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Old January 19, 2014, 02:37 PM   #76
ClydeFrog
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Culture & mindset....

Much has changed from the 1950s/1960s/1970s.
Many PDs & law enforcement agencies have changed their training standards and SOPs. Officers or deputies used to be more concerned with "community policing" or "community oriented policing" but now, in 2014, new cadets or rookies are conditioned to maintain their safety & be ready to react to any danger signs rapidly.
Years ago(2000) I applied to a sworn LE position with the PA State Police as a liquor enforcement agent. The application material stated; We(the PA State Police) are a para-military organization.
Many new cops & academy cadets are taught to be "firm, fair & friendly".
Now, I don't think every officer or deputy who answers calls for service is unprofessional or rude. I'm aware of the fact that they need to keep their safety & the PD regulations in check.
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Old January 19, 2014, 03:01 PM   #77
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This opinion that the officer had a duty to enter the house, could someone show me a department policy that says that. ?
The woman in the video (wife?) asked him to. We clearly heard her say she was afraid he was going to harm himself. What police agency DOESN'T have a policy that their officers are supposed to intervene when someone is in danger? Isn't that the very reason we have police? Or are they only there to write up the report after the guy stabs himself or someone else?

It's a simple equation: Command to drop knife + dropped knife = no gunshot wound. The other option is equally simple: Commmand to drop knife - dropped knife = 5 rounds to COM.

There were TWO people in that room making decisions, yet only the decisions of the officer seem to be getting second-guessed here. Those who criticize the cop for his actions seem more than happy to give the knife wielder a pass. The decision that caused that guy to die wasn't made by the officer; it was made by the guy with the knives.
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Old January 19, 2014, 03:23 PM   #78
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Sworn duty, audio....

Officer Mortensen(check spelling) has a sworn duty to enforce the law & protect the public but I didn't hear or see anything that would have required he(Ofc Mortensen) make entry into the dwelling.
The officer asked the distraught woman questions. I didn't hear her ask the cop directly to stop the male subject or want to have him removed.
She only said he was in the kitchen with a knife.
It's unknown(to me) if LE tracked the male to the location or if the female subject called 911 & requested help.

As I keep going back to, there would be no valid reason why the police officer had to go deeper into the property & make contact with the male.
Unless the male subject attacked the officer, the woman or another person in the home. Or if the male yelled; "I'm gonna kill myself!"
He(the subject) chose to move closer to the armed, uniformed officer. He knew the officer would react at some point.
The officer does yell several commands for the subject to stop & as noted, attempts to resolve(de-escalate) the situation in the beginning.

Clyde
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Old January 19, 2014, 03:57 PM   #79
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Quote:
Officer Mortensen(check spelling) has a sworn duty to enforce the law & protect the public but I didn't hear or see anything that would have required he(Ofc Mortensen) make entry into the dwelling.
The officer asked the distraught woman questions. I didn't hear her ask the cop directly to stop the male subject or want to have him removed.
She only said he was in the kitchen with a knife.
Bold mine.
This is exactly his reason for entry. Subject believed to harm himself not responding.

Quote:
As I keep going back to, there would be no valid reason why the police officer had to go deeper into the property & make contact with the male.
Which makes this an invalid argument.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:05 PM   #80
JERRYS.
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[QUOTEAs I keep going back to, there would be no valid reason why the police officer had to go deeper into the property & make contact with the male.][/QUOTE]

should the cops wait until the lady caller doesn't show up for work the next day to see if she was stabbed to death, or maybe wait until the guy is roaming the neighborhood killing kids.....?

answer this: why were the police at the residence in the first place?
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:07 PM   #81
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I wonder what the advice from the police would be if a civilian found himself in a similar situation , shoot or back off. And if the civilian shot what would happen to them. Just a thought advice to civilians.

