U.S.A. – In many comment sections of any number of forums regarding posts about law enforcement officer shootings there is always numerous commenters with no education regarding this issue giving their opinions as to what they think the laws regarding the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers are. They are usually very wrong in their beliefs and opinions and we hope to correct this misinformation that’s rampant on these matters of deadly force and provide you with the truth about deadly force.
First, the suspect dictates how the confrontation or arrest will go. It’s the suspect’s actions that determine what force, if any, is necessary. It could be just talking to the suspect, to placing handcuffs on them, to taser, to mace, to deadly force… It’s all in the hands of the suspect.
The real victim in these incidents is not the dead suspect who tried to harm or kill the law enforcement officer or others, and certainly not any relatives of the dead suspect.
The real victim in these incidents is the officer because the suspect actions forced the law enforcement officer to act violently so that he may go home to his family at the end of his shift.
The use of force is defined in many states’ laws. We use North Carolina’s because that is what we’re familiar with and we have found that there are not any substantial differences between any state’s laws on this matter.
N.C.G.S. § 15A‑401. Arrest by law‑enforcement officer. Use of Force in Arrest. – b. To defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of physical force while effecting or attempting to effect an arrest or while preventing or attempting to prevent an escape.
The emphasis is on “OR IMMINENT USE”. Definition: im·mi·nent /ˈimənənt/ Adjective: About to happen: “imminent danger”. Synonyms: impending – impendent – forthcoming.
A law enforcement officer in possession of common sense will certainly use deadly force and has the right to take a deadly shot when faced with the imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death.
That imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death does NOT have to be coming from a gun, knife or other weapon. It can be coming from hands, feet or even from the use of a car. It’s not the tool used that counts…it’s the ability to bring about serious injury or death by any means that can be defended against with deadly force.
UNLIKE the military, law enforcement operates under a completely different ROE (Rules of Engagement). Law enforcement is not the military and does not have to be fired upon first to be authorized the use of deadly force. Again, the emphasis is on “imminent”. Stop getting the two confused. They, law enforcement and military, were never the same to begin with.
By it being embedded state law no law enforcement supervisor [chief of police or sheriff] or city administrator [mayor, city/county manager/member/council] can order otherwise and no attorney can argue differently.
- A person attempting to gain access to a vehicle which could potentially contain a weapon by opening the door and reaching into it and grabbing for something instead of simply trying to sit in the vehicle which is a different motion altogether after being legitimately ordered by law enforcement to submit to a legitimate arrest. -deadly force authorized.
- A person running at an officer with a knife/machete – deadly force authorized.
- An unarmed 240-pound violator on top of a 120-pound officer beating the officer in the head – deadly force authorized.
- A 6’4″, 17 year old behemoth under the influence of a mind altering narcotic who has already assaulted and injured an officer by a strike in the head bringing about a loss of strength and possible concussive problems charging that officer again with the apparent intent to cause bodily injury or death – deadly force authorized.
- Assaulting you with a vehicle – deadly force authorized.
- A person running at an officer with their hands hidden from view so as to potentially be holding a weapon (gun, knife or bludgeon) – deadly force authorized.
- A person swinging a crowbar, flag pole, etc. at the officer’s upper body and head – deadly force authorized.
- A person moving a gun in a manner that appears to the officer that they are “about” to be targeted – deadly force authorized. Getting out of a car with a gun in hand certainly qualifies.
The law enforcement officer’s safety takes precedence over that of the offender…even if they are mentally ill. It is not the law enforcement officer’s responsibility, nor are they qualified, to try and make a determination as to whether a person is mentally ill. That is the responsibility of the medical professionals who have treated the offender. If a medical professional failed to determine the offender to be ‘a danger to him/herself or others’ then you need to direct your anger and law suit at the medical professional who failed you and failed to order the offender into involuntary commitment for their protection in the first place.
It doesn’t matter at all what the color of the barrel tip/barrel/gun is; Functioning dangerous weapons come in all color schemes and the criminals have been caught painting the tips of the barrels of their guns orange just to fool cops and get an edge on shooting first. If you point anything at a a law enforcement officer that can be construed as a projectile weapon, they’re going to put two or more rounds into you center mass and let God decide if you live or die.
If you’re running for cover with a gun in hand you certainly can be shot in the back or anywhere else for that matter. Law enforcement officers don’t have to let you reach cover thus allowing you to shoot at them from a position of safety or allow you to shoot at them as you are running away from them. So, for you people that are planning on a “Police can’t shoot them in the back.” argument…. know from the start you are wrong…yes law enforcement officers can and are perfectly authorized to do so. As stated, this is real life…. not some movie or TV show.
Additionally, not being a TV drama, the law enforcement officer doesn’t have to yell “Stop police” or even warn you first to “Drop the gun”. If there is no time for a warning then so be it. The violator doesn’t get to shoot first if the officer can help it. It’s not a color thing, it’s a law thing, and unlike Burger King you don’t get to have it your way after the words “you’re under arrest” are uttered.
One major contributor to the number of officer involved shootings is the cultural aberration of Black parents raising their children up to believe that they’re “kings or queens” and the fostering of an unnatural arrogance that rides the coattails of that misinformed ideology. These children grow up and go out into the world believing that they don’t have to submit to the lawful orders of law enforcement officers thereby placing themselves into very dangerous situations that could have been readily avoided. A mature person submits to a lawful arrest and if they have any complaints about the officer or the process, they bring it up in a court of law, not in the streets.
When a law enforcement officer determines the armed violator has broken the law and is under arrest the armed violator’s decisions are narrowed down to these, and only these, options;
- You go to jail.
- You go to the hospital and then you go to jail.
- You go to the morgue.
The law enforcement officer has already made their own decision…that they’re going home alive to their family.
There is a point of no return. In highly tense situations the fine motor skills necessary for such precision shooting simply are not accessible and that’s why law enforcement officers are trained to shoot center mass and are not taught Little Annie Oakley Circus shooting techniques that have no place in real life, especially in law enforcement. When the line is crossed there is no shoot to wound, no shoot the gun out of their hand, no shoot in the leg, no shoot below the waist, no second chances. You should have paid attention to the first chance given you….to comply with the legitimate orders of the law enforcement officer. It is shoot center mass to stop and it is then up to God to decide your fate with regard to whether you live or die. And make no mistake…when you cross that line you know you shouldn’t have crossed the law enforcement officer couldn’t care less if you live or die. All they care about is that you are stopped and that they make it home to their wife and children.
What does the law enforcement officer feel when they have to shoot the bad guy? You mean besides the recoil?
- Aggravation that the bad guy may have caused them to kill for the good of society.
- Anger that the bad guy’s parents failed in their job of raising the bad guy.
- Aggravation that they have to endure being on administrative leave doing boring jobs around the department for a long time.
- Amusement at the “low informed” citizenry that make comments like “Why not below waist”, “Shoot them in the leg”, or something equally ignorant.
- Disgust at the absolute morons that come out with the all too expected wild police conspiracy theories based on conjecture, a lack of any real knowledge of police methodology and a distinct lack of knowledge of the legal mandates under which the officer will be judged.
- Relief that their training served them well and allowed them to be the one that walked away from the encounter alive, unharmed, and the victor…. the consequence…. not the victim.
We must continue to educate the masses about Graham v. Connor, in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared quite clearly that:
“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 [NOT a spouse, civilian bystander, politician, liberal, news reporter, activist, racist NAACP/BLM protesters/rioters, defense attorneys], 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.”
Much like the soldier feels no remorse for defending their country…it would be just as ignorant to expect the law enforcement officer to feel remorse for defending the citizenry of their city against its enemies…the violent criminal.