The common criteria for a legal defensive gun use: the shooter is facing an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm and imminence is imminent. That last bit is often ignored but vitally important. The attacker must be in the act of attacking. In this case, the Dallas, Texas officers knew Bobby Gerald Bennett was mentally unhinged. They knew he had a knife. He was within striking distance (their choice but still). The threat was imminent and credible. But Bennett did NOT move towards the officers. If he had taken one step the cops would have been within their legal rights to shoot him. But he didn’t, despite the official police report, which included the word “lunge.” (Oops!) If there hadn’t been a video . . . But there was. And so . . .

Police Chief David Brown made the announcement [that he was firing Officer Spencer] Thursday and apologized for the officer’s actions. At a news conference Thursday Brown stated that Officer Cardan Spencer was charged in the incident, but a judge declined to sign a warrant and the case will go to a grand jury instead.

There is no way a Dallas cop will face the same penalties a “normal” civilian would encounter if he’d done the same thing. You have been warned.

83 Responses to Dallas Cops Shoot Stationary Schizophrenic

  1. Who is this judge who sanctions no-trial executions by cop? Name and shame.

    BTW, any video yet from the killing of the 13-year-old with the toy gun in LA four days ago?

    • I have only been able to find the 21-foot so-called rule as applicable to the “your gun is holstered” situation.

      You can stop a guy with a knife charging from 10 feet with a if your gun is already up. Indeed, if you go to Outdoor Oddities dot com, you’ll see a grizzly in full charge stopped with the first shot fired at ten feet…by a handgun…but the guy had to step aside quickly because the bear’s momentum carried it clear through where he had been standing.

      These policeman had their guns up. They were not in immediate danger. They just couldn’t think of what they were supposed to do in the situation. “Is there something besides ‘cuff’ and ‘shoot,’ Billy?” “Nothing comes to mind, Bob.” I’m at the point at which I’m going to FOA some Academy training manuals to see what on earth is being taught. I can’t believe they’re teaching what some of these guys are doing.

  2. If this video is the only evidence available, the shooter (no legitimate officer of the law would do this)should be charged with capital murder .

    If there’s evidence in play not revealed by this video, the grand jury will get to the bottom of it and return the proper verdict.

    • “no legitimate officer of the law would do this” What is a “legitimate officer of the law? They do not exist in this country. Those in LEO are nothing but corrupt thugs, bullies and murderers hired by the government.

      The good ones do not last. They either quit, or get set up by the others.

  3. This is pretty hard to watch; a man being gunned down for, apparently, no reason. As stated in the column, its a good thing a vid captured this.

  4. What’s this — more cop bashing on TTAG? For shame.

    Get this through your heads — cops have the right to kill anyone at any time for any reason, because they are the hammer fist of whatever regime pays them.

    We, on the other hand, are mere subjects, and the Second Amendment is an outmoded relic from a time when the word “freedom” was more than the punchline to a bad joke.

    • I am not sure they have a right as much as a license. It seems to me in this incident and the NorCal Airsoft shoot, the LA shooting or if we recall the Times Square Shooting (man had a metro card in his hand) that cops are simply hypersensitive and are trained to shoot first and ask questions later. Since the law is soooooo slanted in their favor, odds are they will simply walk and probably get a bonus too. The chances of getting shot by either an indifferent cop or a freaked out cop hopped up on caffeine seems pretty high these days. I am not sure if it is by design from bad training or if it is by design to put fear into people but the number of stories like this is getting ridiculous!

      • This. Why is it that our guys in Iraqistan have to follow strict ROEs, which often (ok, always) give the enemy the upper hand and result in soldiers getting killed or sentenced to 20 years in Leavenworth, but street cop civilians have the right to apparently shoot on sight with seemingly no repercussions? I get it that the dude was fired, but this is just one instance among many. Total fail if you ask me. This guy needs to be tried for Murder.

        • The guy they shot is still alive although there is still a bullet in him they chose not to remove that will cause him pain from now on.

        • I didn’t see that, my bad. Try the shooter for something. I watched the video and ASSumed someone who got perforated in such a manner probably died.

  5. I wish I could have heard the verbal part. Unfortunately, your advertisement played over it and there was no way to shut it off or mute it.

  6. Bad shoot, clearly. These guys did just about everything wrong that was possible, at least according to the way I was trained.

