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Old January 17, 2014, 06:09 PM   #26
OuTcAsT
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he gave the guy every opportunity.
No, he clearly gave him a choice but, far from "every opportunity"
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Old January 17, 2014, 06:18 PM   #27
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A firearm is deadly force and is employed only when deadly force is believed to be necessary. Besides that, there's no reason to believe that a shot in the leg would not have been deadly.
Looked to me watching the video that the officer could have backed off keeping the individual covered, would that not have being an option. I have no doubt that the officer was justified shooting when the guy went towards him, but was it the best and only option. If he went in to the house to try and prevent the guy harming himself then seeing that he might have to shoot him ,not backing off but shooting and killing him doesn't really make sense to me. After all the officer is going to have to live with what happened as well. It reminds me of a case here, an officer shot dead an individual in a stolen car that drove at him. An investigations was held its opinion was that the officer was justified shooting when the driver drove towards him. But criticised the officer for standing in front of the car to try and stop it , as if he didn't then he wouldn't have had to shoot.

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Old January 17, 2014, 06:35 PM   #28
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I'm sorry but that's Hollywood fantasy land. No use of force training or reputable instructors any where teach that sort of method.

A firearm is deadly force and is employed only when deadly force is believed to be necessary. Besides that, there's no reason to believe that a shot in the leg would not have been deadly.

The guy CERTAINLY didn't need to end up dead and he could have NOT been dead by putting down the knife and complying. As cold as it sounds, the old saying of "Don't play with bull unless you're ready to deal with the horns." is absolutely true.
Like I wrote; that is my view. That hasn't changed.
It is one of those situations that polarise views and so, I'm leaving it at that.
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Old January 17, 2014, 06:58 PM   #29
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I'll call it a good shoot. I also think that, if it was determined that there was no one else in the house. It might have been a good idea to wait him out.
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Old January 17, 2014, 07:16 PM   #30
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Did the officer think there was someone else in the house, that the guy with the knife was threatening?
Easy enough to find out by asking the woman.
If the guy with the knife was the only one still in the house, and no one else was in danger, what was the need for the confrontation?
Looked very much like a nervous young officer over reacting to the situation.
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Old January 17, 2014, 07:49 PM   #31
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Looked very much like a nervous young officer over reacting to the situation.
Officer Spencer Mortensen has been an officer for 6 years. Based on the officers I know, he has probably been in hairy domestic situations and/or tense situations hundreds of times.

Oops I forgot I wasn't going to post anymore, sorry.
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Old January 17, 2014, 08:08 PM   #32
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Lets look at this from a different perspective;

When the officer arrived, the female was inside with the subject. She made it clear as she stepped outside that she was afraid he might cut himself with a knife. She stepped out before the officer entered.

Lets suppose, for a moment, that this had been some sort of "hostage" situation. That there might have been someone else inside with the subject. Do you think that the officer would have walked inside and attempted to confront the subject as he did ?
Having seen hostage situations unfold before, usually it seems (to me) that LE takes the utmost care to avoid confrontation.

I feel relatively sure that the officer knew the subject was alone inside and, he even made sure that there was no other way for the subject to get out through a back door, or window.

I can understand his wanting to "size up" the situation and, check the status of the subject but, the fact remains that the officer, after ascertaining that the subject was alive, and indeed holding a knife, could have backed out and chosen a different approach. The subject was moving quite slowly and did not "raise" the knife at all.

I realize that someone with a knife can cover a lot of ground very quickly if they are inclined to do so, this subject did not seem to be moving aggressively toward the officer in such a manner.
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Old January 17, 2014, 08:41 PM   #33
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I feel the officer did the best he could given the time he had to make a call. Remember he back pretty much to the door. Received a call about this man threatening to hurt himself possibly others. The woman he had on the porch repeatedly ignored his instructions and got up. She could've become a second assailant and or victim if she entered or he allowed the attack outside.

Those who felt he shot to much. there is a chance he misses. the rounds fail to stop or enrage the target. If he waited to see what happened it could cost him his life. When the target fell he stopped per training.
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Old January 17, 2014, 08:48 PM   #34
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Statements, testimony, events....

1st;
I'd say waiting for a SWAT/SRT unit or more back up would be smart because there is safety in #s. Also it shows a jury or review panel that you made every effort to follow policy or try to resolve the incident without lethal force.
Would a crisis negotiator or SWAT commander be able to resolve the dispute? Who knows? But more officers on scene could have been a deterrent.

