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Old January 20, 2019, 10:12 AM   #1
mehavey
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Lethal force in Tempe teenager shooting

Much as I absolutely despise the replica guns in the hands of kids -- and the predictable aftermath when law enforcement encounter/have to make instantaneous decisions -- I think the police are going to have a very difficult time explaining how this shooting started/went down:
https://www.foxnews.com/us/arizona-p...ng-shot-by-cop
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Old January 20, 2019, 03:51 PM   #2
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ok, its a questionable shooting, and under investigation.

What is the legal / Civil rights issue for discussion here?

Running from the cops?
Carrying a replica firearm?
getting shot for being stupid??

something else??
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Old January 20, 2019, 04:11 PM   #3
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As I watched the video, the officer was shooting multiple times at a fleeing figure at considerable distance. A distance in which the individual was running at full speed away from the officer, absolutely no stop/turn action on the part of the individual at any time while visible, nor any possible way (at the distances shown) that a gun could be seen brought into the picture.

I did enlarge the video frame/max'd in windows and step the frames. I'm sure the lawyers will already have high-priced video labs on call. Given that, and the headlines already emerging from both the family & agitators, we're going to see this one in the case-studies.

.

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Old January 20, 2019, 06:34 PM   #4
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Shooting at a fleeing subject, in general, is a legal issue that has been to the Supreme Court.

What defines being in fear of one's life or harm to others is a legal definition conundrum.

We will have to see how this plays out.
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Old January 21, 2019, 01:05 AM   #5
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As others have said, that video clip looks quite questionable as far as justifying deadly force. But... as always, we have no facts right now but a video clip. Contrary to popular belief, video doesn't tell the whole story. At any rate, we will see what the judicial system says about it. I suspect I know what they will say, but we will see.
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Old January 21, 2019, 07:30 AM   #6
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Well, if the officer believes the person has a firearm, then it doesn’t take more than a second or so to go from “fleeing” to shooting. We are assuming based on running away that the threat no longer has “intent.” But intent is the only element missing (if we reasonably believe that it is a real gun) and that can change very quickly. Is he running away or moving to cover? If he is close enough for the officer to shoot, he’s close enough to shoot back.

That’s the obvious legal defense likely to come up. It also goes to show how video can be a double edged sword - because even if everything I said 100% accurately reflects the officer’s concerns, the video looks bad. It registers with the jury on a level beyond rational arguments. And these days the chancces for any of us to have a portion of our self-defense shooting on video are pretty high - it may even be viral news before you get a chance to tell your side.
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Old January 21, 2019, 08:06 AM   #7
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If the LEO officer thought the kid had a real handgun..even tho he was running from the LEO, and the threat to the LEO was over, the kid still was a threat to others..as he ran down the street/alley..so..The LEO has a 'requirement' to protect innocent bystanders...
Not like a private citizen, who is threatened, then the guy with gun runs, THAT threat is over and shooting a fleeing bad guy is not justified..for a civilian...

IMHO..
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Old January 21, 2019, 09:32 AM   #8
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Only in very narrow circumstances. A seminal 1985 Supreme Court case, Tennessee vs. Garner, held that the police may not shoot at a fleeing person unless the officer reasonably believes that the individual poses a significant physical danger to the officer or others in the community. That means officers are expected to take other, less-deadly action during a foot or car pursuit unless the person being chased is seen as an immediate safety risk.

In other words, a police officer who fires at a fleeing man who a moment earlier murdered a convenience store clerk may have reasonable grounds to argue that the shooting was justified. But if that same robber never fired his own weapon, the officer would likely have a much harder argument.

“You don’t shoot fleeing felons. You apprehend them unless there are exigent circumstances — emergencies — that require urgent police action to safeguard the community as a whole,” said Greg Gilbertson, a police practices expert and criminal justice professor at Centralia College in Washington state.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/...leeing-suspect

As noted above -- regardless of judicial outcome -- this one's going to go into case study.
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Old January 21, 2019, 10:18 AM   #9
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IIRC, law enforcement is only authorized to shoot at someone in the back if it is a

1. fleeing felons who
2. is likely to commit additional felonies

The officer dang well better be able to articulate his reasons for doing so. In this case, we have to wait to hear what the other facts were about this particular circumstance. Until then, the family of the kid is going to try the case in the press.

A couple of years ago, a LEO shot a guy running away from him and it was speculated that it was because the officer was too out of shape to catch the guy so he shot him in the back.

