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Old July 19, 2005, 11:15 PM   #1
steve154
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Scenario/opinion's

Last night my partner and I got sent on a criminal misch. complaint where an inflatable pool had been slashed and a neighbor was out chasing the suspect on foot. As we were arriving we could see the complainant on the sidewalk waving us over. As we went past a cross street there was a car stopped and it beeped at us as we went by. We pulled up to the complainant and I was watching the car that beeped come up behind us. The operator was driving aggressively and kind of screetched to a stop behind our patrol. I was watching this as the complainant was talking to my partner. My attention was divided and I heard the comp say "that's him right there", pointing to the guy who had pulled up. This all happened in about 30 seconds. I thought that she meant that was the suspect. This guy was now out of his car and was approaching us and was obvioulsy ****** off. I drew my weapon, keeping it at my side, and ordered him back and told him to put his hands on his car. The comp immediately explained that she meant that was the guy who witnessed the incident and was chasing the suspect. The guy in the car, who was already ****** off, blew his top and starts screaming about how dare I draw a weapon on him and that we watch too much cops...blah, blah, blah. He hit his car so hard with his palms that he put dents in the hood. I appologized and fully explained what happened. His response was that he was obviously unarmed and I had no justification to draw a weapon. I tried to explain that if I believed he was the pool slashing suspect it would be reasonable to assume that he still had whatever it was that he slashed the pool with and would in fact be FOOLISH to not assume that he did. This guy would hear none of it and remained irrate. I finally told him that our discussion was over and that if the same thing happened again that I would react in the exact same manner. I explained how to file a complaint and we left to look for the suspect while another car took the report for us so we could leave before Mr. personality got arrested for disorderly conduct.

I feel that I was justified and acted more than reasonably on what I believed at the time. I didn't point my weapon at him, but should have. I never ordered him to the ground, but should have. This guy was ****** because we didn't pull over and stop when he beeped at us. He approached in an aggressive manner because of that. I did not know what the situation was yet because we had just arrived. He asked "If I was the suspect why would I be coming back"? Because people do goofy things, that's why. The first thing that I thought of was that it was a domestic situation and the other half was returning, like I have seen 100's of times. People will know that they are going to get arrested and will still return just because they are so ****** off and they just absolutely have to get the last word.

Put yourself on both sides and tell me how you think you would react.

Steve
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Old July 20, 2005, 12:50 AM   #2
CB23
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Just as you assumed (rightfully so) that he could have been the slasher and possibly still armed with whatever he did the slashing with, HE should have assumed that you had every right to employ that line of thinking, even if it wasn't him.

I know a lot of people think LEO's are jerks, egomaniacs, whatever. Maybe some are. However, in the few instances that I have had an exchange with an officer, if you don't act like a jackass things will go a lot better for you. You did your part by thinking of where his mind might have possibly been. He should have been doing the same in regards to you.
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Old July 20, 2005, 01:18 AM   #3
chris in va
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Based on the information you were given, ("thats him right there") and his demeanor I'd say you were fully justified how you handled things.

I would probably have lessened my explanation to him and just pointed out that someone behaving that way toward an LEO is going to have a weapon unholstered, good intentions or not.

You just DON'T do that sort of thing around armed individuals...
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Old July 20, 2005, 06:36 AM   #4
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I was thinking the same thing until you said that he was the witness.
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Old July 20, 2005, 07:13 AM   #5
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With attitudes like that guy, it's no wonder people in that neighborhood are getting thier pools slashed...
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Old July 20, 2005, 07:50 AM   #6
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pardon my wordage, but the guy's an *******. i wouldn't second-guess your reaction at all. i don't know if realistically you can, but i'd have said you'd even be justified for giving him some sort of citation. even if he goes to court and it doesn't hold up, it'd sure upset him, and i feel like people with that little self control deserve to get jerked around once in a while. that's probably why it's better that i'm not charged with keeping the peace though
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Old July 20, 2005, 09:44 AM   #7
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Not that I am necessarily qualified to comment, but what was the advantage of drawing your pistol and keeping it at your side? It just seems like you would be in a better position (for firing or otherwise) with your hand on your pistol, but still in your holster. Please excuse the following what-if...If the guy continued to you and bulled you over for whatever reason, you pistol would still be secure OR you could still draw and fire if that was called for (as he got closer to bulling you over)

Other than that, It is certainly a tough job you have. All is well that ends well. Did you get the pool slasher?

Ron
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Old July 20, 2005, 11:20 AM   #8
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Don't you just love it when someone watches a few episodes of Cops and thinks he knows how to do your job? That's how I feel when I have to take care of someone who has watched ER.

You did fine. I would like to think I would have handled the matter as professionally as you did. Not everyone can.
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Old July 20, 2005, 11:45 AM   #9
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I don't know that I would have drawn without pointing, but other than that, looks good to me. Not that I am particularly qualified to judge, as I am not LEO, or an expert on police firearm policy.
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Old July 20, 2005, 02:22 PM   #10
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drawing can take time. one of the age-old rules, perhaps it bends for LEOs, is don't point your gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. if you feel threatened, particularly if you haven't practiced up to wyatt-earp-spec, it's good to draw so you're not fumbling if you need to use it. but pointing without firing would give me the impression you've done something to warrant shooting but the would-be shooter is giving you a moment to reconsider the course of action to try and avoid the escalation. that's how i'd interpret it at least. the guy was being a jerk but (unfortunately) that's not enough to warrant lethal force. however his jerkish behavior was aggressive, and if he chose to increase the aggression it was probably just a good idea to be at the highest justifiable level of readiness and error on the safe side.
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Old July 20, 2005, 02:28 PM   #11
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As I read the scenario, I think you did exactly the right thing.
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Do not go gently into that good night.