2nd; The female subject is not a credible source of information.
I've been many, many critical events where some jittery tweaker changes their story every 30sec. That woman in the video should been detained or removed from the scene, questioned then kept away from the house until more LE officers could have cleared it.
I've seen first hand where "witnesses" lie about identity, tamper with evidence, flee, become violent, or deny what they say(refuse to file sworn statements).
The female in the video was not assisting the police & put them at risk IMO.
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Old January 17, 2014, 09:28 PM   #35
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Something I haven't seen mentioned, the officer didn't go rushing in. He waited by the door, and called for the guy repeatily. No answer, no compliance, then the officer goes in. So what was he to do? Keep waiting and hope the guy isn't bleeding out? I think the officer did fine.

Also, we are trained to respond to the threat of lethal force with the threat of lethal force. Just like you shouldn't take a knife to a gun fight, you don't take a Taser to a knife fight. I have had my Taser fail on several occasions, all due to the probes not sticking, and in one case, not a wide enough spread. I'm more then glad it didn't happen in a lethal force threat, ie; dude has two knives, type of scenario.

Lastly, while on camera it appears the officer had all the time in the world to make a decision, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that officer had a split second to decide what to do. And we don't always get a second chance if we're wrong, and we have families too.
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Old January 17, 2014, 10:08 PM   #36
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Tough situation. This video has some value for training and I've already forwarded it to the lieutenant in charge of firearms training (which includes tactics).
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Old January 18, 2014, 03:12 AM   #37
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Post #35, tactics....

I disagree with #35.
The police officer could have waited. Knowing the front door area was the only access point of the dwelling(except for the unlikely chance the man would lunge out a window).
The officer decides to enter & slowly move towards the subject(who he thinks may be armed).
Now, a valid point could be made that the unstable male might stab himself or injury an unknown occupant of the property with the knife or another weapon.
The cop's movement might be appropriate under those conditions.
I still say, I would have stationed by the doorway(porch) then draw the subject in. Going towards the subject, alone was risky. Talking & being + was a smart tactic too.
It showed the police officer was honest & sincere about helping him.
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Old January 18, 2014, 09:52 AM   #38
OuTcAsT
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mrray13 wrote;
Quote:
Something I haven't seen mentioned, the officer didn't go rushing in. He waited by the door, and called for the guy repeatily. No answer
Actually. after the officer had asked the woman to exit and, he got to the front door there was only 1:18 that elapsed until he made visual contact with the subject, that is not exactly a great deal of time.

Quote:
So what was he to do? Keep waiting and hope the guy isn't bleeding out?
There is no doubt that the officer had to try and establish the subjects status but, when he arrived the woman was inside with the subject, she even answered the the officer's question and assured him that he had not hurt himself yet but, that she feared he "might" She did not seem to fear for her own safety and, had the presence of mind to realize that something was wrong enough to call the police and advise them as such. The officer did start his communication with a calm and re-assuring demeanor, however, immediately upon making visual contact he changed to a "command voice" and had his weapon pointed at the subject. ( that is, of course, understandable )

Quote:
we are trained to respond to the threat of lethal force with the threat of lethal force.
Again, the subject, and the officer made visual contact with each other at the same moment. The officer perceives the subject with a knife as a "threat" Is it not also possible that the evidently unstable subject might perceive the man pointing a firearm at him and yelling, a "threat" as well ? Is that training, or simply instinctual ?

Quote:
you don't take a Taser to a knife fight. I have had my Taser fail on several occasions, all due to the probes not sticking, and in one case, not a wide enough spread.
If Tasers are so un-reliable, why do departments continue to issue and train with them ? Does OC spray fail equally as often ?

Quote:
Lastly, while on camera it appears the officer had all the time in the world to make a decision, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that officer had a split second to decide what to do.
According to the video, he had slightly over 17 seconds from his initial visual contact until he fired his first shot. The officer stopped using any sort of "calm" or "talking him down" immediately upon making visual contact. there were about 12 of those 17 seconds that the subject stood in place before beginning to slowly move.

Quote:
no compliance
The subject was reported as possibly suicidal, he has just been in some sort of MVA, is it possible that he might be unable to understand the circumstances as they unfolded in the 1 minute, 35 seconds that the officer and subject were in contact with each other ?
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Old January 18, 2014, 10:23 AM   #39
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There's a whole bunch of assumptions floating around, made mostly of whole cloth.

Who honestly believes that the car accident was a factor here? It was quite obviously a minor accident. There isn't the slightest evidence that there was any concern whatsoever about injuries or "shock". The guy clearly left the scene. The officer said it was no big deal on the video, telling him "I just need your insurance...." Obviously, he needed more than insurance but the tone and words indicate it's minor. No evidence at all that a person should have been "in shock" or anyone has any injuries.