    I wonder if the judge refused to sign a warrant merely as a hedge against a future suit by the officer? I mean, it looks rotten from the surface, but when he gets convicted by a jury, he won’t be able to pull any tricks like claiming the judge was out to make an example of him. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know if that holds any water, but I’ve heard worse from the court system before.

  7. “There is no way a Dallas cop will face the same penalties a “normal” civilian would encounter if he’d done the same thing. ”

    And until this systemic exemption from criminal repercussions is ended, this will continue to be the case.

  8. Did he die? That “Officer” freaking quadrupled tapped a mentally ill guy with his hands at his sides from over 20ft away. This Police immunity bullsh*t needs to die.

  9. It’s hard to say on this one. They will get experts to truthfully testify that a man with a knife in his hand can throw it lethally and accurately with just a flick of his wrist.

    On the other hand, this will discourage people from calling the police for help if they think the cops will execute their troubled family.

    I vote murder, but it wouldn’t stick. The government will win and we descend further into a police state.

    • “this will discourage people from calling the police for help if they think the cops will execute their troubled family. ”

      And this will upset the police because…?

      • Robert is absolutely right. The usual method of handling this *especially in the Ghet-to* is to pop the guy in jail overnight or longer if they commit a crime that they can stick them with (especially the LEO band aid de jure: “Resisting”). This is in lieu of a psych eval, because those are expensive. And when they get out they have another episode. Rinse and repeat. Things are getting better, but painfully slowly.

    • I think the last thing to do is ask the cops to help with a mentally ill family member. There are a lot of stories about the police not just shooting but engaging the ill person and doing exactly what they shouldn’t which is enraging or agitating them.

      • “There are a lot of stories about the police not just shooting but engaging the ill person and doing exactly what they shouldn’t which is enraging or agitating them.”
        Those are the folks that have had the training offered nationwide. Thse are the responders that should have been sent. The dispatcher was told. The dispatcher said they would be sent. There was a short circuit somewhere.

  10. We had a similar incident not too long ago in Toronto. A schizophrenic man with a knife was cornered on a bus, there was no-one else on the bus, no one was in danger and the place was surrounded by officers from the OPP. But rather than wait him out or try to negotiate they decided to try and pull some spec-ops s#!t and raid the bus. The man was shot and killed. The officers involved faced no repercussions.

    This hyper-aggression “I am the law” BS needs to go. One justifiably employs lethal force only when there is no other viable option.

    • Jack-boot leadership have to justify the expense of militarized LEO that operate like the are on a Spec Ops raid which is a completely different thing.

  11. It sounds to me like some of the boys in blue need more training or better training.

    While a criminal who has a knife and initiates a charge within 21 feet absolutely warrants lethal force, a criminal with a knife standing 21 feet away does not warrant lethal force.

  12. Idiots. They could have stayed in their car and talked to the mentally disabled man. Or hit him with taser, bean bag or teargas like they do to kids, pregnant women, and the elderly when they exercise their 1st amendment rights. They treated this man like a family’s dog.

    -D

  13. I haven’t been able to watch the video since it first appeared. The guy in the video was schizophrenic, and probably off his meds (if he ever was on any in the first place). I know how this goes down, having a schizophrenic in my close family.

    I think the reason he was armed with what he had at hand and was standing still was most probably because he was trying to listen closely to the voices from inside his head, or trying to return to this reality. The dispatcher knew that the victim was mentally disturbed. We’ll have to wait for the 911 tapes or a statement to know if the cops were informed of this. One article states that the woman calling 911 told the dispatcher to send officers trained to handle mentally disturbed people (IAW NAMI recommendation), and the dispatcher said they would.

    The cops MAY have been in some danger, but they had (I’m certain) the option of using a Taser rather than their service weapon. To me this is at best manslaughter, and at worst capital murder. The judge may have also thought the original charge was too lenient, and left it up to a Grand Jury to figure out.

    If it was my relative on the receiving end of this “treatment,” you’d be seeing it on the Evening News around the world.

  14. They protected and served the sh!t out of him. Glad that crazy bastard is off of the street and charged for standing at the position of attention in the middle of the road!

    /sarc

  15. People often say “I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole!” Well, this is clearly the type of incident calling for a few ten foot poles if the taser doesn’t do the job. Guns just aren’t supposed to be the preferred method to take a delusional person without a distance weapon into custody. Time to put “10-foot pole racks” on some of the squad cars, apparently. Oh, and what happened to the Big Nets?

