TTAG reader Gary is up in arms (though not literally) about a story coming out of Fort Worth Texas: Police shoot dead grandfather. 72, while searching the wrong home for burglar, blame ‘lighting’. “The two officers, B.B Hanlon and Arpie Hoeppner, were searching around the home with their flashlights when Waller emerged from his home armed with a handgun, investigating who was walking around his property with flashlights,” blaze.com reports. Boom. Dead. More than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia have emailed to point out that cops need a standard protocol for identifying themselves to fellow civilians. Of course, that would take all the fun out of no-knock raids. Anyway, Gary opines . . .
Maybe a factor in LEO behavior should be related to entrance onto PRIVATE PROPERTY. In spite of performing the duties (incorrectly), I’ve see enough of the LEO training to know that they aren’t the Mormon Tabernacle Choir when it comes to “announcing” their presence and LE status. (ONE soloist shouting POLICE, would be better.)
In addition, all the POLICE emblems are on the backs of many uniforms, with ‘badges’ embroidered on the front, etc., in many cases. They approach with multiple flashlights SUREFIRE high-intensity or equivalent, and the home owner is intended to be blinded and confused by the overwhelming police actions. Making visual identification impossible, and with all the shouting!! While the LEO’s may have practiced this maneuver dozens of times, the victim is on the receiving end for the 1st time, and has a natural reaction to the aggressive behavior.
While the LEO’s are approaching, they COULD use both concealment and cover to minimize their exposure to danger, and the victim is standing in the open, with the house lights behind them, facing the unknown threat. While the LEO’s are supplied with training, ammo, and practice on the range, and operate with backup, the victim is a lone man with a cheap flashlight, a single sidearm, no backup, no spare magazine, and has a SENSE of OWNERSHIP and RIGHT on his side. IT’S HIS PROPERTY.!! That ought to count for something in the deliberation.
If I were a betting man, there is a high probability that 1 in 100 LEOs would react the same as the victim, and all would object to THAT outcome.