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Thread: A candy bar, a wallet, even a hairbrush in hand can make police shoot in tense

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    NEW YORK — A candy bar, a wallet, even a pair of baggy pants can draw deadly police gunfire.

    The killing of a hairbrush-brandishing teenager last week was the latest instance of police shootings in which officers reacted to what they erroneously feared was a weapon. It has revived debate over the use of force, perceptions of threats and police training.

    "We have cases like that all over the country where it can be a wallet, a cell phone, a can of Coca-Cola and officers have fired the weapon," said Scott Greenwood, a Cincinnati attorney who has worked on police use-of-force cases across the country and who is a general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

    "It does not necessarily mean it was excessive use of force," he added. "However, those types of incidents do give rise to greater suspicion on the part of the public about how police use force and they call into question the training departments are using to train officers to perceive and respond to threats."

    The New York Police Department says the officers who fired 20 shots at 18-year-old Khiel Coppin on Nov. 12 were justified in their use of force. The mentally ill teenager approached officers outside his mother's home with a black object in his hand — the hairbrush — and repeatedly ignored orders to stop.

    The officers were responding to a 911 call in which Coppin could be heard in the background saying he had a gun. But in a second 911 call Coppin's mother told the operator her son wasn't armed, and after officers arrived she repeated that to them.

    "Why did the police not heed the warnings ... that her son was unarmed?" said Paul Wooten, the family's attorney. "Why was it necessary for the overwhelming use of deadly force? Five police officers, 20 shots, eight hits. Is there no proportionality?"

    Last year, New York officers fired 50 bullets at three unarmed men in a car, killing Sean Bell on his wedding day and seriously wounding his two friends. Three officers are scheduled for trial in February.

    In 1999, four New York City undercover officers fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, striking him 19 times, when the 22-year-old man reached for his wallet while standing in an apartment building vestibule. The officers said they thought Diallo was reaching for a gun.

    The 2001 Cincinnati police killing of Timothy Thomas — the 15th black resident to die at police hands since 1995 — led to the city's worst civil unrest since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Thomas was unarmed, but was reaching to pull up his baggy pants while he was being chased.

    In that case, as in other police shootings, the officer who fired said his actions were triggered by fear for his own safety.

    At least 64 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed by gunshots this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.

    Andre Burgess was walking down a New York street in 1997 when an undercover federal agent shot him in the thigh, saying he thought the foil-wrapped Three Musketeers candy bar in his hand was a gun.

    Violent confrontations between police and crime suspects occur daily in big cities, and officers are often called upon to make snap judgments on the use of force.

    Early Sunday, officers in Brooklyn shot two people who they believed were dangerous; one was a suspect in a stabbing who police said advanced on officers with a broken bottle.

    "Just because a subject has something unidentifiable in his or her hands, that's never an automatic justification for the use of deadly force," Greenwood said.

    However, "If someone is carrying around a toy pistol we don't expect the police to know it's a toy," he said.

    Critics of police shootings have said racial stereotypes factor into officers' perceptions of threats. Some studies, for example, have shown that police use less force on white suspects than on nonwhite suspects. Thomas, Bell, Diallo, Burgess and Coppin were black.

    NYPD instructors say recruits are repeatedly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and to try to take cover and assess a situation before opening fire. But once shooting starts, officers are trained to "shoot to stop" by firing at a target's "center mass" or torso.

    Despite the Bell and Coppin deaths, police officials argue that statistics show the NYPD has become more restrained: Officers fired 540 shots last year, down 13 percent from 616 in 2005. In 1996, the total was 1,292. So far this year, members of the 36,000-officer department have killed nine people. Last year, the total was 13 people, up from nine in 2005, and in 1996 it was 30.
    Sooo...If a cop shoots someone w/ a candy bar or a hairbrush they get put on admin leave w/ pay pending the outcome of the investigation...wonder what would happen if one of us did that...

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    A little different I think, in most cases.

    Not many armed robbers are going to attack you with a candy bar. You and I will not be responding to a call of a depressed person waving a hairbrush/gun.

