Monday Morning QB’ing Officer Involved Shootings


subject line for this email is more than a little “tongue in cheek”

There have been 2 officer involved shootings this week that commandeered the news cycle.  It’s odd that they’d get so much time in a week where we’ve had 2 ISIS bombings, a mass stabbing, and who knows how many more murders in Chicago.  (In August, in Chicago, a model of gun control where guns are functionally illegal as defensive tools, there were 78 homicides and 448 people shot.)

When police make mistakes, they need to be held accountable.  But rioting, burning cars, and pop-media court is NOT the way to do it.  A lot of people…both in the media and around the country, are coming to conclusions about what happened that are based on emotion and limited facts.

I understand that many are spinning a narrative to advance an agenda, but if we’re to understand what we’re seeing on TV and the internet after an officer involved shooting, it’s important to understand some of the dynamics of what’s going on in a dynamic, high stress shooting situation.

People think that law enforcement are at the pinnacle of proficiency with firearms.  Law enforcement is my literal and figurative family and I’m not about to slight them in any way.

But the truth is way more complicated…

There is a perception among the general public that carrying a gun 10-12 hours a day makes all officers good shooters.

Shooting well under stress isn’t learned by osmosis.  It takes not only practice, but frequent perfect practice with efficient and effective technique.

Police departments are political entities that are subject to the ever-changing whims of mayors and city councils in addition to the rule of law.

Many politicians have a schizophrenic relationship with gun training.  They don’t want a bunch of “trained killers” with badges and guns and they don’t want to spend a minute or penny more than necessary on training.  At the same time, they expect officers to execute 100% perfect judgement in extreme stress situations where their life is at risk, stop all threats with a single shot, never miss, and NEVER hit an innocent bystander.

They’re expected to do this, regardless of whether they just finished a double shift because they’re covering for a fellow officer on medical leave because his kid is dying of cancer, are exhausted because they have a newborn with colic at home and haven’t slept in days, are stressed because they just found out their department is cutting their medical benefits…again, are dealing with wife/parent/financial/or other personal issues, or just came from a call where a cute 3 year old kid was being burned with cigarettes by his parents.  (At this point, if you’re NOT in law enforcement, you must think I’m exaggerating.  If you are in law enforcement, you’re probably nodding your head—sadly.)

Some departments give their officers a box of ammo per year and have them qualify once a year…and expect them to perform at the same level as a Delta Force commando.

Others have them qualify 2 or 4 times a year and may even shoot monthly, which is definitely better, but keep in mind that a life or death shooting is like a last-second, game-winning play in the Super Bowl or NBA Championships and the simple truth is that you need to practice more than a few times a year to perform predictably well in high stress situations.

So then we have officer involved shootings, like what happened in Tulsa and in Charlotte this week.

The helicopter, body cam, and dash cam videos can make it seem SO cut and dried, but it’s not.  It’s not at all.  And in many cases, video complicates the issue instead of simplifying it.

What I’m about to say doesn’t come from any insider knowledge about specific incidents.  But I’ve done enough high stress training, studied high stress psychology enough, and analyzed enough lethal force incidents to see some possibilities that many people might not.

I wrote this article on Wednesday.  I posted it Thursday evening.  After putting our boys to bed, I checked the news to see how things were in Charlotte and saw that the officer in Tulsa has been charged with first degree manslaughter.  Even so, it’s worth it to understand how I was looking at it BEFORE I knew that charges had been announced.

In the Tulsa incident, we’re only seeing a small part of what happened.  The footage begins after aerial support is on scene, as well as multiple officers besides the responding officer.  There was time for her to approach the car, assess the suspect, determine that he most likely had an altered mental status, call for backup, and time for backup to respond.

By that time, the suspect had refused to respond to multiple commands.

The first takeaway is that most people don’t realize is that when an officer has their gun drawn, a suspect’s actions put them into one of 4 categories…

They are either attacking, complying, trying to limit loss (bargaining or working through denial), or delaying (sometimes with sweet words) to create an advantage to destroy you or the officer more effectively.

