In latest police shooting, details matter

There was another police shooting last night that left a young man dead. But this time there’s video.

The video doesn’t show the moment when a police officer killed the man. But it clearly shows the man pointing a gun at the police.

People didn’t wait for the details, the Associated Press says.

Orlando Brown, 36, of nearby St. Charles was among the protesters. He said he didn’t have all the details about the shooting but said he wondered if it was a case of police aggression.

“I understand police officers have a job and have an obligation to go home to their families at the end of the night,” he said. “But do you have to treat every situation with lethal force? … It’s not a racial issue, or black or white. It’s wrong or right.”

  • Gary F

    “people didn’t wait for the details”

    Imagine that,

    But, lets not let details get in the way of lawlessness.

  • Veronica

    It’s the use of lethal force in all of these cases that bothers me the most. There has to be other options.

    • I think that’s a tough sell in this case. Some kid is six feet away from you pointing a gun at you. A mere twitch of the finger and you’re dead.

      I think it’s a shame that someone ended up dead here, as the police chief in the town said. But once someone pulls a gun on a cop, all bets are off.

      • Veronica

        Can’t they just shoot the arm that has a gun?

        • No.

          Shooting something as small and nimble as an arm is a VERY difficult shot, especially under duress and the police (and military) are trained to shoot center mass.

        • John

          I did some target shooting years ago (pretty frequently), and I can vouch that even at that distance, it would be really tough to hit something as small as an arm. In spite of what cowboy movies would have us believe, handguns are extremely challenging to be accurate with.

          I’m no police apologist, but what if the officer missed the arm? The kid (who presumably isn’t aiming for the officer’s arm) now has time to respond. I’m with Bob on this one – once you pull a gun on a cop (or anyone for that matter), all bets are off.

          • Gary F

            Knowing what’s down range is also one of the basic rules of shooting. What is behind your target and having to make a fast decision means you shoot for center mass.

    • L. Foonimin

      what would you suggest?

    • Gary F

      A cop, or for that matter, a citizen, has a gun pulled on them and they don’t have the right to self defense?

      I’d be interested what other options you are thinking of.

      • Veronica

        There’s a difference between self-defense and shooting to kill.

        • In this case, they are the same.

          The officer has a firearm pointed at him and within the fraction of a second it takes to pull a trigger, that officer could be dead.

          As asked upthread: What do you suggest?

        • Jerry

          Sadly there isn’t. Anytime a gun is fired it has to be considered lethal force. Shooting the gun out of someone’s hand or even the disabling shot to the leg are pretty much a Hollywood invention. In a gunfight, people are trained to aim it center-of-mass. It is the best way to ensure you hit what you aim at.

          That is why I consider guns useless for self defense. You can’t protect yourself with a gun. It is not a shield. You can only attack someone back.

          • Veronica

            OK. I did some research. I get why the shoot to kill has to happen when a gun is involved. However, Shoot to kill does NOT have to happen if someone has something like a knife. I’m very convinced of that.

          • Jerry

            But what should they do in that situation. You can’t grapple a man with a knife, and tasers aren’t actually that effective. Though I do think cops too often shoot when they should tase, and tase when they should talk.

          • Gary F

            And the cop doesn’t know if the person is high on drugs or has severe mental illness problems, and since the adrenaline is probably intense, they really don’t have many options.

          • L. Foonimin

            Continue your research and you will soon realize that a person with a knife as close as the perpetrator in the video is to the officer is indeed using deadly force against the officer … as others have noted, tazers/chemicals are not fast or effective enough in a close quarters attack … enough adrenalin and or other chemicals in the system will negate the effect of these tools.

            People have watched to much TV …

  • DavidG

    I think what we’re seeing is, after John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Levar Jones, Dontre Hamilton, Oscar Grant,… and add in all the cases where video clearly doesn’t support the police version of events, the police are burning through their benefit of the doubt, even in legitimate uses of force.