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Thread: RKBA + Rifle = Death Sentence by Florida Law Enforcement

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    RKBA + Rifle = Death Sentence by Florida Law Enforcement

    Article.

    This is something I'd expect to occur in Orange County, California. Not Florida.

    What was the nature of the "encounter?" Was it "Drop it or we'll" BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM?

    This reminds me of the guy who was murdered by LA cops as he was sitting on the back porch of his friends house. No attempt at contact was made.

    This reminds me of the guy in whittler in Washington who was murdered by a trigger-happy patrolman mmediately after crossing a street.
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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    The article says he pointed a realistic (i'm thinking airsoft) gun at police. If I was the cop I would have defended myself as well. Perhaps the officers could tell he had a disability, that doesn't stop him from pulling the trigger on a gun.


    If you saw what appeared to be a mentally handicap person carrying a rifle around would you not be a little concerned?
    His neighbors said it was obvious that Ernest Vassell had a disability, and police should have known.
    This only makes matters worse, someone who obviously doesn't have the capability to think straight is toting a rifle around? This isn't just open carry. He obviously was holding it in his hands, not slinged, because he was able to point it at police officers.


    Now, this was just my opinion. Perhaps you can change my mind
    Last edited by Schlitz; 09-01-2011 at 05:03 PM.
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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    The article says he pointed a realistic (i'm thinking airsoft) gun at police. If I was the cop I would have defended myself as well. Perhaps the officers could tell he had a disability, that doesn't stop him from pulling the trigger on a gun.


    If you saw what appeared to be a mentally handicap person carrying a rifle around would you not be a little concerned?


    This only makes matters worse, someone who obviously doesn't have the capability to think straight is toting a rifle around? This isn't just open carry. He obviously was holding it in his hands, not slinged, because he was able to point it at police officers.


    Now, this was just my opinion. Perhaps you can change my mind
    I'm with you. If anyone points a reallistic appearing weapon at me, I'm going to do my best to take him down.

    My question is,"Why would someone allow him to walk around with a reallistic looking toy gun in a public place?" That's where the true supidity lies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    Article.

    This is something I'd expect to occur in Orange County, California. Not Florida.

    What was the nature of the "encounter?" Was it "Drop it or we'll" BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM?

    This reminds me of the guy who was murdered by LA cops as he was sitting on the back porch of his friends house. No attempt at contact was made.

    This reminds me of the guy in whittler in Washington who was murdered by a trigger-happy patrolman mmediately after crossing a street.
    Hmmm....in reading the story at the link you posted, I see nothing that would even hint at your question that I bolded above.

    Based solely on what is in the story (more necessary facts could change this judgment), the officers fired upon a man who pointed what they believed to be a rifle at them. They have the same right to self-defense that civilians do.

    The fact that the man was "autistic" (these days, that word has a broad enough definition as to actually have no meaningful definition at all) has no bearing on the officers' actions. They had no way of knowing about any mental defect the man had. The family knew. Are they partly responsible? The officers bear zero responsibility for not considering the man's "autism." They cannot reasonably be expected to know.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    This is nothing more than a tragic set of circumstances. I can understand the family wanting to point fingers, blame is part of grief. What if's are just not constructive in a situation like this. My heart goes out to the family, I hope they can come to grips with this in a timely manner. But if the story is true as reported the officers did nothing wrong.

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Hmmm....in reading the story at the link you posted, I see nothing that would even hint at your question that I bolded above.

    Based solely on what is in the story (more necessary facts could change this judgment), the officers fired upon a man who pointed what they believed to be a rifle at them. They have the same right to self-defense that civilians do.

    The fact that the man was "autistic" (these days, that word has a broad enough definition as to actually have no meaningful definition at all) has no bearing on the officers' actions. They had no way of knowing about any mental defect the man had. The family knew. Are they partly responsible? The officers bear zero responsibility for not considering the man's "autism." They cannot reasonably be expected to know.
    I agree. It's a real shame, but why didn't someone in his family foresee the possible outcome? I'm not exactly the first to jump to cops' defense, but this time I think it is justified.
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    I think it is a terrible idea to think that a LEO has the same rights of self defense as a non-LEO. We pay these folks to take risk on our behalf. This requires them to tolerate mistreatment and work a bit harder to resolve conflicts involving a risk to personal safety.

    Texas used to hold LE to a stricter standard for use of deadly force than that for Non-LE. If LE can shoot someone with a (fake) gun without knowing anything of the circumstance, we have lost control.

    I expect an LE to know more than the average citizen about what constitutes a threat to life. Hold them to that standard and judge them for errors in judgement. Without that, there is no reason for them to practice restraint. If it's too tough or too dangerous, go flip burgers.

