Activist goes through use of force training and sees the light when he shoots an “unarmed man”

Jarrett Maupin has been very vocal during the recent protests, leading marches on the Phoenix Police headquarters after officers shot an unarmed man who reportedly fought with them.

He agreed to go through a force on force training with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and went through three scenarios where you have to decide to shoot, or not to shoot.

via Activist critical of police undergoes use of force scenarios – FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com.

This isn’t meant to be a statement for or against cops. It’s not even really about cops as this is something that is relevant to any use of force encounter, armed or not, cop or not. But in all the recent furor about cops shooting people, the story and experience of Jarrett Maupin is especially relevant. Like so many others, he had an opinion. He “knew” that there was never a legitimate reason for a cop or anyone else to shoot an unarmed person. In response to a recent officer involved shooting, Maupin marched with others demanding the officer’s badge, gun, and job because they felt the shooting was unjustified. Why? Because the victim was unarmed. Maupin and the other protestors just knew that things would be different had they been in the officer’s position or if the man he shot had been white. To his credit, Maupin and Troy Hayden, a journalist with a Fox News affiliate in Phoenix, accepted an invitation to go through a force on force training session with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It seems that as a result, they have seen the light and have a different perspective.

Among the takeaways here is that both men reacted similarly to the same stimulus. Men of different backgrounds, experiences, and (as much as I’m tired of this dead horse) different races reached the same conclusions. If you paid attention to the video, both shot an “unarmed” man. And for the record, chances are very high, said shooting would be ruled justified by both a police review board and a grand jury in the case of a civilian. Why? Because of the disparity of force (size and numbers of attackers as both men in that scenario started coming toward the “officer”) along with what both reasonably believed was motive, means, and manifested intent to do them harm even without a weapon in hand.

Another significant takeaway is something we talk about routinely…Things can and do go down hill, very quickly. We hear Maupin say these situations develop in 10-15 seconds but, the critical part happens faster than that. The unarmed man scenario goes from Maupin and Hayden asking questions to a shooting in less than 7 seconds for both of them. The guy claiming to be looking for his car goes from someone simply being evasive and non-compliant to Maupin and Hayden getting “shot” faster than either can react to the fact they’ve seen a gun. That’s real. And both are situations that are as relevant to civilians as they are to cops.

Finally, in the after action discussion portion of the video below, we hear Maupin say that he tried to shoot the suspect in the arm so he could subdue him. Folks, this is delusional fantasy that results from people watching too much TV and too many movies. The real world doesn’t work that way. Even an expert level shooter wouldn’t take the risk of missing or worse, wounding someone without actually stopping a deadly threat. The bad guy certainly isn’t going to launch bullets at you just to scare you or just to make it hurt a little bit. In a practical sense, if you’ve got time to make that decision, it can be readily argued you had time to use a non-lethal means. Again, shooting people or shooting at people is ALWAYS considered deadly force even if it is not necessarily your intent to kill them.


-GM

When calling 911 goes wrong

According the kgw.com, a man who called 911 about a shooting suspect ended up getting shot by responding officers in Vancouver, Washington last week. The incident started when John Kendall, 59, shot his neighbor, Abigail Mounce, in the face on October 31. Officers spotted the man who’d called 911, not knowing he was still in the area.

A SWAT team arriving at the scene spotted a man who matched Kendall’s description. They were unaware that the citizen who called 911 was still there.

 

“Law enforcement personnel watched as the citizen (believed to be Kendall) exited his vehicle and circled behind his trunk,” police explained. “Fearing that he armed himself, law enforcement fired multiple shots at the individual in order to stop the perceived threat before the citizen could enter the woods.”
via Police mistakenly shoot 911 caller during manhunt.

Now I could be wrong but, I suspect there are a lot of cops who will find this acceptable/justifiable given the circumstances. You’ve traced the suspect’s phone to the area. The person in view allegedly looks like your suspect. And he looks like he’s potentially arming himself.

The man was shot in the leg. He took cover behind a gravel pile and fired a shot back, then he called 911 again, this time to report that he had been shot.

via Police mistakenly shoot 911 caller during manhunt.

There’s so much fail here but, I’m glad the citizen survived. He’s lucky. Very lucky. Chances are high, the leg wound is a result of an excited officer shooting at an unknown distance, resulting in the shot going low.  I say that because shooting him in the leg intentionally is surely a violation of policy and demonstrably, did nothing to eliminate the threat of him shooting at anyone. This is why we do not shoot to wound.

Fortunately, things didn’t go any further than the initial exchange of gunfire. The officers involved have been relieved of duty pending an investigation. By the time officers caught up with Kendall, the real suspect, he’d already turned himself off with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I might argue this error is big enough that they might not get to be cops any more but, I don’t believe this was criminal behavior on their part.

All that said, there’s something to be learned here. Starting with, DON’T BE THERE. If you have just called 911 to say you saw a guy involved in a shooting, don’t be in the area when the police show up if you can help it! I’ve said before that if I am ever involved in a shooting, even if I am just a witness, my preferred action is to move to a safe location other than the shooting, and then call 911. Police responding to a shooting in progress can be a little excited. That’s normal and that’s OK but, it presents some hazards if you happen to resemble the suspect. It presents hazards even if you don’t resemble the suspect. So again, just don’t be there.