    This reminds me of the White House Uniformed SS with no shotgun loaded for vehicle stoppage. Where are the tools? Why is the repertoire so limited. Is this just about guys wanting to look minimalist? I really don’t get it. Is Dallas so overrun with killers that two guys can’t take an hour to reel in a delusional fellow?

    • See this article

      Half of People Shot by Police Are Mentally Ill, Investigation Finds
      http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/half-people-shot-police-are-mentally-ill-investigation-finds

      “a review of available reports indicates that at least half of the estimated 375 to 500 people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems.”

      It is a shoot first, ask questions later policy. This has been going one for some time.

      We have had since the mid 80’s a mental health problem. Many of the people still in Office including Schumer from NY pushed to have mentally ill people released from hospitals. Funding has been going down and down for mental health for year and today it is a crisis. Ironically, Newtown, was the once the home of what some considered a premiere mental health facility in the country. Shutdown due to lack of funding from the democrats in the state. Perhaps that facility if it had still existed could have stopped Lanza. We have a health crises everyone wants to ignore because it is too difficult to talk about. 1 in 4 Americans in their lifetime will have a mental health crises and there is no support system.

  16. Do any of you cop-haters know how to read? To process written words into objective thought?

    “Bennett survived the incident but remains hospitalized and in stable condition more than a week later.”

    “Quadruple-tapped”? The cop shot at the victim 4 times, hitting him once in the abdomen.

    The cop was fired – as he should have been.

    The criminal complaint has been made – as it should have been.

    “At a news conference Thursday Brown stated that Officer Cardan Spencer was charged in the incident, but a judge declined to sign a warrant and the case will go to a grand jury instead.”

    …and…

    “But the chief spoke prematurely because a district judge declined to sign a warrant for Spencer’s arrest. Instead, the judge directed detectives to refer the case to a grand jury — a lengthy process that is customary in police shootings.”

    …and…

    “At the same time, the chief also ordered an investigation into discrepancies in statements about the incident made by Spencer’s partner, Officer Christopher Watson.”

    This Intarweb thing is a terrible burden for some of you, as apparently is the concept of the Rule of Law. Just as some people shouldn’t have guns because of mental defect, perhaps some of you should lose your ‘Net privileges until you learn to read:

    http://rt.com/usa/dallas-police-shoot-mentally-ill-694/

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57609162-504083/dallas-officer-caught-on-video-shooting-mentally-ill-man-is-fired-could-face-charges/

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20131024-dallas-police-chief-fires-officer-accused-of-shooting-mentally-ill-man.ece

    Stay in the car = Brand them as doughnut-eating Barneys too lazy to work the streets. Get out of the car = Overly aggressive tactics frequently used by the Gestapo. This is the same mental illness, the same cognitive dissonance we find when trying to verbally engage a True Believer about gun control.

    The Truth About Guns? Or, We Hate Authority?

    • If there was no video what would the outcome of this be?
      They LIED on their report that he lunged at them.
      So no, we are not going to defend liars with weapons who plugged this guy and then charged him with some bullshit charge.
      Fortunately he survived and the lawsuit money will help him get the care he needs.

    • Go back behind the blue wall of “we’re better than you”, you’re not doing your “brothers” any service.

      With the advent of instant access to video, audio, and info via the internet, crimes done by the police are almost impossible to cover up anymore.

      The mask is off, and the people have had enough of it. When the balloon goes up, anyone in a uniform is going to wish they had honest jobs instead of being state sanctioned terrorists and revenue collectors.

    • Most of us don’t hate cops. However, we do think that cops should be held accountable and to a higher standard. The same thing goes for overzealous prosecutors and judges. Think about how different this wold be handled if this punk officer were Joe Q. Public.

      • I don’t disagree with you. Cops, prosecutors, judges should be held to a higher standard. The fact that they aren’t, or the perception [by reasonable people] that they aren’t, erodes society.

        OTOH, it would be nice if some of the cops, prosecutors and judges would enforce the law, instead of using the criminal justice system to be another facet of The Great Society.

        OTOH, it would be nice if society would allow cops some leeway when enforcing the law; there’s many people that would do better with a tuning up than incarceration.

        OTOH, some of the laws cops, prosecutors and judges are tasked with enforcing need to be revised or removed.