This concept of 4 options is a tiny part of an incredible book from Ken Murray called, “Training At The Speed Of Life.” As far as an officer is concerned, if the suspect is not complying 100%, they’re still a threat. Words mean nothing and action means everything.

When a suspect is facing one or more officers with their guns drawn, they should comply or EXPECT the possibility of being shot.  Good or bad, in the real world, this is not the time to explain, bargain, or negotiate.  That time may come after you are in cuffs and the officer is not in fear for their life or in an adrenalized state.  If not, it might come in front of a judge.  Either way, when guns come out the suspect has only one good course of action, no matter how distasteful…comply.  You don’t have to like it.  But it’s like gravity or the bathroom scale…not liking it doesn’t change it.

The second and third takeaways have to do with sympathetic inter-limb interaction and the startle response.

I did not specifically see either of these happen.  I did not specifically hear of either of these happening.  But I want to mention them because they are realities of high stress situations that may not be reflected in helicopter, body, or dash cam footage, and what you see may not be as clear cut as what it seems.

Startle response:  One of the common reactions that people have when they are startled is to make a fist.  It’s VERY common in extreme stress situations where multiple officers have firearms drawn and fingers on the trigger that when any one of them fires, others also fire.  In fact, it’s one of the scenarios that skews the number of shots fired per incident upwards.

If you’ve been Tased or been around a Taser (not a stun gun), you are familiar with how jarring the sound of a Taser being fired is…in an extreme stress situation, the startle response could be similar to a firearm being discharged.  If you were in an adrenalized state and your finger happened to be on the trigger, or even on the trigger guard, it wouldn’t surprise me for someone to have an unintentional discharge if a Taser went off next to them.

Normally, I would use the terms accidental discharge or negligent discharge, but this isn’t a black and white situation AND WE DON’T EVEN KNOW IF THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED.  I’m only mentioning it because a LOT of people are assuming malicious intent on the part of the officer and this is just one of many reasons why she shot…even if she didn’t intend to.

Sympathetic inter-limb interaction:  When your body is in a sympathetic (adrenalized) state, it doesn’t respond like it normally does.  It goes into “reptile” mode.  You can have a situation where an officer is covering a suspect with their finger on the trigger or on the trigger guard and try to use their radio with their other hand.  (or it could be you trying to call 911) When the brain sends the impulse to the left hand to squeeze the button to talk or dial, it also sends the same impulse to the right hand…which can squeeze the trigger unintentionally.

Again, I didn’t see this happen, but it’s one of many possible alternative—non-malicious–storylines that could have happened.

Both of these are reasons why you MUST be fanatical about keeping your trigger finger straight, stiff, and rigid along the frame until your sights are aligned and you intend to fire.

Reality vs. Video:  The next thing to realize is that watching something on video seems like it is the same as seeing it live, but it’s not.  When you experience something in real time, you make decisions in real time based on an ever-changing reality.  The speed at which things happen in real life limits the number of details that you’re able to absorb at any instant.

If you watch a video of that event with no prior knowledge, you will probably make some of the same judgement calls as if you were there.  You’ll see more details and some calls will be different because of the difference in stress levels.

But if you are told how a video ends, or have watched it before, you’ll make judgements at the beginning of the video based on the fact that you already know what happened at the end of the video…which doesn’t match reality at all.  Each time you watch it, you’ll pick up additional details…details that wouldn’t be possible to pick up in real life…and you’ll end up coming to conclusions that may not have been possible in real life in real speed.

With almost every officer involved shooting video, there is a lead-in that frames what you’re about to see and primes your mind to look for specific things.  In the absence of other information, that bias will make it hard to objectively view videos that don’t have a clear good guy and clear bad guy…and may in fact, make a VERY grey situation look black and white, even if it’s not.

Finally, for today, there’s Visual Perception Delay.  We THINK that when someone has their hands raised that they’re not a threat.  We THINK that when someone reaches into a car to grab something, that officers should have time to perceive what they have in their hands before reacting.

Life’s not that simple.  Vision is not that simple.