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1.(The threat must be current, immediate, and unavoidable ).
Quote:
should the cops wait until the lady caller doesn't show up for work the next day to see if she was stabbed to death, or maybe wait until the guy is roaming the neighborhood killing kids.....?
I am not sure how that would happen as the lady was outside the house. Sometimes in similar situations they contain the threat , and try to negotiating. If he was contained he would not be roaming about killing anyone.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:11 PM   #82
JERRYS.
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I wonder what the advice from the police would be if a civilian found himself in a similar situation , shoot or back off. And if the civilian shot what would happen to them. Just a thought advice to civilians.
why would a civilian be answering a call at somebody else's home of a knife wielding suicidal person?
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:13 PM   #83
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manta49, you are using what the officer was not afforded; that is hind sight and Monday morning quarter backing....
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:16 PM   #84
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why would a civilian be answering a call at somebody else's home of a knife wielding suicidal person?
In a situation where another member of the family called them , informing them that their father -son etc, was threatening to kill themselves. Do you think that never happens. Not everyone's first call would be to the police. And in this case I am sure they regret calling the police.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:18 PM   #85
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In a situation where another member of the family called them , informing them that their father -son etc, was threatening to kill themselves. Do you think that never happens. Not everyone's first call would be to the police.
sure it happens all the time, and the cops end up there anyway....

then they clearly take on the responsibility of their actions and are not covered under a duty to act, respond... et cetera.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:20 PM   #86
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The point remains, though-if 'protecting' was the object, was that object served by FORCING a confrontation with a deranged man, armed with a weapon that, at that time, can harm only himself?

We do have the benefit of hindsight; we owe it to ourselves to use it to shape our knowledge and informed view of the world. In this instance, hindsight shows a number of ways that incident could likely have been managed without loss of life.

I remember at the Street Survival seminar I attended years ago, we were told that we had a duty to honor those who'd fallen in the line of duty, by learning from their sacrifice by studying how it could have been avoided. Do we owe this citizen less?

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Old January 19, 2014, 04:23 PM   #87
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The point remains, though-if 'protecting' was the object, was that object served by FORCING a confrontation with a deranged man, armed with a weapon that, at that time, can harm only himself?
Personally I think the cop forgot what he was there for, to save the guy from himself.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:33 PM   #88
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JERRYS Wrote;
Quote:
manta49, you are using what the officer was not afforded; that is hind sight and Monday morning quarter backing....
Of course he is, as all of us are. This video was posted for the purpose of discussion was it not ? If everyone simply posted "Good Shoot" or "+1" there would be very short and, uninteresting threads on this forum eh ?

Elkins 45 Wrote;
Quote:
Those who criticize the cop for his actions seem more than happy to give the knife wielder a pass.
No, nobody is "giving him a pass" however, shouldn't someone who is obviously suffering from a mental instability ( possibly a medical condition ) be afforded slightly different treatment than, say, a thug who just robbed a liquor store at knife point ? Can some of you not see a difference ?

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Old January 19, 2014, 04:34 PM   #89
ClydeFrog
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Recent posts....

As noted, the first LE officer(Mortensen) came on scene reportedly due to the subject being involved in a minor TA(traffic accident).
I agree that Mortensen could have made entry(moved further into the house) if the male subject became non-responsive(didn't talk, move or make any noise) but that doesn't automatically mean he harmed himself or posed a serious threat.
Most people under normal conditions can hear or "know/feel" if someone is there.
Doing security work & LE, I've been in events where subjects were hiding or were non-responsive.
Once a illegal(undocumented immigrant) was hiding in a back bedroom under a bed. The two deputies I was working with cleared the apt & we found the male quickly. The female deputy was not very happy when we found him & I don't blame her one bit.

Clyde
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:48 PM   #90
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I understand both points being made here. I'm sure Officer Mortensen, more than anybody else, is wondering if things would have been different had he waited for more officers before making entry.

That said, I believe his approach was acceptable. He knew he was dealing with a suicidal subject. After several failed attempts to verbally contact the subject, whom he knew was easily within earshot, it makes sense to me for him to attempt visual contact, just to make sure the subject hasn't already begun a suicide attempt/committed suicide. He didn't "approach" Eric. He moved to a position where he could see him. From the tilting of the camera, it's clear that he was doing his best just to get a look at what he was dealing with, while maintaining distance. Eric approached him.