        I don’t have the answers. But I do know that blaming cops for everything from weapons proliferation to dandruff is simplistic and, yes, stupid.

    • +1000, I feel about the same sentiment.

      Bartelist, did you read any of the comments on the shooting involving the 13yo?

      Cop bashing, like the day is long.

  17. You must obey. Instantly. Failure to comply is punishable by death. How many times have we seen the scenario where different officers are yelling contradictory demands, and a failure to comply brings a fusillade of gunfire? Even turning around will get you shot….Shoot first, think up your excuse later. Hmm, makes me wonder what really happened a couple of days ago in Santa Rosa…..

    • Shoot now–invent the circumstance later. Now we’ve got to get rid of these civilians with home security cameras. That’s the real problem.

  18. Not good. I have used Tasers and pepper spray when a lethal response was warranted. I don’t see why they couldn’t have done that.

    • There are good cops and there are bad cops. Problem is the bad cops make it really bad for all the good cops. For all the cops doing their jobs correctly, we cannot thank them enough. Problem is, there are a lot of bad cops that leave a bad sense to the community in general and the ones who do their jobs are lumped in with the bad. Which is why many of us non-LEO hate the blue wall.

      • Agree, Pascal. There’s a problem for the good cops, that if thy make honest statements about a bad cop, they may well face retaliation, the sort of thing where backup never arrives. Video and recorded dispatch is helping with that, isn’t it, but there has to be a refocus of training. I have a narrow view on the world of policing, but I’m struck by the Feds pressuring for more of the special weapons stuff, while the real demands are still for better skills dealing with domestic disputes and mental illness. Obviously from this web site and others people are increasingly aware, reacting to the “we’ve got APCs but we can’t lasso a psychotic very well” syndrome.

    • What Pascal said. There are good cops and bad cops. The real problem is that the good cops always protect the bad cops, which makes the good cops enablers. So there are no good cops except for Serpico, and his “brothers” tried real hard to get him killed.

      • We need to change the ROE for cops. If they want to be the point of the spear they need to lose the need to go home every night. Just like the troops.

        I also know a lot of good cops, luckily not too many bad ones. If you talk with them long you can tell the difference. It is around the attitude we are all in this together versus the US against them.

        We are the them.

  19. It would be a nice to have a national video library to have videos like these available to show a jury if we ourselves are being judged for a DGU and have an over zealous prosecutor.

    Not to say if we did the same thing we should not be charged but only that if a guy is sitting astride our chest banging our head on the ground (or concrete), that we should at least be as safe from prosecution as the cops in this LEO shooting.

  20. Had there not been video (taken by a security camera on a neighbor’s garage), this shooting would be defended tooth and nail by the Dallas PD. After all, the ever truthful officer clearly wrote “the suspect lunged with knife raised” in his report. And of course, had he known there was video, he would have written more ‘artfully’.
    Prosecuting for (at least) assault with deadly weapon is absolutely the right thing to do.

    • Why most law enforcement in North America use .40S&W. Don’t know what pigs used though, or how many rounds connected.

  21. The police are trained as soldiers and anti terrorist first responders. they are no longer trained to protect and serve the community. I they’re eyes everyone is the enemy and trying to kill them. It is the fault of the training as well as a failing of the individual officers.

  22. If you guys have a problem with the way Law Enforcement is being conducted in America why dont you do something about it? Instead of sitting on your lazy asses and bitching about it on the internet.

    Call/E-mail your congressmen, go to city council meetings, write a letter to the local newspaper, make a youtube video about it. Do something other than get tough anonymously with your keyboard. Cop bashing does nothing but widen the gap between police and “civilians” it creates an us vs them mentality and solves nothing.

  23. for once, i cant defend Texas here.
    nor do i want to. its the price we pay for our gun culture. some cops still believe “wild west rules” are still in play. shoot first, ask later, file a report tomorrow. and everyone above is exactly right: had this video not been around, the cos would have drove off into the sunset. this makes me sick and angry.
    he WILL go to jail. no lawyer in the land can double talk that footage. its as damning as we could hope for.

      • Apparently just Dallas PD. And the department near Ft Hood where an Army NCO was jacked up for open carrying while hiking in a rural area. And the DFW area department that went to the wrong address for a burglary call and shot the homeowner in his own garage…

        There’s nothing special about Texas cops. They are just as prone to thuggishness as those in any other state.

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