The reality is that our mind is consciously processing what happened visually a fraction of a second prior.  When you think about it, it makes sense…light enters the eye, the eye flexes so an images is focused on the back of the eye where the image goes through a chemical process to convert light into electricity.  That electricity goes to the optic chiasm and then to the visual cortex where the images from the 2 eyes are combined into a single image.  THEN that image is sent to other parts of the brain to get processed.  This process can’t happen instantly, so we have a delay between reality and what we see.

How’s this play out?

I do a drill occasionally where either I or people I’m shooting with hold an airsoft or laser gun to the head of a BOB punching dummy acting as a hostage and have another shooter 10-20ish feet away.  I’ll calmly talk to the shooter and make sure they have their sights aligned on my face, finger on the trigger, slack taken up.  I tell them to shoot me the instant they see me move.  Then I’ll proceed to take my gun that’s pointed at the hostage’s head, point it at the shooter, and shoot them before they get their first shot off.

When we have time, we’ll rotate shooters.  Action beats reaction 9 times out of 10 regardless of who the shooters are (within reason).  It works with a hostage.  It works with hands up in the air.  It works with a gun in the back pocket.  I can see it working while reaching into a car.

When a properly trained officer sees furtive (fast or jerky) and non-compliant movement, they know that they’re behind the curve and have to make very difficult, INSTANT decisions.  These decisions are EASY to judge after the fact when the viewer is calmly watching a video for the 2nd, 3rd, or 10th time.  They’re not so easy when you’re making them at the speed of life.

With that in mind, I encourage you to support your local law enforcement and law enforcement in general.  Train hard, train often, and do scenario based force on force training whenever possible so that you understand the realities and complexities of high stress shooting.

Whether you have local force on force training available, >this< is an at-home training that’s based on the findings of a stress-shooting research lab that ran approximately 100 force on force classes per month for 3.5 years.  It’s not based on ego, dogma, or institutional memory…it’s scientifically based training for shooting and fighting with a gun that’s been ruthlessly tested and refined.  Learn more now by going >HERE<

Questions, comments, thoughts, stories?  Please share them by commenting below.


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  • Mahatma Muhjesbude

    Reply Reply September 26, 2016

    Hey Ox, what do mean ‘nobody said we shouldn’t fault the officer’? Half the comments here indicate that the cops can do no wrong! (until it happens to one of them or their own and then they’ll be the first ones to protest) And you even have a couple individuals here that are literally poster childs for the regime’s totalitarian agenda advertisement of why certain people should never touch a gun?

    Maybe you didn’t specifically relate that in your article, but certainly, that’s always a prevailing mentality in the responses to these types of articles which is highly dangerous in terms of deleterious mental intransigence when confronted with these situations/scenarios. It’s bad enough too many cops have this problem, but as it proliferates into the population, this eventually amounts to tacit, if not implicit support of ‘Police State’ tactics…

    …Something you never want to even Smell in a society supposedly based on Liberty and Justice for everybody?

    So Yeah, I see the difference. I TEACH the true ‘difference’ and try to spread the reality check to those who seriously need and want to learn it.

    And although I might have some input on your article concerning a couple differences on training points from my own professional experience and point of view– like with your action/reaction analysis, and the 4 categories Ken explains in his book. IMHO He left out the most critical aspect,which is a major part of most of these bad shootings– I didn’t concern myself with that because your article still was of advanced enough value to be required reading as someone already said here. You did a good enough job to where we can get into ‘differences’ another time. I simply wanted to point out in my comment that all the training in the world means nothing if you don’t understand the legal ramifications of your actions outside of a flawed perception of police situational awareness too prevalent among today’s cops.

    Which is the REAL reason these cops make bad street moves so often. Do you see the difference yet?

    And for the record, let me say that I don’t have anything personal against cops, or even Feds, because then I’d have a problem with myself.

    But I can’t stand stupid BEHAVIOR. Because THATS where the real danger is. Which basically comes from a weak minded absence of critical thinking, compounded by ignorance, then comfort zone delusion, mental and subsequent physical laziness, then departure from pragmatic vision. Which is the fundamental core of all of society’s problems. And a certain career-if not life- ender for cops.