As for the civilian comments, I don't believe they have any real bearing on situation. Had he killed himself, nobody would be asking any civilian why they didn't try to stop him. I'm SURE the friend regrets calling the police. I'm also SURE that had she not, and Eric just stabbed himself, she would regret not calling the police. It was a bad situation for everybody. I believe Officer Mortensen had every intention to defuse the situation so that everybody could go home in peace, but ultimately it is Eric who made the decision and he alone is responsible for his own death.
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Old January 19, 2014, 04:49 PM   #91
JERRYS.
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Of course he is, as all of us are. This video was posted for the purpose of discussion was it not ? If everyone simply posted "Good Shoot" or "+1" there would be very short and, uninteresting threads on this forum eh ?
for this purpose I agree. it seemed as though some leaned more towards a witch hunt.... maybe I misread some posts.

Quote:
Most people under normal conditions can hear or "know/feel" if someone is there.
well, if we're counting on e.s.p. where can one get training on that? also, can that be used as a defense if somebody is wrong with what they "know/feel"?
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Old January 19, 2014, 06:45 PM   #92
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Approach

I agree with Ton. To me it appeared that the woman told the officer that the subject intended to harm himself with the knife. The officer attempted to contact the subject before entering further into the house first with no response. The subject could have been bleeding out and the officers decision to proceed forward and possibly help a person who was mentally unstable was brave.

It is impossible to make any judgement on a person's state of mind. A two minute video is not enough for people to really even "Monday morning quarterback" without knowing the situation. The woman could have been in danger if the officer backed off and she took it upon herself to try and defuse the situation. She needed help and someone called for help. I don't know what the training is like for this type of situation. The officer and possibly others were in danger, and he stayed very calm for the situation in my opinion. I feel awful for the officer. From the video this was obviously not the outcome he wanted. I hope that he is dealing with it alright. And the family of the subject is also going through a very rough time.
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Old January 19, 2014, 07:19 PM   #93
ClydeFrog
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Combat antenna....

When I was a kid, I read a few Sgt Rock comic books.
"Rock" was a grizzled ex-steel mill worker who often relied on his "combat antenna" to alert him to danger.
Later, as a MP & security officer, I learned to trust my judgements & "gut".
I once caught a guy ducking down beside a car while on patrol at night because something didn't feel right as I drove past.

I'm sure Officer Mortensen was covering all his bases & using a loud, clear(command voice) to document exactly what he was doing.
Was that for the unstable subject's benefit? Not really. It would clearly show that the LE officer was going thru all the steps to deal with this type of call.

Experience & training help first responders deal with critical incidents.

I'd add that the woman was not in immediate danger. She could have fled the scene or walked at a slow pace away from the house. She chose to stay & get loud(argumentative). I would have handcuffed her or put her in a vehicle if other officers were there to monitor her.
If you listen to the audio, she loses it & becomes hyper after the lethal force event. If she wasn't detained or restrained by the other cops, she might have lunged at the officer too.
These attacks in domestics are common for LE officers. The caller/reporter realizes the other party is going to jail, freaks out, then attacks the LE on scene.

Last edited by ClydeFrog; January 19, 2014 at 07:24 PM.
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Old January 20, 2014, 12:41 AM   #94
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It's incredibly easy to sit in a comfy chair, watch a video, and critique what some one did or didn't do.
I don't think the guy needed to die, but I would not hold that officer responsible for excessive force, he was facing a weapon, and defended himself.

If the dude hadn't advanced, if he had just put the knife down, maybe he'd still be here today.

I think I remember seeing this on the news, I think an investigation led to a determination that it was "suicide by cop".
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Old January 20, 2014, 02:44 AM   #95
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The information the officer had was that the subject was suicidal. Didn't know if he was armed with a knife, gun, rope, or a bottle of pills. Or nothing. Officer did the right thing when he went inside to check on him. The guy could be sitting a the table crying, or he could be lying on the floor bleeding out. Officer was justified (exigent circumstances) in entering, and risked his life to come in and help.