    When we see a self-defensesituation developing,we should be moving to cover or formulating an escape plan.

    Police have it a little different in that they are expected to confront suspects.

    However, I don't buy that police never jump the gun and shoot too soon. I think each case will have to be looked at closely, something difficult to do with the limited and intentionally imprecise information we often see in news reports.
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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I frankly have no problem with what the police did there.

    To many criminals, the police have become like the old Robin Williams joke about the unarmed police in England: Stop, or I'll say stop again!

    The criminals know that the police won't shoot until their lives or someone else's are threatened. This has led to crazy chases that hurt innocent bystanders, criminals rampant disrespect for any authority until 10 cops drag them to the ground and handcuff them or until they are tasered, etc. If a cop points a gun at me and says stop, guess what I am going to do? Guess what 99.9% of all law abiding citizens are going to do? If I am cornered by someone pointing an object at me while advancing on me screaming, "I have a gun" I'm going to shoot too. I'm not taking the chance of dying because it might be something else. I do not expect a police officer's spouse and children to have to bury him/her because of hesitation just in case the person screaming, "I have a gun" while advancing has a cell phone, hair brush, squirt gun, or whatever.


    If you watch any of those Cops type shows on TV there is enormous restraint shown by LEOs on a regular basis. I couldn't be a cop because I don't have the patience to put up with it. Sure there are bad cops, dirty cops, trigger happy cops out there (and I have encountered some of them and it has taken me a long time to get over it), however, most of them are just trying to do a very frustrating job and get home to their families at the end of the day. To add any more restrictions or second guessing makes their jobs impossible. It is just like our military in Iraq. They are fighting gangs just like the police here are. They also have ROE that give ridiculous advantage to the baddies. And there are times that both LEO and civilians can get away with actions the other couldn't. Nature of the beast.

    I guess I'm just saying that we need to cut them a little slack for making a difficult decision in tough circumstances especially since none of us could say for sure that we wouldn't have done the same thing.


    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    A few things:

    1) A police officer is justified in shooting a civilian if the civilian has any object in his hand. A civilian is not justified in shooting a police officer if the police officer is in a group of men dressed in black and carrying submachineguns who break into said civilian's home in the middle of the night for no reason.

    2) Having a stressful and frustrating job is no excuse for making bad decisions when it involves the life and death of a person. It's no more of an excuse than if, after a 9-hour shift in this wonderful rainy weather we've been having, I get drunk off my ass and drive into and kill a car full of teenagers.

    3) Not all criminals are the spawn of satan. Anyone who exceeds the speed limit by even one mile per hour in some areas is breaking the law. Does speeding justify being executed, er, shot to death by the police? Then, what does justify it? What crimes have an instant death penalty as a punishment?

    4) As, presumably, open carriers, this issue is of special concern to us. If police mistake any object in a person's hand as a gun, surely it's not too much of a leap of the imagination to think that a holstered, lawfully open carried gun can be construed as an unholstered and aimed gun.

    5) The police fired 20 shots at the guy and only hit him 8 times. I don't have a problem with the number of shots fired, as anyone shooting in alleged self-defense must make sure to fully neutralize an allegedly armed attacker, but where did the other 12 shots go? At that rate, it won't be too long before something terrible like this happens again: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum4/4008.html

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    1) A police officer is justified in shooting a civilian if the civilian has any object in his hand. A civilian is not justified in shooting a police officer if the police officer is in a group of men dressed in black and carrying submachineguns who break into said civilian's home in the middle of the night for no reason.
    Exactly.

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    20 Shots fired? 8 Hits? Unless the first 12 were the ones that missed, I do not see why they needed to fire that many times.

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    openryan wrote:
    20 Shots fired? 8 Hits? Unless the first 12 were the ones that missed, I do not see why they needed to fire that many times.
    Well, if it took 20 shots to hit the gentleman 8 times, I'm guessing that the officers' aim was fairly poor, or at least most of the officers' aim was poor. Given that they were probably using 9mm, I can see how it would take that many shots to neutralize someone...

