nine, and I've seen more than I ever really wanted to. I watched ten healthy, fit men try and subdue one erratic person, that was feeling no pain, trying not to harm him...and a couple of them were his friends. The first thing you need to do is make sure they don't get away and no innocent bystanders are hurt. That is especially true with a cop.

It isn't always as easy as you make it sound.

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