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Thread: Gun-mounted flashlight blamed in fatal Plano police shooting

  1. #1
    Regular Member oldbanger's Avatar
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    Gun-mounted flashlight blamed in fatal Plano police shooting

    A Plano narcotics sergeant intended to activate a flashlight affixed to his service weapon when he accidentally pulled the trigger, fatally shooting a drug suspect in a Far North Dallas parking lot...

    "It doesn't take the place of a flashlight," ... "You don't draw a weapon to use a flashlight."...

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...2.4b7e088.html

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    Regular Member TyGuy's Avatar
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    How did the grand jury decide to let him walk. I'm sure if a citizen accidentally shot someone there would be a trial. I'm sorry, but he was reckless and should face the consequences of his actions.

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    Amazing........

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    Thumbs up

    It's okay, the victim was only a suspected drug dealer. If it had been the mayor I'm sure the grand jury would have indicted. The California BART cop should have said he pulled out his gun to use the flashlight. Maybe he wouldn't have to spend two years in prison for shooting his victim in the back.
    Last edited by kwikrnu; 11-19-2010 at 09:35 AM.

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    A few things to consider:

    1. Despite a quote to the contrary, the officer claims that it was his intent to draw the weapon to effect an arrest of a potentially armed felony suspect. He wasn't simply trying to just use the flashlight.

    2. The switch for the flashlight is near the trigger guard instead of on the grip as with other models.

    3. The officer did not control his trigger finger well enough. He is ultimately responsible for where he points his gun and when he pulls the trigger.

    At most, this should be some form of negligent homicide, mitigated by the horrible design of the flashlight. The flashlight company was negligent in the placement of the switch. They should have foreseen the likelihood that someone's finger would find the trigger while trying to turn the switch on. The department was negligent in buying this design and not foreseeing the possibility of this event and not taking steps in training to absolutely prevent it.

    I see negligence on the part of the manufacturer, the department, the officer, and the idiot selling drugs. It is foreseeable that, if you make a habit of committing felonies, you will likely place yourself in a situation where officers will point guns at you. I have no sympathy for him.

    However, the officer should face the consequences for not exercising sufficient trigger control.

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    The manufacturer is not responsible for people using their tools stupidly. The user is responsible for using his tools stupidly. Even if the tool wasn't designed well for the situation, it was the users fault for using it in the situation. If the user is so cludge fingered that he cannot activate the light without pulling the trigger he better turn on the light pointing the gun in a safe direction. The tool didn't malfunction and cause injury, the user failed to use it properly and caused injury.

    This society is stupid when people want to blame the companies that make tools for the improper use thereof.

    I bet anyone could use that same weapon-light without shooting anyone on accident as long as they took care.

    If the tool was a poor choice, whose fault is it that you used the tool? Still your fault. If you opt to use a sledgehammer to smack a finishing nail into your wall, don't sue the hammer maker when your wall is destroyed. If the officer can't take the care to turn on the light without discharging the gun in that configuration, he should have had a different light, but it isn't the light makers fault.

    Next we'll be blaming car manufacturers for putting the gas pedal too close to the brakes.... I didn't mean to run him over. I meant to hit the breaks and I hit the gas. It's the cars fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Felid`Maximus View Post
    The manufacturer is not responsible for people using their tools stupidly. The user is responsible for using his tools stupidly. Even if the tool wasn't designed well for the situation, it was the users fault for using it in the situation. If the user is so cludge fingered that he cannot activate the light without pulling the trigger he better turn on the light pointing the gun in a safe direction. The tool didn't malfunction and cause injury, the user failed to use it properly and caused injury.

    This society is stupid when people want to blame the companies that make tools for the improper use thereof.

    I bet anyone could use that same weapon-light without shooting anyone on accident as long as they took care.

    If the tool was a poor choice, whose fault is it that you used the tool? Still your fault. If you opt to use a sledgehammer to smack a finishing nail into your wall, don't sue the hammer maker when your wall is destroyed. If the officer can't take the care to turn on the light without discharging the gun in that configuration, he should have had a different light, but it isn't the light makers fault.

    Next we'll be blaming car manufacturers for putting the gas pedal too close to the brakes.... I didn't mean to run him over. I meant to hit the breaks and I hit the gas. It's the cars fault.
    What happened as a result of the design change (from the grip to near the trigger) is foreseeable. That is where the company's liability comes from. Over time, in the dark, with adrenaline pumping, someone is bound to finger the trigger when reaching for the switch.

