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Old August 13, 2007, 02:45 PM   #1
spacemanspiff
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(AK) Juneau police officer shoots/kills sword wielding lunatic; criticized by locals

Residents question use of deadly force

Juneau police contend officer was threatened

When witnesses saw Randall Clevenger assault a woman Friday night and heard him say he wanted to kill himself, they figured he would spend some time in jail.
But after hearing the three police gunshots that killed Clevenger, resident Fred Oleson can't help but question how the incident unfolded.

"I don't see how they can justify the shooting," Oleson said. "The guy had a sword. They're equipped with Tasers and mace ... He didn't have to kill the guy."

Days after Juneau's first officer-involved homicide in years, many residents in the mobile home park where it happened remain disturbed and upset. Despite the reaction, Juneau police Sgt. Dave Campbell responded that "the only logical choice for the officer was to use his handgun."

The suspect screamed at the officer to kill him while he advanced on the officer with a samurai-style sword in his arms, Campbell said. The officer backed away until he was unable to back away more.

"Basically put, the officer was being threatened with deadly force, and we respond to deadly force with deadly force," Campbell said. "It would be absolutely inappropriate for the officer, when his life is jeopardized with a sword, to respond with a Taser or OC spray. There are numerous instances where people have used pepper spray or a Taser and the device has failed. So when an officer is being threatened with deadly force, you're not going to rely on something that can fail."

The police continued to withhold the name of the officer who shot Clevenger. He has been put on administrative leave.

Residents of Thunder Mountain Mobile Park - a neighborhood at the end of Thunder Mountain Road near the Mendenhall Glacier - became involved shortly after the incident started Friday evening. Oleson and his friends were watching a movie when the barking of a dog alerted them to the developing problem.

Clevenger, 40, was outside and locked in a confrontation with two women. He had a knife in his hand was holding a woman by her neck, telling her he would kill her, witnesses said.

Oleson walked off his porch and started approaching Clevenger.

"He pointed the knife at me and said to stay where I was," Oleson said. "He said he was going to take care of what he had to take care of and then he was going to kill himself."

Clevenger appeared to be distraught about a relationship, and Oleson said he seemed "intoxicated and very passionate about his feelings."

"He made a bad decision. But it wasn't worth three in the chest," Oleson said.

Clevenger ran away when he heard sirens, Oleson said. Law enforcement officers arrived on scene, and one officer started interviewing people in the vicinity of the assault. At the far end of the road in a wooded area, another officer located Clevenger.

"That's when we heard the shots," Oleson said. "It was bang, bang, bang."

"I just don't understand why the police officer didn't shoot him in the leg," he said.

Police are trained to shoot at "center mass," the center of the chest, not at arms or legs, Campbell said.

"He screamed at the top of his lungs for the officer to kill him," Campbell said, adding that the interaction between the officer and Clevenger was recorded on a tape recorder. The recording was not released to the public.

"It was a very dynamic, violent situation, and the officer tried to maintain distance," Campbell said. "He tried to extract himself. When the officer couldn't go any further, that's when he used his firearm."

• Contact Ken Lewis at 523-2263 or ken.lewis@juneauempire.com.
http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/...70813020.shtml
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:04 PM   #2
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A samurai sword is a very nasty weapon. The officer did the right thing.
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:06 PM   #3
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Job Well Done

Sounds like the officer did a fine job to me. Some of the comments by neighbors and the general public are completely mind boggling on incidents like this.
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:08 PM   #4
gordo_gun_guy
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I read

that about 2/3 of people shot with handguns survive.

Zero people decapitated with a katana have survived.

Seems justified....
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:11 PM   #5
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Any distance inside 20-22 yards of a sword would have me worried, cant say I would have done differently.
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:28 PM   #6
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100% good shoot. All the monday morning QB'ing in the world isn't gonna convict this officer.
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Old August 13, 2007, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Some of the comments by neighbors and the general public are completely mind boggling on incidents like this.
There's almost always a few that question a righteous shoot with the "he coulda shot him with a Taser" or "he shoulda shot the sword outta his hand".

The real problems start when the media uses those as fuel for their liberal, bleeding heart agenda.
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Old August 13, 2007, 04:01 PM   #8
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Maybe the sword guy could have lived with the other guy who said they didn't have to kill him.

Give him a few weeks, then we'll check on him.
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Old August 13, 2007, 04:29 PM   #9
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"Plakas v. Drinski (1994)

The Seventh Circuit held that as long as the use of deadly force is objectively reasonable under Tennessee v. Garner and Graham v. Connor, the officer has no duty to use available, less-lethal alternatives before resorting to deadly force. It also held that the department had no duty to provide non-lethal equipment to cover every foreseeable situation that an officer might face, stating that “the Constitution does not enact a police administrator’s equipment list.”
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Old August 13, 2007, 04:30 PM   #10
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Taking a life is an awesome responsibility, and should be avoided if at all possible. That said, I believe the decedant was responsible for his own death, through his actions.