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    Of course, this all assumes that the police were truthful when they claimed he pointed a "gun" at them.

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    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    I think it is a terrible idea to think that a LEO has the same rights of self defense as a non-LEO. We pay these folks to take risk on our behalf. This requires them to tolerate mistreatment and work a bit harder to resolve conflicts involving a risk to personal safety.

    Texas used to hold LE to a stricter standard for use of deadly force than that for Non-LE. If LE can shoot someone with a (fake) gun without knowing anything of the circumstance, we have lost control.

    I expect an LE to know more than the average citizen about what constitutes a threat to life. Hold them to that standard and judge them for errors in judgement. Without that, there is no reason for them to practice restraint. If it's too tough or too dangerous, go flip burgers.
    I honestly read halfway through before realizing you weren't going end with a "/sarcasm off". I could understand if they just saw him and shot him, without considering any of the particulars of the circumstance, I would agree. But, the story clearly states that the rifle was pointed at the officers, probably after they told him to freeze and put his hands in the air. Are you telling me you want the rifle to go "BANG" before an officer can defend himself? By then it could be to late. I would think that even Texas would exonerate the officers of wrong doing in this case if the story is true as presented.

    How would an officer know it's not real, from 20-30 feet away, before it goes bang?
    Edit: and don't say it's got an orange tip on the barrel, the story doesn't say it does or does not, but "could be confused" for a real firearm.

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    Last edited by Baked on Grease; 09-15-2011 at 05:40 PM.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    I think it is a terrible idea to think that a LEO has the same rights of self defense as a non-LEO. We pay these folks to take risk on our behalf. In which case I would expect your argument to be that LEOs should have less restriction on them in order to shoot, seeing as how they are under so much more rsk that we mere "citizens" are. This requires them to tolerate mistreatment If you told that to the cops who work where you live you would most likely find yourself without cops on the payroll. They may need to be more restrained to dealing with the mistreatment they receve, but there is nothing I know of that says they must tolerate it. and work a bit harder to resolve conflicts involving a risk to personal safety. It seems that the very limioted amount of information provided by the article shows they did just this - they ordered the man to put the weapon down. Had it been you or me we could have just shot the guy without giving any instructions.

    Texas used to hold LE to a stricter standard for use of deadly force than that for Non-LE. Can I get a citation? If LE can shoot someone with a (fake) gun without knowing anything of the circumstance, we have lost control. Your statrement begins with the presumption that the cop(s) knew it was a fake gun when they shot. Can you support that presumption with any information available in the article?

    I expect an LE to know more than the average citizen about what constitutes a threat to life. Please provide support for your assertion. There are many anecdotes (I know the plural of anecdote is not data) that suggests that many cops do not in fact know what even the basics of the basic laws relating to self defense are. Hold them to that standard and judge them for errors in judgement. Do you mean strip them of qualified immunity for acting "in good faith" een when what they did was wrong/not legal? Oh, please say that's what you mean. Without that, there is no reason for them to practice restraint. Maybe you are actually saying strip them of qualified immunity? If it's too tough or too dangerous, go flip burgers. Doesn't that apply to everybody, regardless of what job they hold?
    Quite frankly I am not sure if you know what point you are trying to make. Note my comments above that seem to suggest what you wrote is actually the opposite of what someone supporting the cops might say.

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    My point is that LE has a duty to put themselves at risk when the job calls for it. An officer should not be on the job if s/he is afraid of guns, knives, minorities, or any other common "threat", however rational or irrational. They should be trained and prepared to act to stop a threat and contain dangerous situations, in a manner which doesn't excessively risk themselves or bystanders AND doesn't create an irrevocable situation, should a mistake have been made.

    In the OP, it seems to me that the LE put themselves in the situation where they could get shot. They see the guy on the porch. They approach and make demands. Why not back off a safe distance, observe, evacuate, and check with neighbors? Have dispatch check the address for prior calls, known persons at the address, DL's, etc. Don't rush until it is needed. If the guy is popping off rounds, it's entirely different, since he would have then demonstrated the ability and willingness to shoot things or people. Obviously, this situation involved someone who didn't have the means to shoot people, regardless of what those rushing onto the scene thought they knew.

    Keeping in mind that the guy probably hadn't broken any laws, so LE presence is really not warranted anyway.

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    So... Police are there to "take risks" for the citizenry... but shouldn't take any risks in doing so?
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    Regular Member Ruger's Avatar
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    I'm with Skidmark on this one.
    Carry on!

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    This requires them to tolerate mistreatment and work a bit harder to resolve conflicts involving a risk to personal safety.

    If LE can shoot someone with a (fake) gun without knowing anything of the circumstance, we have lost control.