    This does not relieve the officer of liability. He should have practiced flipping this switch thousands of times. He should have a procedure to find the switch in the dark that prevents his finger from slipping into the trigger guard.

    This does not relieve the department of liability. They should institute training that makes the officer do the above.

    All there are responsible. Based on the information we have, I think the officer should be charged with negligent homicide (or the Texas equivalent). If the grand jury decided not to return an indictment, is it because they were not presented with that charge as an option? Is it because there are some facts of which we are not aware?

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    The only thing making the company liable for idiocy like this will do is drive prices up when companies have to protect themselves against frivolous lawsuits. Not to mention discouraging business all around.

    Imagine if gun companies were held responsible when the stupid revolver users switched over to the semi-auto and didn't know their thumb would be maimed by the slide. One could foresee that idiocy, but it doesn't make the semi-auto designer at fault.

    It is solely the fault of the user and the designer doesn't deserve to lose a penny for it.

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    Outdoor Channel

    I watched a show on Outdoor Channel (Best Defense I think), and they brought up a good point. Do not mount a flashlight on your pistol, because that means the light and barrel are pointing in the same direction. Be able to move the flashlight independently so that if what you light up is not a target , (family member going to bathroom) then the gun is not pointed at them. If what you light up is hostile, then bring your gun on target.
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    Regular Member thnycav's Avatar
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    I never have used a weapns mounted light on a pistol I perfer to use an independent light. Here is a link to a good tip on their use.
    http://officer.com/video/POSA_Video_...291001::::::5/

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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    Do not mount a flashlight on your pistol, because that means the light and barrel are pointing in the same direction.
    While the merits of a weapon-light, especially on a pistol are debatable--the above statement isn't strictly true for many situations. If the flashlight is bright enough (as most weapon-lights are, being designed for police use), you can pretty well point it anywhere in a room and it will light up a typical room well enough that you can make visual confirmation... And you can decide what to do after that.

    Seriously. You can point the weapon at the floor, the light bounces up to the walls, ceiling, and it will light up a person, providing the carpet and walls aren't black. This can work outside, too, but it's more limited. If you're at close range and point the light in front of someone's feet, you'll usually be able to see their face.

    Doesn't make it a good practice to use it as a flashlight, in any case... And that's likely the cause of the problem here. Training and practice, and perhaps departmental policy for letting an officer use an unproven light system with little training.

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    Regular Member TheQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    How did the grand jury decide to let him walk. I'm sure if a citizen accidentally shot someone there would be a trial. I'm sorry, but he was reckless and should face the consequences of his actions.
    Police are often immune from civil and criminal liability for "accidents" that happen in furtherance of their "official" duties.

    I'm not saying it's right. It's just how it is.
    Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first.

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    Often, not always.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I see negligence on the part of the manufacturer, the department, the officer, and the idiot selling drugs.

    ...

    However, the officer should face the consequences for not exercising sufficient trigger control.
    I agree 100%. Fine points.

    Add to that the fact that proper handgun/flashlight control has for years required your shooting hand to hold the handgun, resting on the top of the wrist of the hand holding the flashlight, as a rest. One of the primary reasons for this is that it allows the flashlight hand, as well as the heavy, D-Mag flashlight, to be used as a blocking tool.

    Of course now we have LED flashlights that are 10x brighter, weight 10x less, and last 10x as long, so they're mounted on a weaver or picatinny rail. Who am I kidding, though? With such a setup, the LEO can still use a baton for blocking.

    For safety, the light switch on such a flashlight should be mounted on the opposite side of the trigger finger, preferrably towards the lens of the flashlight, to be operated by the thumb of the cupped left hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CO-Joe View Post
    While the merits of a weapon-light, especially on a pistol are debatable--the above statement isn't strictly true for many situations. If the flashlight is bright enough (as most weapon-lights are, being designed for police use), you can pretty well point it anywhere in a room and it will light up a typical room well enough that you can make visual confirmation... And you can decide what to do after that.

    Seriously. You can point the weapon at the floor, the light bounces up to the walls, ceiling, and it will light up a person, providing the carpet and walls aren't black. This can work outside, too, but it's more limited. If you're at close range and point the light in front of someone's feet, you'll usually be able to see their face.