Common sense dictates that if you threaten people with a sword, you're likely to get shot by a cop. To blame the officer is the type of thing undertaken by those who don't have the duty to confront potentially dangerous people.
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Old August 13, 2007, 04:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
"I don't see how they can justify the shooting," Oleson said. "The guy had a sword. They're equipped with Tasers and mace ... He didn't have to kill the guy."
I bet if you gave Mr. Oleson a can of mace and a taser and then charged at him with a sword, his opinion would change rapidly.

It just reminds me of why I don't carry non-lethal alternatives. This way I won't have to listen to the Mr. Olesons of the world saying, "The guy only had a <insert deadly weapon>, he didn't have to kill him. Why didn't he use his pepper spray and kubaton instead?"
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Old August 13, 2007, 05:15 PM   #12
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ATW525 wrote:

Quote:
I bet if you gave Mr. Oleson a can of mace and a taser and then charged at him with a sword, his opinion would change rapidly.
+1 on that. That was exactly the same thought running through my head, and you beat me to it.
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Old August 13, 2007, 05:47 PM   #13
BreacherUp!
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Hmm, reminds me of a sign on my desk:
"Those who live by the Sword
Get Shot
By those that Don't"
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Old August 13, 2007, 09:39 PM   #14
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Reads like a good shooting. As Capt Charlie wrote someone always wants less force, but that person is never the one at risk!

The article did remind me of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DzcOCyHDqc

Best.

B
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Old August 14, 2007, 07:19 AM   #15
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"many residents in the mobile home park where it happened remain disturbed and upset."

Yep, found the problem right there!

Of course, I'm a good ole red-neck who has lived in more than one "mobile home park" in my life....
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Old August 14, 2007, 07:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
"I don't see how they can justify the shooting," Oleson said. "The guy had a sword. They're equipped with Tasers and mace ... He didn't have to kill the guy."
I agree totally with the gist of this quote for all the wrong reasons. First however, the police don't have mace, but pepper spray, just as a clarification.

No, the police did not have to kill the guy, but out of the arms available to the officer facing a very lethal threat, he picked the option that would best protect his life. Of those options, tasers and pepper spray aren't that great. The notion of going against a lethal sword with a less lethal and often ineffective option such as tasers or pepper spray would be a self preservation and tactical blunder. Plus, you have to be way too close to use tasers and pepper spray against somebody with a sword. Tasers don't reload very quickly if you miss.

Of course, this is one of those really stupid comments. The fault is not with the officer for carrying out his duty. The fault is with the guy with the sword who acted in a threatening manner. The guy would not have been shot had he not behaved how he behaved.

The dead guy chose poorly. The alive cop chose wisely.
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Old August 14, 2007, 08:01 AM   #17
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Old August 14, 2007, 08:06 AM   #18
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The cop did what he had to do.
When a man is charging at you with a sword in his hand all you can think about is putting him down quick before he can get to you.
The officer has my backing.
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Old August 14, 2007, 08:20 AM   #19
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If we're talking three, four cops, I can see them having one guy use a taser or whatever to try and calm the guy down enough so they can handcuff him.

But one officer? That's asking for a dead cop right there.

Good shoot.

The citizen's comments are...enlightening.
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Old August 14, 2007, 08:30 AM   #20
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Well, all I can say is that a guy who runs around all day with a samurai sword CLEARLY has issues!
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Old August 14, 2007, 09:14 AM   #21
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Ancient defeated samurai exiled in Mobil Home Park?

Here In Guatemala The machete (34” long) is a very popular weapon among the indigenous people, and there are many instances where people armed with guns, are killed by people with only a machete. It is no less lethal than a bullet, you just have to be a little closer. If a guy pulls one on a cop down here and gets shot you can bet your lucky stars there would be no charges brought up against the police officer. He’s gonna get a pat on the back.
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Old August 14, 2007, 03:43 PM   #22
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Sword control legislation is the answer.
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Old August 14, 2007, 04:52 PM   #23
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Police shooting

That officer did a damn fine job of taking another POS off America's streets. The perp was lucky to be in Juneau. If that happened in Philly, the cops would have shot him to pieces. He got what he asked for.
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Old August 14, 2007, 07:25 PM   #24
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Heck, I don't blame the cop. A sword can take off an arm, leg, head, hand, foot, etc... with one swipe. The guy may have been on drugs to.

Yep, justified. Moral of the story, if you wave swords around expect to be shot by people who take umbrage at such behavior.
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Old August 14, 2007, 08:40 PM   #25
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Sounds like a justified shooting to me.
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