It would have been nice if the officer could have safely backed out of the situation when he found out the subject was armed with a knife.

But he couldn't get to a safe distance inside that room. And he isn't safe running backwards when there is a possible attacker coming towards him with a knife.

The only opening I see is when the officer came in and saw the man had a knife. Had he backed out immediately, and had he known there was no one else in the house in danger, he might have been able to back out safely. Maybe. And maybe they could have talked the guy into putting down the knife and leave the house. But who's to say the guy wouldn't have killed himself anyway? And then there's no one inside to help him.

The whole thing is just a really sorry situation for everyone involved. Can't imagine what that woman or the officer is going through.
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Old January 20, 2014, 05:48 AM   #96
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Those are the two questions I have. Was it appropriate for the officer to be in the house and could he have backed out of the door? I guess the people who question the officer want to make sure the situation could have been resolved a different way. No one wants to see this end with death.

No matter the situation, however, the guy had a deadly weapon and was facing down an armed officer...not a good combination. Either he was suicidal or lacked any sense whatsoever. Another fact is that eventually there would have been a violent end if it was not on that day. This person would have gotten into trouble eventually.
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Old January 20, 2014, 12:59 PM   #97
ClydeFrog
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Armed citizens & sworn LE officers...

To address the post about what a license holder or armed citizen would do/could do, keep in mind that a sworn LE officer has a duty & mandated obligation to act. They can't witness a violent crime & then leave.
Police officers can mitigate risk & not take chances but they can get into serious trouble up to losing their jobs if they do not follow SOPs/laws.

In the early 2000s, when I first moved to where I live now, the county sheriff disciplined a sworn deputy for cowardness.
The young deputy refused to aid several victims in a critical incident & was cited for it.
Armed citizens & CCW license holders are not sworn LE officers!
Having a loaded gun does not mean you make the same decisions or get into the same situations as a police officer or state trooper.

Now, if a license holder were in or near the same house, heard the male or female screaming, or the female clearly said; "there's a strange guy with a knife in my house" then the male lunged at you with the weapon then you could use deadly force. A prosecutor or grand jury wouldn't put charges on you.
Now, you may face a civil action depending on where you live & other factors but as a citizen you'd be cleared of that too.

Clyde
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Old January 20, 2014, 02:42 PM   #98
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Now, you may face a civil action depending on where you live & other factors but as a citizen you'd be cleared of that too
How can you possibly know that, relying on a jury doing what you think they will do is a bad idea. You could show the same evidence to two different juries and get two differing verdicts. I am not sure what way it works in America, here in a trial by jury you have to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. In a civil case all you have to show they are guilty on the balance of probabilities.
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Old January 20, 2014, 02:45 PM   #99
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This is false. Being a police officer does not mean you have signed a suicide pact or to wear a big S on their shirt and fly around town. Officers are taught to avoid unsafe scenes and to utilize backup when there is any possibility of violence. The officer should not have charged into the house alone if there was any sign of danger. No Chief would encourage any officer to go it alone into an unsafe scene or to do something which might get them killed. Can you imagine the lawsuits?

Many officers do act out alone on occasion, but they are not at all required or encouraged to do so. As I said, being an officer doesnt mean you have signed on to the Japanese air force to commit Kamikazi raids or to be Superman.
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Old January 20, 2014, 03:29 PM   #100
Glenn E. Meyer
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If you were a civilian and entered because a female yelled there is a man with a knife, she might be setting you up to shoot a guy making tomato sauce and chopping up ingredients. In fact, I once cut my thumb badly doing such with a giant heavy chief's knife.

We have no idea what would happen to a civilian.

She could be lying and you come in with a gun. The guy sees you and defends himself from a stranger with a gun.

How many what if's could we write here?

Manta is correct about civil trials and their standard of evidence vs. a criminal trial.

I fear this is coming to a useful end. Anybody have anything else useful to say?
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