    Doesn't make it a good practice to use it as a flashlight, in any case... And that's likely the cause of the problem here. Training and practice, and perhaps departmental policy for letting an officer use an unproven light system with little training.
    Agreed. As well as both of my hands are on my weapon to provide for a much better shooting platform as well as control. As for blaming the manufacture of the light system is like blame gun manufactures for when kids get a hold of dads gun, because dad did not put it away in a gun safe. It is up to the USER to know the pro's and cons of all tools they carry and if this idiot cant operate the light with out sticking his damn finger in the trigger guard ITS HIS BLOODY FAULT. It sound like a training issue and not a bad design issue. I have carried a light on my weapon for years, and I have not had a single time where i have had a problem manipulating the lights trigger while keeping my finger off the weapons trigger. Muscle memory, also known as motor learning, is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task; eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems.

    If you practice while under stress with these system, you wont need to make excuses for screw ups and it becomes less and less like the more YOU TRAIN that you wont in a stressful situation to pull the wrong trigger. The more you sweat in training the less you will bleed in combat, just because you passed a basic firearms course or academy does not mean you stop training, which appears to be the problem here.He got the cool little light and FAILED to properly train with it.
    Last edited by zack991; 11-22-2010 at 12:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    How did the grand jury decide to let him walk.
    because he is a cop. cops don't answer to the same laws that they swear to uphold

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    Quote Originally Posted by CO-Joe View Post
    While the merits of a weapon-light, especially on a pistol are debatable--the above statement isn't strictly true for many situations. If the flashlight is bright enough (as most weapon-lights are, being designed for police use), you can pretty well point it anywhere in a room and it will light up a typical room well enough that you can make visual confirmation... And you can decide what to do after that.

    Seriously. You can point the weapon at the floor, the light bounces up to the walls, ceiling, and it will light up a person, providing the carpet and walls aren't black. This can work outside, too, but it's more limited. If you're at close range and point the light in front of someone's feet, you'll usually be able to see their face.

    Doesn't make it a good practice to use it as a flashlight, in any case... And that's likely the cause of the problem here. Training and practice, and perhaps departmental policy for letting an officer use an unproven light system with little training.
    The main point is that if you need the light, then you obviously can't see clearly enough to identify your target, Sometimes, like a moonless night in the country, you can't even see well enough to know whether or not someone is there. You definitely don't want to accidentally muzzle sweep one of the kids during a break-in. If you use the flashlight attached to your gun you risk doing that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bookman View Post
    The main point is that if you need the light, then you obviously can't see clearly enough to identify your target, Sometimes, like a moonless night in the country, you can't even see well enough to know whether or not someone is there. You definitely don't want to accidentally muzzle sweep one of the kids during a break-in. If you use the flashlight attached to your gun you risk doing that.
    No question. That's why I regard them as "aiming enhancement devices", which are not to be confused with 'flashlight'.

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    How the hell do you accidentally pull a trigger instead of switching on the gun light? The gun light switches operate in an up and down motion, while a trigger you pull back obviously.


    It's like if I went to pick my nose and poked myself in the eye.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mserr View Post
    How the hell do you accidentally pull a triggerinstead of switching on the gun light? The gun light switches operate in an up and down motion, while a trigger you pull back obviously.


    It's like if I went to pick my nose and poked myself in the eye.
    Simple, complete lack of real training on the officers part. It seems that if i don't train right and i do something stupid I guess I can now blame my tools.
    Last edited by zack991; 11-30-2010 at 12:44 AM.

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    I am kind of surprised that everyone is just taking the killer's word on this. Sometimes suspects are unarmed and are shot by officers with itchy trigger fingers, nervous, or think they see the target reaching for something. Look at the biker in Montana who was paralyzed on video by a police officer pointing his gun at him or look at Oscar Grant. If there isn't video of the event, than the officer and any of his partners on the scene are now open to give whatever accounting of the event they wish to give.

    I am not saying that the story is a complete fabrication but I am also saying that it is a possibility especially with the tremendous consequences possible should he be charged with a crime. I think he should be charged with a crime, myself.

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    We don't have just the officer's word. A grand jury met, heard the evidence in the case, and made a decision. I doubt anyone accepts what the officer says completely.

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