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Old January 21, 2019, 11:13 AM   #10
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If the LEO officer thought the kid had a real handgun..even tho he was running from the LEO, and the threat to the LEO was over, the kid still was a threat to others..as he ran down the street/alley..so..The LEO has a 'requirement' to protect innocent bystanders...
Not like a private citizen, who is threatened, then the guy with gun runs, THAT threat is over and shooting a fleeing bad guy is not justified..for a civilian...
An imminent threat. (or maybe the word I want is "immediate") What innocent bystanders are you talking about? Hypothetical ones a block away? That doesn't cut it.

A normal citizen has the same rights to shoot someone in the defense of others that a police officer does. He just doesn't have qualified immunity if he screws up, or even if he doesn't but somebody thinks he did.
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Old January 21, 2019, 11:29 AM   #11
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A normal citizen has the same rights to shoot someone in the defense of others that a police officer does.
Not quite,,, Tennessee V Garner does not apply to pvt citizens. It DOES clarify what is justified by a sworn LEO, with regards to “fleeing felons”
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Old January 22, 2019, 03:01 AM   #12
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An imminent threat. (or maybe the word I want is "immediate") What innocent bystanders are you talking about? Hypothetical ones a block away? That doesn't cut it.
Not correct. Tennessee V. Garner ruled using deadly force to stop a fleeing felony suspect is justified if the suspect was a danger to the community. They further clarified the term by stating that a suspect was a danger to the community if (s)he used deadly force or the threat of deadly force in the commission of a crime or in an escape attempt. This rule applies even if the suspect is no longer armed!

In this incident, it does not appear that the suspect pointed the airsoft gun at the officer or threatened him (or anyone else) with the gun. The resolution of this case may hinge on whether the officer reasonably believed that the fleeing felony suspect was armed with a deadly weapon and therefore a threat to the public.
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Old January 22, 2019, 12:14 PM   #13
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One minor point, the distance wasn't as far as it appears. That's distortion caused by a wide-angle lens. Just like the "objects are closer than they appear" warning on a car mirror.
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Old January 22, 2019, 01:44 PM   #14
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One minor point, the distance wasn't as far as it appears. That's distortion caused by a wide-angle lens. Just like the "objects are closer than they appear" warning on a car mirror.
Excellent point. Moreover, the officer was obviously within handgun range of the perp, since his shot struck the perp. So much for the newsspeak narrative that "He was too far away for it to have been self-defense."
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Old January 22, 2019, 02:44 PM   #15
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"He was too far away for it to have been self-defense."
That is an opinion, and often only based on the personal judgement of the speaker, which may not match actual facts.

Every situation is different, of course, but there is valid wisdom in the old saying "if the enemy is in range, so are you!"


I have hit the 200yd gong on the rifle range with pistols ranging from long barrel magnums to short barrel pocket guns. If I can do it, so can someone else. Distance is not the deciding factor, it is other factors that determine if, when, and at what distance a potential threat becomes an actual threat.
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Old January 22, 2019, 04:33 PM   #16
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Maybe its different in America, shooting someone ruining away in the back would definitely not be seen as justified here.
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Old January 22, 2019, 05:10 PM   #17
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Maybe its different in America,...
It is, quite different in America.

While shooting someone running away in the back is generally not justified, or moral, there are specific circumstances where the recognizes it as justifiable, by POLICE officers but not for regular citizens.

This case is borderline what the law envisioned, when police are justified shooting someone fleeing, in the back. However, our information at this time lacks some key points that would clearly justify the shooting.

Consider, had the suspect been SHOOTING, either at the officers, or anyone else, while fleeing, shooting them in the back (or anywhere else) would easily be justified. Virtually automatic approval. Safety of the public at large, etc. Even though running away from the police, they are running toward someone else. A "clear and present danger" etc.

Our legal system here would likely approve of a civilian doing the same, IF that civilian could see others in immediate danger. But if there was no one else in sight, there would not be an immediate threat to others, and if that is not present, then the law considers stopping the fleeing subject to be the responsibility of the police, and not the private citizen. It's kind of twisted logic, but its what we have.

In the case under discussion here, there was no shooting by the fleeing subject. It is currently under investigation whether the subject pointed the "gun" at the officer, or the officer just thought he did. The video released does not seem to support that he did. At this time... (unaltered) pictures don't "lie", but they CAN be misinterpreted. And, the segments shown to the public might not be all the information pertinent.

We have the rest of recorded history to discuss and decide what that officer had to decide in a couple of seconds. How this matter proceeds through both the legal system and the court of public opinion is something to be observed and studied as an example of what should be, and should not be done. It may result in a change of police policy or even a change in the law, or it may not. Too early to know, either way.