    But besides all that, Tell me, Ox, if you feel like it, what would you have done starting with the Tulsa incident? Then I’ll I’ll tell you what her defense is going to be, and how I would have handled it, based on the numerous times I actually DID handle virtually identical situations.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 26, 2016

      You’re right…in looking at the comments, “nobody” was an overstatement. I should have said that I didn’t say that we shouldn’t fault the officer.

      I’m not sure what you mean on “what I would have done” starting with the Tulsa incident. From a training standpoint? From a defense standpoint?

      I can’t reply in depth right now, but I appreciate your comments and will reach out soon by email.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude

    Reply Reply September 25, 2016

    As a combat Vet, long time LEO, Federal operator, instructor, and other related pursuits too numerous to mention, not the least of which in reference here is court testimony in cases like these. I’m going to try to elaborate on the essence of the problem here, which is nothing new by the way and has been happening in police work for generations but is only becoming daily news now because of instant open transperancy due to modern technology, later on today, if i get the time, or as soon as i can.

    Because there’s some very dangerous ‘mysticism’ going on here. That desperately needs some mind cockroach dispersing light cast on it.

    For now, let me just advise most of you to cool out a bit and step out of your flawed emotional content box before doing knee jerk comments and erasing all doubt concerning the depths of ignorant depravity your own cognitive dissonance exists in. Especially those of you who don’t have a clue about deadly/lethal force application under law, necessary/justifiable force police procedures, the 4th/amendment, and a plethora of other ‘issues’ that validate or invalidate potentially lethal confrontations between police and civilians. which a prosecuting or civil suit attorney would clearly ‘educate’ you in at your trial if you replicated the mistakes too many cops make like in these two cases mentioned here.

    For now, read Fred Johnson’s comment/analysis below again and try to learn something from it.

    Then consider this one scenario change and think about what you’d say about it then… This is what i always ask cops at a seminar when they sound like Sabin here, or Dan Pruit below.

    What if one of your family members, friends, or relatives was shot by the cops in exactly the same situation? Would you think it was fine and dandy then?

    Would you ‘not fault’ the officer at all???

    Esspecially, and here’s the big 800 pound rat in the room, if each of these incident could have been EASILY handled WITHOUT killing your husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, grandfather, best friend and good neighbor? As your trial lawyers will show in court?

    Would you really really still think the Cops did the ‘right’ thing then?

    Think about that until I get back on it.

    Hint: The problem, indeed, is in the training. but it’s not the shooting skill, it’s the State of Mind problem.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 25, 2016

      Nobody thinks or said that it was fine and dandy. Nobody said we shouldn’t fault the officer, if they were at fault. If you’re really Mahatma, I’m familiar with you and it surprises me that you would twist the article into what you did. I didn’t, in any way, say that law enforcement is always right or that they were right in these situations…in fact I brought up specific examples of how they might have messed up. I also didn’t say that the realities I brought up would justify a shooting. Ever.

      What I did was bring up specific realities that happen in extreme stress shootings. We don’t know that these factors were at play or not, but people should be aware of them before coming to conclusions based on what “obviously” happened on video.

      If you look at the RESULTS of what happened, it doesn’t matter to the families why their loved one is dead.

      But if you look at the REASON why the shooting happened, it can mean the difference between riots where innocent people are hurt and legal proceedings if a mistake was made.

      Do you see the difference?

  • Tunis Cunningham

    Reply Reply September 24, 2016

    Excellent article. It should be required reading for everyone.

  • Richard Dillard

    Reply Reply September 24, 2016

    Hi Fred Johnson,

    First, thanks for your service and sacrifice. I am a United States Marine (since 1984) and United States Airman.

    Like the author, I appreciate and agree with most of what you wrote, but offer a few counterpoints for your consideration:

    1) as you indicated of the authors statements, your’s could just as easily be construed as “reason equals excuse” for why criminals should operate with impunity, refuse to comply with a law enforcement officer, resist arrest, et al.
    2) in offering your perspective on Michael Brown and other specific cases, you fall into the very trap this article was trying to help everyone avoid; namely that of second guessing and Monday-morning quarterbacking the decision of the law enforcement officer on the basis of video or testimony…both of which are unreliable and discount many of the input and process variables (common causes) that misaligned to create the outcome (effect).
    3) it appears you are confusing the criteria for judicious use of deadly force between LEO’s (necessary) and civilians (reasonable)…civilians don’t have a sworn duty to protect and serve and in many cases have an obligation to retreat unless in the immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or great bodily harm. So there is a lawful reason for the differences in standards.
    4) any analysis that does not include a careful look at the entire system, the full chain of cause-effect from proximate to root causes is incomplete and serves no one…not the LEO, the criminal or their survivors.

