“You don’t want to approach someone with a knife. Good things don’t happen”

But what, pray tell, DO you do if you’re a police officer and you have to separate a perp with a knife from his edged weapon? If you don’t want to get sued in Sioux Falls, you whip out your bright orange non-lethal shotgun. “A man was shot with two beanbag bullets Friday by a deputy after Sioux Falls police said he led them on a chase and then pulled a knife that he used to cut himself.” argusleader.com highlights the latter fact, which led to the po-po’s decision to turn Joshua Kutch into their first Beanie Baby. “He wasn’t threatening the officers, he was threatening himself,” [police spokesman Sam] Clemens told the paper. Yes, but why didn’t the police use a Taser or (my personal favorite) a Taser shotgun round? Because someone forgot Swift’s old adage “first you kill all the lawyers” . . .

Deputies use the bean bags in place of Tasers or pepper spray, which are controversial because of injuries and deaths in a few instances nationwide. They have caused legal headaches for police departments.

The city of Canton was sued in federal court this Spring over a rookie officer’s use of the electric devices . . .

“This incident is the perfect place to use them,” Hoekman said. “You don’t want to approach someone with a knife. Good things don’t happen.”

Often, the threat of blunt trauma from a crowd-control shotgun is enough to defuse dangerous situations, he said.

That didn’t work Friday.

“The whole time, (Kutch) was issuing commands, telling the officers to shoot him,” Clemens said.

And so they did. My police buddy tells me that a cop’s decision regarding what level of force to use against a knife-wielding attacker is a lot less considered than the city’s legal department might like; claiming it’s often a matter of personal preference, rather than imminence.

hernandotoday.com (don’t call my name, Roberto) reports on another case where non-lethal force didn’t work out quite so well for police. In fact, I bet this incident makes some California cops nostalgic for the days when a good old-fashioned pistol-whipping was option A for belligerent civilians.

A deputy was cut on his face and hospitalized for a back injury Tuesday night following the arrest of a belligerent DUI suspect, authorities said.

Whitfield belittled Van Tassel by calling him a “rookie” and then said he would need about five more deputies to arrest him, the report showed.

When Van Tassel went to handcuff him, Whitfield refused to put his hands behind his back and then slapped the deputy with an open hand, according to the sheriff’s office.

Both Lamia and Van Tassel went to take down the suspect, who was fighting back, deputies said.

Lamia used a stun gun on him, but it had little effect, he wrote in the report. Whitfield grabbed Lamia’s stun gun before a sheriff’s sergeant who had appeared on the scene used his own stun gun to subdue the suspect, deputies said.

Whitfield was taken into custody and charged with assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, driving under the influence and depriving an officer of means of protection.

That’s an offense? What if you take away a cop’s union card? Seriously though, when a belligerent drunk is close enough to grab your Taser, there’s something very wrong going on.

comments

  1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Disarming or attempting to disarm a police officer is felony trouble here in Washington state, no matter if the suspect is grabbing for the officer's gun, PR-24 baton, Taser or OC spray.

    What if they grab the cop's ticket book, donut, or breathalyzer? Probably not 'Disarming', but any assault on a cop is an automatic felony if they write their report properly.

    This suspect was lucky; I don't think very many suspects live long enough to be charged with 'Disarming An Officer.' Most police who lose their guns in a struggle end up getting killed with them, and for this reason police are trained that deadly force is justified *every* time a suspect tries to disarm them.

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