    These are the circumstances: you have a man who (by description of the family) visibly appears to be mentally unstable pointing a damn rifle at you. How is that not enough to defend your life?
    Last edited by Schlitz; 09-20-2011 at 12:22 AM.
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    Because it wasn't a rifle, the guy wasn't doing anything illegal (even if it had been a real rifle), and the only reason he is dead is because the cops made an avoidable error in judgement. How many of you jump on the bandwagon when police approach and try to ID an OC'er after a MWAG call? What were they doing there absent a crime in progress?

    I believe I said "unreasonable risk". Approaching a person who appeared to be armed with a rifle on his porch, before understanding the situation was entirely avoidable. And shooting said person was also avoidable. Kind of like claiming self defense after going to the aid of a stranger.

    Edited to add: I'm not condemning these officers specifically for this event. My point is that police, in general and only occasionally, tend to intervene where they have no business, try to control situations which do not need controlling, and may rush to act when they do not really need to rush. It is the macho cop mentality, and may be in part a response to criticism of LE for failing to act in some high-profile cases.
    Last edited by nonameisgood; 09-20-2011 at 11:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Because it wasn't a rifle, the guy wasn't doing anything illegal (even if it had been a real rifle), and the only reason he is dead is because the cops made an avoidable error in judgement. How many of you jump on the bandwagon when police approach and try to ID an OC'er after a MWAG call? What were they doing there absent a crime in progress?

    I believe I said "unreasonable risk". Approaching a person who appeared to be armed with a rifle on his porch, before understanding the situation was entirely avoidable. And shooting said person was also avoidable. Kind of like claiming self defense after going to the aid of a stranger.

    Edited to add: I'm not condemning these officers specifically for this event. My point is that police, in general and only occasionally, tend to intervene where they have no business, try to control situations which do not need controlling, and may rush to act when they do not really need to rush. It is the macho cop mentality, and may be in part a response to criticism of LE for failing to act in some high-profile cases.
    Well, you must have some mighty gung-ho cops out there. Here, it can be damned frustrating trying to GET THEM TO respond- even to an active shots-fired call (complete with gunfire in background while on the 911 call) when you actually need them to. And even when you can- it ends up being 20 minutes after all is said and done.

    Are there some asshat cops out there? Sure, just like in any other profession. It's a bit of a reach to label all or most of them as bloodthirsty folks inclined to go out of their way (and add a ton of paperwork, and potential loss of their careers, among other things) just for a chance to shoot someone. And keep in mind- most of the bs in the media, from which you read about "cops murdering guys on their porch for no reason" crap to begin with, is heavily slanted,and missing a lot of facts.

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    If he's holding a rifle in his hands (brandishing), vs having it slung over his back, how is that different than someone holding a handgun in their hand (brandishing), vs having it in a holster.

    If someone has a weapon in hand, at the VERY least I'm ducking for cover...If the weapon points at me....all done.

    Here's the scary part, when my son was younger, got his first paintball gun, he and the neighbors kids ran around the neighborhood shooting at each other. The same scenario could play out with airsoft guns, one of which a customer of mine brought his by to show me, looking EXACTLY like my M4!

    It's scary because the neighborhood kids can be running around with these airsoft guns, and have them mistaken for real guns and get killed! Ok, they hear someone yell "DROP IT!".....Thinking maybe it's one of their buddies, turn to the sound of the yelling...

    While I don't certainly want Police officers to take unnecessary risks, it may prevent "accidents" like this if they hold up their trigger fingers until they're sure of the threat. Tough call....

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Because it wasn't a rifle, the guy wasn't doing anything illegal (even if it had been a real rifle), and the only reason he is dead is because the cops made an avoidable error in judgement.
    1. At that moment in time it WAS a rifle. I don't care if it was a toy or not, to someone who doesn't know and you're pointing it at them IT IS A RIFLE.

    2. He wasn't doing anything illegal even if it had been a real rifle? POINTING A REAL RIFLE AT A HUMAN IS NOT ILLEGAL!?!?!?! TROLOLOLOL

    3. The ONLY reason he is dead is because the COPS MADE THE ERROR!??!?! YOU TROLLIN BRAH!??!?! YOU DON'T THINK POINTING A RIFLE AT ANOTHER ARMED INDIVIDUAL PLACES ANY FAULT ON YOURSELF!?!?!?

    Bro...you are seriously out of touch with reality.
    Last edited by Schlitz; 09-20-2011 at 03:16 PM.
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    I hate to say this, have you seen a guy on meth with a gun? How can you tell the difference.

    Family should be investigated for giving a fake gun to a kid with a disability. I honestly think fake guns are one of the worst ideas in general.