    Our tendency as problem solvers is to “fix the blame” in these situations, rather than”fix the system.” And if we’re serious about fixing the system, we’ll need to be willing to follow the Truth wherever it leads…the whole truth about the whole system. But in the final analysis, I believe we will find that no amount of training, incentives, ROE restrictions, less than lethal alternatives, or tactics, techniques and procedures for the LEO are going to be adequate in securing better outcomes as long as, in the basic course and scope of their sworn duties, they continue to encounter those who are committed to breaking the law, non-compliance, and resistance.


  • Joseph D Kahak

    Reply Reply September 24, 2016

    I was trying to find out who wrote that article, and I couldn’t find the author. Regardless that was a very informative piece of information that I’m sure most people are not aware of. Thank you for writing that and there has to be a better way to get it into mainstream publications for other people to see and understand. Again thank you, Joseph

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 24, 2016

      I did. Thank you and you’re welcome 🙂

  • Phil

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    My parents taught me to do whatever a law enforcement officer ordered, and I would be safe. I have never questioned whether or not I could be shot when I followed this guidance. I am seventy-five years old and I still respect anyone wearing a “badge”.
    Unfortunately today, the “challenge authority” mentality runs rampant, and respect is almost a forgotten word. Hence, we are confronted with consequences of the misguided actions of belligerent attitudes. The public needs to be re-educated on the importance of respect for Law and Order.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 23, 2016

      Yes…the challenge authority mentality has been engineered into society by encouraging weak parenting, discouraging discipline at school, and glamorizing a disrespect of authority in almost all forms of media. We THOUGHT that we won the Cold War with the Soviets, but this is just one more indication that the war is still going, whether we accept that it is or not.

  • Stephen Wofford

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    It is a shame that your article is not required reading BEFORE viewing videos like these. It might cut down on the snap judgements that get made.
    Thank you.