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Old July 20, 2005, 06:20 PM   #12
siotwo
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"Don't you just love it when someone watches a few episodes of Cops and thinks he knows how to do your job? "


Who are you talking about?
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Old July 20, 2005, 06:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
His response was that he was obviously unarmed
How was he driving if he was unarmed? ( )

But truthfully, humans are "armed" at all times and some actually have some sort of "poison" (diseases) to go with those "arms".

To me, a fist, hand/hands, fingernails, teeth (don't have to worry about this one in the South (j/k, I grew up in the South)) and legs/feet all of which can be deadly weapons when attached to the right person.

So, I think that you did well and as for his "logic" about being unarmed, you can explain it to the next person that says that.

Wayne

*Wayne, who started doing research into what LEO's do and counting statistics of "good vs. bad" and have found that a few bad apples don't spoil the bunch and that painting broad strokes only work when painting your house.
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Old July 20, 2005, 07:10 PM   #14
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You may well have done exactly the right thing - but that doesn't mean that he is going to enjoy any of it.

If I was trying to help the victim and the leo's out, and for my pains ended up with a gun drawn on me, I would be upset too. I think I would behave more rationally than you described his behavior, but I would still be upset even once I knew you acted correctly under the circumstances.

I bet you get upset when anyone draws on you too, no matter how correct they are? Yes? It would be the normal and natural reaction. So for what it is worth, you did what you had to do and he did what he had to do, but he should have calmed down faster and acted better.
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Old July 20, 2005, 07:13 PM   #15
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Do what your sixth sense tells you tempered with departmental policy.

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Old July 20, 2005, 07:44 PM   #16
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Who are you talking about?
The guy who got out of the car in the original post Ron. Don't get your gander up.
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Old July 20, 2005, 08:32 PM   #17
siotwo
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Oh, I'm not. I was wondering what I could have said to get told that
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Old July 20, 2005, 10:23 PM   #18
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In the context of the scenario, and in the "heat of the moment", initially, I wouldn't be to awful concerned about whether or not he enjoys it. If I had a guy approaching me, obviously agitated with a woman yelling "that's him right there", and out on a call with a pool being "slashed", you better betcha I'm gonna be on "high alert" (1* ). Furthermore as I read it, the gun was out of the holster but never pointed at the individual. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, sidearm by your side, barrel down. Lastly it seems like he did everything he could to smooth it over with him, in the end, which is obviously the right thing to do as well. I say good job here.
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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lighting they
Do not go gently into that good night.

Dylan Thomas


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Old July 20, 2005, 10:40 PM   #19
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Today's LE holsters are high riding and high retention. Good in some ways, but definitely NOT fast holsters! An unholstered sidearm is NOT a use of force, even by DOJ's strict guidelines. Better an uninjured citizen and an undead cop than an upset citizen or a dead cop. He's upset? Tough sh**. You did right and he ain't hurt. I can understand him being a little upset, and I'll do everything I can to explain what I did and why I did it, and that he's free to file an IA complaint, but if he continues the loud and boisterous profanity in public, he's looking at a charge of disorderly conduct.
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Old July 20, 2005, 11:34 PM   #20
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I'm with the majority; you did O.K..

This is probably the reason why "don't get involved" or other admonishments against "viglantism" are commonplace, particularly from the law enforcement community. And if you're going to act like this guy, that's probably good advice.

I've had a few encounters with law enforcement in the self-appointed block watch captain mode. If you act calmly, rationally, understand why the cops are there in the first place, and realize you don't have a tattoo on your forehead that says "Good Guy", I find you are treated with the maximum possible respect and civility. That's even when packin' too.
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Old July 20, 2005, 11:56 PM   #21
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You did fine. If the guy doesn't like it, Oh well. You got to go home. 12-34 gives sage advise.
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Old July 21, 2005, 12:30 AM   #22
Trapper 44
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Battle Assesment

We all rethink our battles no matter how small or large the confrontation. You did what you did. You were in a situation that called for action and you took it without delay. Delay can cost people lives. You did right. I'll tell you, I've had a gun pointed and me twice in my life and fired at me once and I didn't argue one bit either time. Maybe if it was pointed at him it would have felt different to him. If he has any brains it would have. But maybe's are all we have after the fact. I'm glad you and your partner and the citizen "Mr. Personality" are all okay. You've got a tough, tough job and you can be proud of the fact that you do it well. Keep thinking straight like you did. As far as I am concerned he shoulda got a crack on the noggin with your sidearm. That would have quieted things down a bit while you sorted it all out but his agression did not allow time for you to sort out. You had to revert to your senses. People do all sorts of unexplainable things in fights and battles and even good, logical battle tested men and women sometimes do not know why they reacted why they did during a battle (and this was a battle, that you won by the way), after the fact. They just did. Again, you did good. It's what I would have done. Tonight he may be thinking "Hey, I could have been shot". Let's hope he is.
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Old July 21, 2005, 12:40 AM   #23
Trapper 44
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One last thing......

Steve, you asking for insight from both sides shows a great concern for right and wrong. You are to be commended you for that type of thinking.
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