People often believe that the decision on whether to shoot a subject or refrain from shooting a subject is a complicated decision. No, it isn’t. Quite the opposite is true.
In deciding to shoot a person, the criteria are rather simple. Is that person going to seriously harm you or someone else? If so, shoot. If not, don’t shoot. It’s as simple as that.
I am sure that other officers, as I have, refrained from shooting an individual even when we were legally permitted to do so. I recall many times that I didn’t pull the trigger simply because I didn’t want the extra paperwork or the enormous amount of scrutiny that accompanied a shooting investigation, especially in this anti-police atmosphere.
Police are far from being kill-crazy like the media portrays them. Police officers do their very best to avoid conflict, especially deadly conflict. But when the bell rings, most officers answer accordingly.
Here are some of the unavoidable situations officers found themselves in and then were blamed for taking the correct course of action.
Michael Brown. Brown was a very large man, under the influence of drugs, violently attacked a police officer before being shot, as he was charging the officer for what was life and death for the officer.
Danial Prude. Prude was arrested by police officers for running naked on the street at 3 o:clock in the morning and resisting arrest. His autopsy revealed he died from Complications of Affixation and Acute Intoxication.
George Floyd. Floyd was arrested after resisting arrest and died while in custody. An autopsy revealed Floyd had four times the fatal dose of Fentanyl in his system. He was a dead man walking.
Breonna Taylor. Taylor was inadvertently shot by police after her boyfriend shot an officer serving a warrant and then hid behind her.
Atatiana Jefferson. Jefferson was shot and killed by police officers responding to a call of a possible burglary in progress. Jefferson was holding a pistol in her hand when shot by a responding officer who felt an immediate threat to his life.
Aura Rosser. Rosser threatened officers with a large knife and a single shot was fired and Rosser was killed.
Stephan Clark. Clark was committing burglaries and when confronted by officers he approached them with his arms raised and extended toward them. The officers fired and struck Clark, killing him.
Philando Castile. Castile was shot by an officer as he reached for either a wallet or a gun he was legally carrying after ignoring orders to keep his hands in plain sight.
Jacob Blake. Blake was shot by police officers after he resisted arrest and stated he had a gun in his vehicle. He was shot as he opened his car door and leaned in appearing to reach for something on the floor.
Jay Anderson. Anderson was sleeping in his car when approached by officers. He disobeyed officers’ orders and reached for a gun on the passenger seat of his auto. He was shot and killed.
Alvin Cole. Cole was shot and killed by police after he was involved in an altercation with another man while in possession of a stolen gun. After numerous orders to drop the gun and after he discharged the weapon, an officer shot him.
And now the pièces de resistance.
Walter Wallace Jr. Wallace was shot and killed by police officers as they back peddled as he was chasing them with a very large knife intent on killing them.
People still protested. People still rioted. People still looted. All while ignoring the fact that the dead person was historically a lifelong criminal with a violent past, and, he was attempting to kill a police officer.
Facts mean nothing. Offenders become victims and true heroes become villains. The real targets are police officers. It is more advantage to the political morons that a police officer be killed than his or her attacker.
No police officer ever wishes to take a person’s life, but on rare occasions, doing so is part of the job. If you follow your training, the decision to use deadly force is relatively simple. In all the above real-life scenarios, the officers involved were forced to avert to deadly force in order to either save themselves or save others from being killed.
The fallout from an officer related killing is beyond that officer’s control. The political atmosphere and the anti-police agendas being driven by our politicians are not to be taken into consideration when confronted with the possibility of using deadly force. Training and survival skills taught to you should kick in and your instincts will provide your answer.
Remember, I would rather be tried by 12 than carried by six.
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect one another. And as always, stay safe.
– Larry Casey
View Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com and review his book by the same name. It makes a great Christmas gift.