  • Fred Johnson

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Sorry, but I VEHEMENTLY disagree. While “Startle Response,” “Sympathetic Inter-limb Interaction” and “Visual Perception Delay” can certainly play a huge role in high stress confrontations, NONE are viable defenses for shooting an unarmed man. I’m a disabled veteran of the Gulf War and a civilian ccw licensee for thirty-four years. If I shoot someone because, “I thought he was reaching for a weapon,” I’m going to jail for a very long time, because the prosecutor’s next question will be, “Did you see a weapon?” Now I’m sunk because, if I didn’t see a gun in the vic’s hand, and he was ten feet away from my position, how could I have possibly believed my life was in danger?
    Historically, LEO’s are held to a MUCH lower standard of law than the rest of us when it comes to their own criminal behavior (NOT to imply that all cops are criminals but, like any element of society, even a few bad examples will taint the entire group and, lately, it seems, we’ve had more than just a few bad examples). As civilians, we EXPECT our police officers to be able to perform under stress, and rightfully so; that’s why they have badges and we don’t. That’s what “The Job” is all about, and if an officer is unable to handle that stress, well, he or she should NOT be a police officer. If his kid is colicky, or (God forbid) dying of cancer, or if his house just burned down or if he just buried his wife that day, he (or she) DOESN’T get a pass when he (or she) takes the life of another human being. Minority suspects are not game animals.
    I’m not a “cop-hater,” but I don’t trust any of them as far as I can spit (based entirely on my own experiences, but I won’t go into that here). I shoot beside police officers almost every week, and I’ve gotten to know several of them very well. Some of the stories I’ve overheard, some of the cases they’ve bragged and laughed about make me wish I could have five minutes alone with two of them, in particular, in a locked room, no badges, no guns. I mean, seriously, these two brag about comitting perjury, planting drugs in vehicles and even stealing money and belongings from people’s cars. I don’t associate with them but, clearly, they’re the exceptions which prove the rule. The others, from my observations, personify my own thoughts of what a cop should be: friendly, honest, level-headed, and very careful.
    While most empathize with SOME of the recent OIS’s there are those who blatantly condemn their actions. Whether the topic is Michael Brown, Freddy Gray or Waco, they’ll say, “The officer(s) SHOULD have done this first,” or “I would never have let it reach that point of escalation.” For example, in the Michael Brown incident, three officers agreed that Officer Wilson’s best course of action would have been to let Brown go following the initial confrontation. Brown was well-known in the neighborhood and, since backup was on the way, they could have easily obtained a warrant and picked him up later. In his anger, Officer Wilson endangered the lives of many, many civilians when he fired his weapon down an active residential street.
    The problem isn’t that this happens; the problem is that it’s happening so frequently that we can’t help but wonder how many times it’s happened in the past, BEFORE these tragedies became fodder for YOU-Tube and the evening news. Before the advent of cell phone cameras, the general public and juries were content to take the officer’s word for what happened, because there was no “reliable” evidence to refute the officer’s version of events (civilian eyewitness accounts were less reliable, and much less credible than the sworn testimony of any police officer).
    All police officers must be made to realize (just as any ccw licensee must accept), that guns are extremely dangerous when not utilized properly. If their department gives them a measly fifty rounds per year, they should be willing to invest in their own livelihoods and buy the ammo needed to become proficient; it’s what they do for a living, and if they don’t do it flawlessly, then people are going to die. I have to buy my own ammo, I have to pay for my weekend training classes and I have to pay for my range time. But I’m willing, even eager to do that because I DON’T want to accidentally take someone’s life. It’s my RIGHT to carry a weapon, but inherent to that right is the RESPONSIBILITY to educate myself and to obtain sufficient training to learn how to utilize it safely, properly and proficiently. Would I be able to leave the courthouse a free man if I told the judge or jury, “Well, my wife will only let me buy one box of ammunition per year so, sorry that guy’s dead, but I didn’t mean to kill him. It was just a sympathetic inter-limb interaction.” I can only speculate, but I’m guessing I’d have to be reincarnated twice before I saw a parole date. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I believe at least basic firearms training should be a mandatory prerequisite for any ccw applicant in every state.
    As for the Tulsa tragedy, I honestly hope they throw the book at Officer Shelby. At best, she was VERY poorly trained and lacks the emotional control, the confidence and the interpersonal skills required to perform as an effective LEO. If the police were held to the same standard of law as we are, especially in cases like those we’ve recently witnessed, we probably wouldn’t have those violent reactions from the communities in which they occur. The Baltimore officers were all acquitted by the same judge in the Freddy Gray case, and even though Ms. Mosby essentially ended her own career, at least those officers were held accountable and made to answer for their actions. That, in itself, was enough to demonstrate that the apparent double standard no longer applies, and that a badge is not a license to kill with impunity. Yeah, I know; “The Job” is tough, but they KNOW that going in – they KNOW what they’re in for when they sign the enrollment papers before attending the academy. Every potential recruit must endure, and pass, a battery of psychological tests, including a polygraph, before his application is accepted. Unfortunately, too many believe their badges and guns give them dominion over those who aren’t members of the brotherhood (and even ONE who believes that is too many). Those officers must be weeded out in order to restore the honor, integrity and professionalism their badges and uniforms once symbolized.
    You’ve made some valid points in the article, but the overall tone indicates you’re offering a list of possible excuses for the actions and behavior of police officers whose actions and behavior are simply, and undeniably, inexcusable.
    Sorry for the long-winded response, but thanks for reading and, please, if you disagree with me, try to make your point with a minimum of name-calling. I haven’t made any personal attacks here, and I won’t respond to any aimed at me. I’ve merely expressed my opinion, and I encourage you to do the same.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply September 23, 2016

      Hey Fred…I’m not about to call you names or attack you in any way. I agreed with almost everything you said and I really appreciated reading what you wrote. I also agree with what I said. The explanations that I gave don’t change the effects of the bullets fired. But when a mayor and city counsel tell a chief of police how to run his department and he puts limitations on the head of training that trickle down to the rest of the instructors and an officer makes a lethal mistake, how many of their faces end up on national news? Two…the officer and the chief, but only one ends up in cuffs and in front of a judge.