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    openryan wrote:
    20 Shots fired? 8 Hits? Unless the first 12 were the ones that missed, I do not see why they needed to fire that many times.
    Well, if it took 20 shots to hit the gentleman 8 times, I'm guessing that the officers' aim was fairly poor, or at least most of the officers' aim was poor. Given that they were probably using 9mm, I can see how it would take that many shots to neutralize someone...
    The story really doesn't give too much information on how this went down...

    The point I am trying to make is that 8 hits is a lot for someone weilding a tooth brush... They heard from the mother that this guy was unarmed (at least with a firearm, and I know you can't take her word as gold either). 20 Shots is a lot, their aim was bad enough, but hitting him 8 times seems like overkill to me.

    To make the argument that it took that many shots to neutralize the guy because it was 9mm is ridiculous. Would it only take 3 shots if they were using .45 -- probably not.



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    openryan wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    openryan wrote:
    20 Shots fired? 8 Hits? Unless the first 12 were the ones that missed, I do not see why they needed to fire that many times.
    Well, if it took 20 shots to hit the gentleman 8 times, I'm guessing that the officers' aim was fairly poor, or at least most of the officers' aim was poor. Given that they were probably using 9mm, I can see how it would take that many shots to neutralize someone...
    The story really doesn't give too much information on how this went down...

    The point I am trying to make is that 8 hits is a lot for someone weilding a tooth brush... They heard from the mother that this guy was unarmed (at least with a firearm, and I know you can't take her word as gold either). 20 Shots is a lot, their aim was bad enough, but hitting him 8 times seems like overkill to me.

    To make the argument that it took that many shots to neutralize the guy because it was 9mm is ridiculous. Would it only take 3 shots if they were using .45 -- probably not.

    even more ridiculous is after being shot dead he was handcuffed taken away in a squad car

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    openryan wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    openryan wrote:
    20 Shots fired? 8 Hits? Unless the first 12 were the ones that missed, I do not see why they needed to fire that many times.
    Well, if it took 20 shots to hit the gentleman 8 times, I'm guessing that the officers' aim was fairly poor, or at least most of the officers' aim was poor. Given that they were probably using 9mm, I can see how it would take that many shots to neutralize someone...
    The story really doesn't give too much information on how this went down...

    The point I am trying to make is that 8 hits is a lot for someone weilding a tooth brush... They heard from the mother that this guy was unarmed (at least with a firearm, and I know you can't take her word as gold either). 20 Shots is a lot, their aim was bad enough, but hitting him 8 times seems like overkill to me.

    To make the argument that it took that many shots to neutralize the guy because it was 9mm is ridiculous. Would it only take 3 shots if they were using .45 -- probably not.
    Eh, I'll clarify. If only 8 out of 20 shots hit him, I think we can conclude that the 8 hits probably weren't all in center of mass. Unlike, let's say, a magnum pistol round, 9mm isn't going to cause enough massive blood loss and trauma if the hits are in peripheral regions. Not to say that a well-placed 9mm shot isn't going to kill or disable in one or two hits, but these officers, presumably, weren't making well-placed shots.

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    I still find your argument shaky. Assuming a 9mm JHP and a .45 JHP hit the same region, and expanded to their full potential, in a non vital organ, both would have about the same effect.

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    openryan wrote:
    I still find your argument shaky. Assuming a 9mm JHP and a .45 JHP hit the same region, and expanded to their full potential, in a non vital organ, both would have about the same effect.
    I guess the fortunate and unfortunate thing is that there is no research about this. I'll agree that a .45 isn't going to produce a drastic difference, with only somewhere in the ballpark of 15-20% more energy. Which is why I favor .357 magnum or .44 magnum.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    openryan wrote:
    I still find your argument shaky. Assuming a 9mm JHP and a .45 JHP hit the same region, and expanded to their full potential, in a non vital organ, both would have about the same effect.
    I guess the fortunate and unfortunate thing is that there is no research about this. I'll agree that a .45 isn't going to produce a drastic difference, with only somewhere in the ballpark of 15-20% more energy. Which is why I favor .357 magnum or .44 magnum.
    I'll agree with you on .357

    I also think it is reasonable to say that a 9mm would be favored of a .45 if the suspect was wearing body armor.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    I guess I'm just saying that we need to cut them a little slack for making a difficult decision in tough circumstances especially since none of us could say for sure that we wouldn't have done the same thing.
    Baloney!