    Have you ever had someone point a fake gun at you? Do you know every model and make? If it doesnt have a red tip, do you want to make a choice then if its real or not?

    Also, you have any idea who is shooting people right now? 15 year old gang bangers... they pull a gun on me, I'm not going to ask if its loaded or real. f-k that.

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    Founder's Club Member PrayingForWar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pace View Post
    I hate to say this, have you seen a guy on meth with a gun? How can you tell the difference.

    Family should be investigated for giving a fake gun to a kid with a disability. I honestly think fake guns are one of the worst ideas in general.

    Have you ever had someone point a fake gun at you? Do you know every model and make? If it doesnt have a red tip, do you want to make a choice then if its real or not?

    Also, you have any idea who is shooting people right now? 15 year old gang bangers... they pull a gun on me, I'm not going to ask if its loaded or real. f-k that.
    +1

    No one should have to wait until rounds have been discharged in their direction. The cops had reasonable cause to shoot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrayingForWar View Post
    +1

    No one should have to wait until rounds have been discharged in their direction. The cops had reasonable cause to shoot.
    Really? They shoot an unarmed, disabled man because they were afraid of a toy, and you think that is ok? Let's go back to reality: the gun was fake, regardless of what the officer thought. You should not justify this shooting, whatever the basis, unless you intend to give the government the authority to take a life without cause for any reason.

    Was this a crack-laden, crime-filled neighborhood where an instant decision to shoot or not shoot is frequently required? Or was this a typical neighborhood where this was a significant anomaly? Which ever it is, the only sane approach is to ask why it happened and figure out how to avoid a similar result in the future. And quit blaming the (still innocent) victim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xd shooter View Post
    If he's holding a rifle in his hands (brandishing), vs having it slung over his back, how is that different than someone holding a handgun in their hand (brandishing), vs having it in a holster.

    If someone has a weapon in hand, at the VERY least I'm ducking for cover...If the weapon points at me....all done.
    So if you see someone not in uniform walking around with a rifle, as shown, you'd be in fear of your life?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Was this a crack-laden, crime-filled neighborhood where an instant decision to shoot or not shoot is frequently required? Or was this a typical neighborhood where this was a significant anomaly? Which ever it is, the only sane approach is to ask why it happened and figure out how to avoid a similar result in the future. And quit blaming the (still innocent) victim.
    No, it's south Florida. The police in Boca Raton, Miami Beach and other departments are constantly getting in trouble for walking around acting like thugs. They operate as a police state or like feudal Japan, complete with those who have license to kill and depart.

    Florida seriously needs open carry -- if for no other reason than to get the police into check.

    I've also been told that if you're OC with rifles of a certain size in public, you go to jail there -- even if it's disassembled.
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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    There are folks here that seem to live in a fantasy world or are just plain idiotic.

    If someone points a firearm at you and you can not determine if it is real or fake, what do you do?

    Duck and SHOOT!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameisgood View Post
    Really? They shoot an unarmed, disabled man because they were afraid of a toy, and you think that is ok? Let's go back to reality: the gun was fake, regardless of what the officer thought. You should not justify this shooting, whatever the basis, unless you intend to give the government the authority to take a life without cause for any reason.

    Was this a crack-laden, crime-filled neighborhood where an instant decision to shoot or not shoot is frequently required? Or was this a typical neighborhood where this was a significant anomaly? Which ever it is, the only sane approach is to ask why it happened and figure out how to avoid a similar result in the future. And quit blaming the (still innocent) victim.
    FROM THE ARTICLE
    "Police officers responded to 911 calls about a MAN seen walking around the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon with a rifle, North Miami Beach Police Director Thomas Carney said. Officers gave commands for the man to drop the weapon, but he refused and POINTED it at an officer, Carney said.
    The man identified as Ernest Vassell, 57, was carrying a realistic toy that could be confused with a rifle or shotgun, police said."

    Sorry bro, but the crap your spewing doesnt hold up! Cop see's a kid with a toy rifle, takes extra time evaluating the situation. Same cop sees a middle aged man carrying a rifle, he starts yelling to put it down, said man than points the "realistic toy gun" at officer, and officer sees in a flash his family friends and life, he then squeezes the trigger. Everyone has said its an unfortunate event, even the police. But you in his shoes, what would you do?....the same damn thing! Yes mourn for the loss, but use it as a lesson for education. I played cops and robbers all my young years, I was also told never to point a gun at someone, toy or real, Now Im older and wiser, I dont point that gun at anything I do not intend on shooting. Cops have to be under the impression that this man, will not point it at anything he does not intend on shooting.

    Sad, but justified.


    Tim

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