I remember, decades ago, a weeks long manhunt for a suspected multiple murderer. He had been seen several time, by the police, but they had been unable to physically catch him. He was seen to be armed, with a rifle, but never pointed it at the police or fired at them. Under the rules of the day, those police were not allowed to shoot him, if he didn't shoot, or try to shoot them. He was finally caught, after being shot by a Game Warden, who was not legally bound to follow police policy about shooting armed suspects.

In that place, the policy for the police was changed, not a long after.
to wrap up the story, he stood trial, and was convicted of brutally killing 3 teenage campers. He went to prison, for life. A couple years later, he escaped. "Everyone" went looking for him, and his body was found a couple days later in some woods. "Shot multiple times by at least 3 different guns, by a person or persons unknown" was how one newspaper reported it. The police never found any suspects....
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Old January 22, 2019, 05:16 PM   #18
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It is, quite different in America.
What do you see as the difference between American police and police here, regarding what police would see as a justifiable use of lethal force. ? Shooting someone running away in the back, it would be made clear to police here in training that it would not justifiable.
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Old January 22, 2019, 06:08 PM   #19
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Shooting someone running away in the back, it would be made clear to police here in training that it would not justifiable.
The point I was trying to make, in my usual unfocused rambling manner, is that under established US law shooting someone running away in the back is not generally justifiable, but for the police, in very narrow circumstances, it is.


And justified doesn't mean condoned, or encouraged, it means won't be prosecuted.
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Old January 28, 2019, 10:00 AM   #20
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This statement caught my interest from earlier in the thread:

Quote:
The LEO has a 'requirement' to protect innocent bystanders...
Is this actually true?
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Old January 28, 2019, 02:12 PM   #21
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I was more interested in this statement, from the parents:

Quote:
"I didn't know that it would hurt so much, my boy...in this location this is where my son, a child of 14-years-old who doesn't know the difference of what's good and what's bad because he hasn't lived long enough," Arce’s parents said at the vigil.
Seems to me that if a "child" of 14 years of age doesn't know the difference between what's right and what's wrong, the parents have failed miserably at the job of parenting. I'm pretty certain I knew long before the age of 14 that (a) breaking into other people's cars was not a good thing, and (b) running away from cops while holding something that looks a lot like a gun is not a good thing.
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Old January 28, 2019, 03:55 PM   #22
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Seems to me that if a "child" of 14 years of age doesn't know the difference between what's right and what's wrong, the parents have failed miserably at the job of parenting.

If a child of 14 doesn't know the difference between right and wrong, then you absolutely have failed in your duty as a parent. (or the child has a learning disability)

However, we see, time after time, a child knowing the difference, but doing the "wrong" thing, anyway. Sometimes, it is willful, deliberate forethought, sometimes it is panic, and sometimes its uncertainty, and the incorrect "advice" of a friend is used.


Example: Friend of mine's daughter was just beginning to drive on her own. Narrow street, backed out of driveway, backed into parked car across the street. Driver kind of freaks, OMG I hit a car...etc Her girlfriend with her (another late teen) starts yelling at her, "go! go go! get out of there!!!" and she drives off. Knowing not to, but doing it anyway because of confusion and someone telling her to do it. She got a lesson in the legal process of hit and run...

A kid breaking into other people's cars KNOWS its wrong. Any (and about every) parent's protests that their "good" child didn't know what they were doing is grief talking, not reason. They knew. They just chose to do the wrong/bad thing.
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Old January 28, 2019, 05:07 PM   #23
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Seems to me that if a "child" of 14 years of age doesn't know the difference between what's right and what's wrong, the parents have failed miserably at the job of parenting. I'm pretty certain I knew long before the age of 14 that (a) breaking into other people's cars was not a good thing, and (b) running away from cops while holding something that looks a lot like a gun is not a good thing.
Not supported by research on moral development and physiological development of the frontal lobes.
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Old January 28, 2019, 05:41 PM   #24
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They seem to be saying he was a bit slow.

https://www.psychologicalscience.org...19-months.html
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Old January 29, 2019, 01:06 AM   #25
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Shooting someone running away in the back...

It really does depend on the situation.

The following is not the situation described in the original post, but imagine a bad guy being chased by the police down a street with an average number of everyday folk around. The bad guy stops in a doorway, takes a couple shots then runs a ways down the street, stops in another doorway, takes a few shots...you get my point. The bad guy is endangering the public. As he's leaving one doorway, maybe headed for another doorway do you think the police should shoot or not?

Yep. Again this is not the scenario this thread is based on but I'm just pointing out (with a scenario that's not too absurd) that it really does depend on the specific situation being faced.
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