    I'm willing to cut them exactly as much slack as they'd be willing to cut me -- none.

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    "Feared for my life," isn't quite going to cut it. "Feared for my life" isn't the standard. Neither is "tough decision in difficult circumstances."

    Was it Justice Holmes that said something to the effect that detached reflection cannot be demanded in thepresence of an uplifted knife? OK. We can't demand that, but we can insist that officers use their head to some degree. There is a lot of room between detached reflection and unthinking fear.Also, we can insist on honesty during the aftermath.

    I'm sorry, pulling up baggy pants that are falling down while he is running away from you isn't good enough. You have time to notice that he's just pulling up his pants, I think.

    A hairbrush? I wouldn't have put much faith in mom's later report that he was unarmed; but I think it dangerous to put total faith in the initial report (later discovered false, of course) that he was armed. Granted we don't know the full, exact circumstances at the instant the officer pulled the trigger, but I can see this one going either way depending on those exact circumstances.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    openryan wrote:
    imperialism2024 wrote:
    openryan wrote:
    I still find your argument shaky. Assuming a 9mm JHP and a .45 JHP hit the same region, and expanded to their full potential, in a non vital organ, both would have about the same effect.
    I guess the fortunate and unfortunate thing is that there is no research about this. I'll agree that a .45 isn't going to produce a drastic difference, with only somewhere in the ballpark of 15-20% more energy. Which is why I favor .357 magnum or .44 magnum.
    I'll agree with you on .357

    I also think it is reasonable to say that a 9mm would be favored of a .45 if the suspect was wearing body armor.
    Fair enough. And really, if the suspect was wearing body armor, I was under the impression that neither 9mm nor .45 would penetrate sufficiently anyhow, though the 9mm would indeed be less bad than .45.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    A few things:

    1) A police officer is justified in shooting a civilian if the civilian has any object in his hand. this is not true. if I am in error please cite. A civilian is not justified in shooting a police officer if the police officer is in a group of men dressed in black and carrying submachineguns who break into said civilian's home in the middle of the night for no reason please cite.

    2) Having a stressful and frustrating job is no excuse for making bad decisions when it involves the life and death of a person. TRUE! It's no more of an excuse than if, after a 9-hour shift in this wonderful rainy weather we've been having, I get drunk off my ass and drive into and kill a car full of teenagers.True

    3) Not all criminals are the spawn of satan.TRUE Anyone who exceeds the speed limit by even one mile per hour in some areas is breaking the lawTRUE. Does speeding justify being executed, er, shot to death by the police?Not the way I read the law, can you cite insistences where someone has been shot for just speeding and it was a "good shoot"?Then, what does justify it?Read the laws on deadly force. What crimes have an instant death penalty as a punishment?none in theory, but with the addition of use of deadly force to prevent the escape of a criminal or suspected criminal that is likely to be a danger to the community, the laws of deadly force for LEOS SHOULD be the same as for us.

    4) As, presumably, open carriers, this issue is of special concern to us. If police mistake any object in a person's hand as a gun, surely it's not too much of a leap of the imagination to think that a holstered, lawfully open carried gun can be construed as an unholstered and aimed gun. Yes, I think that is an un-reasonable leap of imagination, and please don't call me Shirley, in such a situation one must be sure not to make any movements that could be construed as reaching for your weapon

    5) The police fired 20 shots at the guy and only hit him 8 times. I don't have a problem with the number of shots fired, as anyone shooting in alleged self-defense must make sure to fully neutralize an allegedly armed attacker, but where did the other 12 shots go? At that rate, it won't be too long before something terrible like this happens again: if I am ever in this situation where I fire 20 shots at someone then I will be in position to comment on accuracy under stresshttp://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum4/4008.html

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