-GM

Suspected burglar shot, killed by neighbors watching home | abc13.com

“Both of the homeowners had their conceal and carry license, armed themselves, went next door to the house and check to see if there were any burglars in the house,” said Sgt. Ben Beall of the Harris County Sheriffs Department.

via Suspected burglar shot, killed by neighbors watching home | abc13.com.

This could easily turn into a legal nightmare. You hear an alarm next door. You don’t just go figure where the alarm is coming from,  you enter the home of a 3rd party, find a burglar, and you end up shooting said burglar. This is one of those times I’m not quite ready to glad hand the shooters for a job well done.

Seriously, how ill advised is it to go into a 3rd party’s home when there is an active alarm? Most alarms are monitored these days. A few people choose not to do it but, most folks recognize that an alarm is nearly useless if it isn’t monitored and police aren’t rolling when you’re not around. But even if it isn’t monitored, there’s a strong possibility another neighbor has heard the same thing you do called the police. So now we have the potential for the police to show up and find you in the house. If the cops are pre-occupied with trying to figure out who you are, you’re all in danger because none of you are able to deal with the bad guy.

It can be difficult to argue that you are defending yourself when you have gone into the aforementioned 3rd party’s home looking for the suspect. This is not the purpose of a concealed handgun license and it goes against the grain of stand your ground law such that you may not be able to claim that defense. After all, you’re in a 3rd party’s home where you don’t necessarily have a legal right or reason to be there in the eyes of the court or a jury of your peers. This is going down hill, VERY quickly.

Now that you’ve entered the home of a 3rd party, you’ve found exactly what you were looking for (the burglar), now you have the makings of a potentially ugly situation. Let’s, as happens in the case mentioned above, the bad guy charges you. Are you justified? God, forbid, it happens in Travis County but, it seems sketchy in even in Harris County. Remember Joe Horn? Horn never left his own property. The guys he shot were in his front yard. And though Horn “walked” away without trial, make no mistake, it ruined him financially and it really could have turned out far differently if the burglars were so motivated. Is it worth the risk?

-GM

Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus cleared in shooting of Andy Lopez

So, the California criminal case of Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus’ shooting Andy Lopez has been resolved, as the DA has declined charges against Gelhaus.

“Prosecutors said Monday they will not file criminal charges against a Northern California sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun he mistook for an assault rifle. The parents of Andy Lopez decried the decision, saying “it is impossible” to accept and they felt as though their son “had been killed again.”

Erick Gelhaus shot Lopez on Oct. 22 as the teen walked in a Santa Rosa neighborhood with the pellet gun. The deputy told investigators he believed the gun was real and opened fire out of fear for his life.

 

Gelhaus fired eight times, striking the eighth-grader seven times with his department-issued 9 mm handgun. The district attorney said Gelhaus had 18 rounds in his gun and stopped shooting when he felt the threat had ended. Lopez was declared dead at the scene.” – via http://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/articles/7355600-No-charges-for-deputy-who-killed-teen-carrying-replica/

The FBI is still looking into possible Civil Rights violations, and the family will sue. So this is far from over. But let’s look at why Deputy Gelhaus was not charged, even though there was tremendous political pressure.

Graham V Connor (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=490&invol=386) states that police use of force must be reasonable given the circumstances available to the officer at the time the trigger is pulled. The Fourth Amendment “reasonableness” inquiry is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. Pp. 490 U. S. 396-397.

Monday morning quarterbacking may show different circumstance, but THE OFFICER IS JUDGED ONLY ON THE FACTS AVAILABLE TO THE OFFICER AT THE TIME. When the trigger was pulled, Deputy Gelhaus had an “armed individual refusing multiple lawful orders to comply”. That is what Gelhaus saw, and that is what Gelhaus had a split second to react to. The facts uncovered during the subsequent months long investigation are real vent to the case, but not to the issue of the reasonableness of the use of force.

So was this tragic? Yes. Do police want to kill people? No. Was the suspect in control of the amount of force used? Yes. Did the suspects actions (whether or not he intended) cause the officer to feel threatened? Yes.

The family wants answers. I would too. I would want answers to questions like “why did my son purposefully remove the mandated orange tip on the replica rifle and the replica pistol he was carrying?” “Why was my 13 year old son high on marijuana, and in possession of marijuana at the time of his death?” “Why was my son not in school at 3:12pm when the school let out at 3:30?”

Perhaps the parents don’t want to ask those types of questions. 13 year olds are just kids. They make poor decisions sometimes. It is up to the parents to teach right from wrong. This is tragic for all parties involved.

-Jason

HPD: Man beaten, another choked to death after road rage incident | News – Home

Police said while the older driver was being attacked, his son got out of the truck and tried to defend his father. Officers said there was at least a 100-pound difference between the young man and Brown,but in that moment, detectives say, the younger man jumped on Brown’s back and put him in a choke hold.

“While the older driver’s son was on the other driver’s back, he was yelling ‘Call 911. Call 911.’ The driver of the Nissan collapsed before emergency crews arrived,” said Sosa.

via HPD: Man beaten, another choked to death after road rage incident | News – Home.

Assuming the son is “no billed” by the grand jury, the lesson here is that if the use of deadly force is justified, the means by which that deadly force is applied is irrelevant.  By all accounts, this is just a son defending a father. The Nissan driver, according to statements, was the aggressor and was using unlawful force against the Ford driver, an elderly man.  The Nissan driver also issued threats to the effect that he would hunt down the other driver’s family. It appears he won’t be hunting anyone going forward.

-GM