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#154647 - 06/10/05 04:28 PM leathal force
ziggytkd Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 90
Loc: KY USA
This is kinda an off topic post, but here goes. I was reading a trade mag today (forget which one), and it had an article on leos shooting at moving vehicles. Many of the large cities in the US such as LA now prohibit their officers from shooting at or from moving vehicles. Now granted at first glance that might sound ok, but what about those situations where the criminal is trying to run over the officer on foot? I think that in such cases a car is as much a deadly weapon as a gun or knife, and you can shoot someone who threatens to harm you with those. Why should a car be different? Your thoughts anyone?

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#154648 - 06/10/05 06:52 PM Re: leathal force [Re: ziggytkd]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Perfectly reasonable question for this board.

Here's the deal. Historically, cops have faced threats to themselves, other cops, citizens in the area and the public at large by subjects driving vehicles. Sometimes the people are simply trying to escape and others their intent is clearly more aggressive. The reality is, that a 2000+ lb vehicle tends to empower people to do things that they clearly would not attempt on foot or even on a motorcycle. The threat of serious bodily injury or death is significant. A speeding car is not generally something you want to make driverless by shooting and injuring or killing the person behind the wheel.

There have been several incidents ovetr the past few years where people attempted to flee from the police but were somehow boxed or blocked in. Officers have challenged these vehicles at gun point with the goal of stopping the vehicle with a deadly force threat to the driver. Well, unless there is a well founded fear that:

a. The subject poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others,

and

b. The officer's failure to use deadly force will likely result in serious bodily harm or death thru his inaction.

Then the officer may have problems justifying shooting the driver for simply trying to escape, absent other serious mitigating factors.

Now it gets interesting. Sometimes, officers intentionally or by accident, position themselves in the path of the vehicle and challenge the driver at gun point. In this case, many officers have, in the past, argued that when the vehicle drove at them anyway, they were presented with a lethal threat that justified deadly force, regardless of the original infraction/ reason for contact.

The result of several incidents post shooting? Many subjects were otherwise unarmed and attempting to flee minor incidents which escalated rapidly to police shooting scenarios when they panicked. This is the least serious of the problems.

Worse than that, the driverless vehicles injured officers or citizens. Costing lives and many $$$ in insurance claims as well as awards and settlements in civil procedings.

Still worse, the police while shooting to stop the vehicle, injured passengers, sometimes children or infants in the process.

It is these considerations that have driven many agencies to adopt a policy that officers shoot at fleeing or approaching vehicles only after taking evasive action/ attempting to get out of the path, first- as a primary tactic.

Hope this helps.
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#154649 - 06/12/05 07:36 PM Re: leathal force [Re: Fletch1]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
I once came within a fraction of a second of fireing on a pickup truck at a road block. it was twilight, the visability wasn't that good, and we weren't in the best spot. I had spikes on the ground, and my guys were out of the way, I stepped aside and let the spikes stop the viehicle, and for what ever reason didnt' fire, although the driver hadn't stopped and I could have shot without getting in trouble.

out comes a man, his wife and 3 or 4 kids, all bawling and begging and shiting themselves. the man says that he was fighting with his wife and didn't see me. he is literally [censored] scared, and his family is terrified.

I searched them and checked them out and let them go. frankly, it was more my fault for the placement of the roadblock.

but it would have been a life of nightmares if I had killed those kids.

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#154650 - 06/12/05 09:32 PM Re: leathal force [Re: globetrotter]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Exactly what I am talking about. It is easy to shoot the car, it's huge. We had a local incident where an officer shot at a vehicle that was coming at him at a high rate of speed in what can only be considered a high stakes game of "Chicken". At the last moment, the car swerved to avoid hitting the officer, but the process had already begun. The slack was already out of the trigger and he shot the vehicle in the door as it ran up on the curb.

The bullet went through the door and into the rear seat, right next to a baby who was strapped into a car seat.
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#154651 - 06/13/05 04:40 PM Re: leathal force [Re: ziggytkd]
ziggytkd Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 90
Loc: KY USA
We just recently in our area had a shooting incident involing a semi and a fatality. A deputy caught the semi stealing farm equipment and took off on a chase. The semi led police through 6 counties and parts of 2 states. They tried spike strips to no avail. The semi was running through school zones at 80 mph. Finally police tried to shoot out the tires. Unfortunately on bullet bounced off the tire into the cab killing one occupant. Sad situation, but what other alternative was there, other than letting them go, without knowing who they were?

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#154652 - 06/13/05 05:55 PM Re: leathal force [Re: ziggytkd]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
In that case, the officer in charge makes a risk assessment based on those known factors as well as some probable unknowns......and hopefully is correct....or at least justifiable.
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#154653 - 06/28/05 02:50 PM Re: leathal force [Re: ziggytkd]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
Check out this article:

Fla. deputy fires at car, not realizing girl, 12, driving

LAKELAND, Fla.- A sheriff's deputy trying to stop an erratic driver fired at the car when it lurched toward him, not realizing a 12-year-old girl was behind the wheel, officials said. Neither she nor her 6-year-old brother were hit.


Deputy Chris Hillsgrove and a colleague pursued the car Sunday, eventually blocking it between their two patrol cars. When the deputies exited their vehicles, the car lurched forward and backward into the two cars, then drove toward Hillsgrove, Polk County Sheriff's spokeswoman Michal Shanley said.

"He, fearing for his life, fired several shots at the oncoming vehicle and managed to jump out of the way as the vehicle sped by him," Shanley said. The car then crashed into a nearby parked car.

The officers couldn't see the driver because the car's window's were tinted, she said.

The deputies discovered the driver was a 12-year-old girl when they broke a passenger-side window to get in, Shanley said. Her 6-year-old brother was also inside.

The girl suffered cuts and bruises, but neither child had been shot, Shanley said. The shots had passed over her head.

The girl was charged with attempted murder, auto theft, driving without a license and other counts. Hillsgrove was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The girl had asked for and received the keys to the car, which belonged to a family friend, Shanley said.
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#154654 - 06/28/05 04:48 PM Re: leathal force [Re: Fletch1]
ziggytkd Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 90
Loc: KY USA
Wow, what luck that he didn't hit the kids. I still think that its always going to boil down to the officers discretion. After all, they are the ones that have the split second to make the life or death decision.

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#154655 - 06/28/05 05:19 PM Re: leathal force [Re: ziggytkd]
Warwolph Offline
Member

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 160
this might sound really really bad but the kids shouldn't have been in the car in the first place, so I beleive the people implicated in this i.e. the police were right to try and shoot them, to stop a rogue driver. As stated by the person before, judgement was made with what tools were available.

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#154656 - 06/28/05 05:31 PM Re: leathal force [Re: Warwolph]
Fletch1 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 2218
Loc: Florida
While I agree to an extent, what is at stake is this:

1. The officer is shooting at a moving vehicle. Shooting at the vehicle will not stop it unless the driver brakes or runs into something. If the shot incapacitates the driver, the car is now driverless and still in motion at a high rate of speed.

2. If you make the argument that the vehicle is not going that fast, or is not in danger of casing harm to officers or bystanders, then I argue that it a questionable shoot in the first place.

3. Compound that with the personal and professional repercussions of having shot and killed or caused serious injury to what turned out to be a 12 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, who were just trying to "get away".

This falls under the "Lawful but Awful" clause.


Edited by Fletch1 (06/28/05 05:33 PM)
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