Also, the idea that he didn't wait for backup is false. There is no gap in the video and it is clear that other officers were at the door within moments of when shots were fired. The officer inside called on the radio "I need you in the house NOW." as soon as he saw the suspect. By the time he checks on the deceased, just seconds after shooting, there are two other officers in the house with him.

We can't see the suspects face at all. The facial expression and eyes could be telling the officer that this is much worse than what we see. He has 6 years experience. We have poor visibility, low detail on the subject and 2 minute video with the officers arms in the way.

This is really simply to me. We have a veteran officer. Any evidence that he has demonstrated a hair trigger in 6 years of police work? No? Why should I think he did here? I'd bet he's never shot anyone else in 6 years. Why now, unless his experience and training are telling him he has to?
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Old January 18, 2014, 10:30 AM   #40
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Quote:
Again, the subject, and the officer made visual contact with each other at the same moment. The officer perceives the subject with a knife as a "threat" Is it not also possible that the evidently unstable subject might perceive the man pointing a firearm at him and yelling, a "threat" as well ? Is that training, or simply instinctual ?
Well the officer called out to him several times to come talk to him at the front door. Told him why he was there. Not very threatining. The officer also calmly told him to put the knife down first. It wasn't until the subject advanced that the officer started to yell.

As for entering the woman said he had a knife and she thought he would hurt himself. The officer also didn't know if the woman outside was lying to him. If it were me I think I would have put her in the back seat of the car. He could have been dying from self inflicted wounds or for all he knows the woman stabbed him to death and called them making up a story(I've hadled cases like that). Given the situation I can understand why the officer entered and like is said in previous post^^ that camera is only seeing and hearing in a direct line in front. We can't make out return traffic on the radio. Two officers were called and entered immediatly after shots were fired so we don't actually know when back up was there or if another officer was behind him.
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Old January 18, 2014, 10:45 AM   #41
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I cannot say that I agree with your assessment. While anyone armed with a knife certainly poses a threat, the man was not advancing quickly nor,aggressively on the officer in my opinion.
Ah, but he was advancing on the officer and forcing the officer to retreat. That is aggression.

Quote:
...and bringing a knife to a gunfight is strong evidence of hostile intent without any particular concern about winning that fight.
No, that is completely wrong. First of all, you fight with what you have. Secondly, a lot of officers have been defeated or seriously wounded by people with knives. To put it in your vernacular, bringing a gun to a knife fight can be a losing proposition. Third, you are assuming that the person is in the correct frame of mind or has the correct understanding that the odds may not be in his favor. That is a naïve assumption.

Quote:
No, he clearly gave him a choice but, far from "every opportunity"
You are right. He gave the suspect 8 opportunities, ONLY 5 of which while the suspect was advancing on the officer. From the looks of the video, that is two more than I thought was prudent.

Quote:
Just like you shouldn't take a knife to a gun fight, you don't take a Taser to a knife fight.
Sure some cops absolutely do.

http://www.wgrz.com/story/news/crime...tness/4565793/
http://www.policeone.com/less-lethal...t-Whole-Foods/

But the key here is that they are usually backed up by other officers with firearms.

Quote:
If Tasers are so un-reliable, why do departments continue to issue and train with them ? Does OC spray fail equally as often ?
Have you seen how many times firearms have failed? They are but a tool of a series of tools for officers to use. Not all tools work in all situations equally well on all people by all officers.
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Old January 18, 2014, 10:49 AM   #42
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Rule #1: Never call the police to 'save' someone considering suicide; this is not the first case of a family calling the police in that circumstance to have their family member 'saved' from self-harm by swift application of lethal force.


The question here isn't really 'did he need to shoot when the subject advanced' (he, IMHO, did), but 'should he have been there in the first place?'


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Old January 18, 2014, 10:54 AM   #43
OuTcAsT
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Brian Pfleuger wrote;
Quote:
There's a whole bunch of assumptions floating around, made mostly of whole cloth.
Of course, the OP posted a video that none of us were on the scene for, anyone who posts an opinion can only work from assumption.

Quote:
It was quite obviously a minor accident.
How so ? This seems to be an assumption on your part.

Quote:
There isn't the slightest evidence that there was any concern whatsoever about injuries or "shock".
My point exactly.

Quote:
Obviously, he needed more than insurance but the tone and words indicate it's minor.
However the drawn firearm indicate it is not "minor" in the slightest.

Quote:
No evidence at all that a person should have been "in shock" or anyone has any injuries.
Indeed, there is no "evidence" either way, whether it be from the accident or, self inflicted thus, the need for the officer to enter.