      The things that I mentioned do not change the outcome. You’re right. But they do potentially change the nature of the incident from purposeful (murder) to not purposeful (manslaughter). And that changes the narrative of the conversation from one where the shooting was racially motivated or had a root of an officer wanting to dominate someone to where people realize that there’s a possibility that a horrible, tragic mistake was made without the officer having any bad intent.

      Thanks again for your comments.

  • sabin

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    The perp had 4 outstanding warrants against him. He ignored the commands of an officer. His hands were down when he was shot and was reaching toward his waistband. he had pcp in the car. In his body?? sounds like a justified shooting to me!!!

  • James Garvin

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Know it all too well, even in sports. I had to analyze some VHS footage (many years ago) from a soccer game where an opposing player injured a goalie not in possession of the ball, an illegal tackle. Most of the onlookers agreed with the referees that the the goalie’s injury was self-inflicted. A frame-by-frame analysis of the tape showed otherwise. The opposing player swept a leg through the goalie’s ankle in a martial arts-like move that did the damage, while the ball was still in the air. Here’s the high-dan black belt part: The opposing player got up and walked away from the goalie as if nothing had happened, ignoring the goalie’s obvious extreme pain and thereby PROGRAMMING referees and onlookers to DISBELIEVE what they had just seen.

  • Marc R.

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Absolutely fantastic article!! There are SO many scenarios that can play out in stressful situations and you are right about officers being expected to be sharpshooters and have ice in their veins as well as the ability to be logical, empathetic and able to compatmentalize what has happened in the past 24 hrs. Budgets always seem to dictate the amount of training available but not the level required to be more than proficient and highly comfortable with the firearm not to mention the high stress scenarios that are a daily occurrence. We get more comfortable with high stress scenarios the more often we are involved but unfortunately by that time it may be too late. Proper practice develops muscle memory and increases the odds of a positive outcome IF and ONLY IF we are able to review the scenario and correct our mistakes. While in the Ranger Battalion, “corrections” for not having your weapon on “safe” when we were gearing down or for having a finger inside the trigger guard rather than on the lower receiver resulted in what else?? EXERCISE!!!! (And some loud vocal coaching). In Ranger School, the instructors ALWAYS recognize and point out the students that are from a Ranger Battalion because we execute the method without thinking as it is ingrained in our memory and is rote behavior. These methods work but are left up to the individual to correct him or herself when learning proper safety and developing muscle memory. I hope we will “coach each other up” if we see another person performing these actions incorrectly so we can prevent accidental or negligent discharges in the future. We owe it to each other and to the people around us whether they be friend or foe. Sorry for the soapbox….GREAT article.

  • Dan

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Thank you for sharing this story and perspective often misunderstood by so many! Having had a father in Law Enforcement, I have always had great respect for the commitment and courage these individuals must regularly face, especially voluntarily facing life and death situations and decisions.

    In previous posts, I recalled reading about attackers not stopping. This report drove the point home for me, regarding the St Cloud Mall attack. Start at approx 1:10 seconds.

  • steve

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Great article!

  • Security Mom

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    Thank you. As wife & mother of LE I live with fear everyday. As a novice shooter I read everything you write. The public knowledge of LE work is pathetic. Everyday they risk their lives. Very few appreciate it. Our country is in terrible trouble.

  • Dan Pruitt

    Reply Reply September 23, 2016

    First, I agree completely. I would like to point out that Crutcher had abundant opportunity to comply with the police officer’s commands. He refused to do so. From the images, his hands did NOT remain in the air. When he got to his vehicle, his hands came down. Again, direct disobedience to the officer’s commands. Also, from the images, Crutcher looks like he was reaching INSIDE his vehicle, so….the window was OPEN, not closed. The officer had every right to act as she did. She was trained in recognizing drug-impaired behavior and, as the video shows, Crutcher gave strong indications that he was under the influence. I don’t fault the officer at all.

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