Quote:
We can't see the suspects face at all. The facial expression and eyes could be telling the officer that this is much worse than what we see. He has 6 years experience. We have poor visibility, low detail on the subject and 2 minute video with the officers arms in the way.
Agreed, the quality is poor, but it is all we have to rely on for discussion purposes.

Quote:
Why now, unless his experience and training are telling him he has to?
That is, indeed, the point of discussion.
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Old January 18, 2014, 11:14 AM   #44
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I'm sorry but that's Hollywood fantasy land. No use of force training or reputable instructors any where teach that sort of method.

A firearm is deadly force and is employed only when deadly force is believed to be necessary. Besides that, there's no reason to believe that a shot in the leg would not have been deadly.
+1

Anyone so stubborn as to think that "shoot him in the leg" (or hand, arm, etc.) is good advice, needs to educate themselves with some FoF training.

It's truly amazing what opinions people hold to, absent genuine knowledge or training.
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Old January 18, 2014, 11:16 AM   #45
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this was a justified use of lethal force based on what the officer knew at the time, based on the law, based on his duty to respond/protect/act.

if you base the outcome on your opinion you have already displayed bias.
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Old January 18, 2014, 11:18 AM   #46
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Nice point by point avoidance of the actual point.

The point is, virtually every argument made against the officer is either patently false or an unreasonable assumption. He was NOT alone. There were AT LEAST 2 other officers on scene. They had either verbally or by instinct agreed that one would go to check on the suspect.

There's *zero* evidence that the accident was severe, caused any injuries or would put anyone in "shock". None. There's amble circumstantial evidence that it was minor, including that no one had any concern about ACCIDENT INJURIES to the suspect. They certainly DID have concerns that he was going to hurt himself. That's why the woman called police or at least the first thing she told the officers on scene and the officer says something like "... It isn't worth it, it's just a crash."

I really have nothing else to say. I've seen a thousand of these discussion that turn into point by point break downs of every sentence while ignoring the overarching concepts. I'm not going to do it.

Some people will assume the officer did wrong and make up stories to prove it. Others will assume that, absent historical or factual evidence to the contrary, the officer was acting the way his training and experience told him to and make the overriding assumption that the only unreasonable acts were by the person who caused an accident, ran away, threatened to hurt himself, ignored numerous police requests and orders and then, armed with two knives, advanced on a police officer, despite threats of getting shot.
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Old January 18, 2014, 11:29 AM   #47
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Conditions...

I stated a few times the first police officer/officer who used lethal force could be cleared. Im not critical of his actions based on what he said & did, I'm saying what I would do in that event.
I agree that we can't dissect a short video of a incident we were not involved in first hand. But I also say there are other ways of handling events like this & I still say I would not close in on a subject. Id have him/her come to me or let them become barricaded so a SRT unit or crisis negotiators could resolve it.


About 3 months ago, a older man near where I live became distraught & confused during a fight with another man. He got a large knife & made several threats. The other guy & a few tenants called the local PD. The subject ran into his small apt & refused to come out.
The patrol officers called SWAT & they negotiated for approx 45min. After that they made a dynamic entry & took the older man into custody without incident.

Those tactics can work. They take longer & are more stressful but they can avoid lethal force.
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Old January 18, 2014, 12:16 PM   #48
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Its just ironic, call the police because you are concern that a loved one will harm themselves. The police respond and shoot them dead.
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Old January 18, 2014, 12:25 PM   #49
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Quote:
Its just ironic, call the police because you are concern that a loved one will harm themselves. The police respond and shoot them dead.
There is no irony there. You call the police about concern that a loved one will harm themselves (as they are apparently mentally unstable and cannot be trusted to value life) and then the loved one moves aggressively against the cops that you called to take your place to deal with the situation. If you call and have the cops put into danger, it should be no surprise that they will defend themselves.
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Old January 18, 2014, 01:51 PM   #50
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Quote:
There is no irony there. You call the police about concern that a loved one will harm themselves (as they are apparently mentally unstable and cannot be trusted to value life) and then the loved one moves aggressively against the cops that you called to take your place to deal with the situation. If you call and have the cops put into danger, it should be no surprise that they will defend themselves.
Or, they can use different tactics rather than "brute force" and diffuse the situation. Sometimes that is not possible but, it has been done successfully many times. I'm sure not all police departments have people that specialize in these types of situations but, many do. One cannot help but wonder if this department has such a specialized unit.

It would be nice if life were as black and white as you seem to view it but, there are mentally unstable people who need to be approached differently than a street thug. Some LE agencies recognize that fact and, apparently some do not.
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