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I did 5 deployments. I’ve shot people and never lost a minute of sleep over it because I was lucky enough to never have an ambiguous situation. I look at that video [of the shooting at Carl Jr.s’] and think that if the officers had reacted a bit more professionally or put a moment’s thought into how they approached an unhinged guy with a big blunt object then they likely wouldn’t have been put into a situation where a questionable shooting was necessary . . .

The officer who chose to shoot a taser at a guy in a thick hoody with the hood up should have retreated the moment he realized that the prongs hadn’t set. Instead he fumbles trying to reholster while at the same time approaching within swinging distance while his hands are still busy. At that point the guy raises what appears to be a pipe bender as if to swing and is shot 5 times by the K9 handler. The first officer, at least a second behind the action, manages to get his firearm out and fire five very probably unnecessary rounds.

It doesn’t matter if the guy was a dirtbag or not. If the officers had used a bit more prudence this death would have likely been prevented. If the first officer had treated the situation with the respect it deserved instead of treating his taser as an easy button I doubt the bad guy would have needed to be shot. His poor decisions under pressure led to what I perceive as a preventable death.

On top of that, according to some sources, the officers’ initial reports described the individual swinging at the officers twice before they fired—not merely raising the weapon threateningly. I’m sure the officers were very displeased when they realized their cover-my-ass fabrication was ruined by a couple of idiots in a car with a smartphone.

Honestly, the lies seem worse than the shooting to me. If officers will blatantly lie about something that took place in full view of many witnesses what are the odds that they have lied before when it was their word against a citizen?

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  1. This was pure BS, little better than the idiotic commentary by the chumps who filmed this event. I almost expected a “shoot him in the leg” suggestion like they did. The shooting was very well within lawful and moral bounds. The officer was clearly in grave danger and the K-9 officer reacted just as he should have. It was their job to stop this offender’s violence and they did. That means danger close. I really wonder if reading this blog is worth it anymore.

    • Any particular qualifications for your BS comment? You sound more like a cop who has fabricated justification on occasion. If the K-9 officer “acted” as he should have I believe the dog would have already been handling the failed tazer situation. Not saying that things can’t get out of hand, just that this didn’t go anywhere near what the resources might have allowed.

  2. Perhaps the now-dead man was a dangerous lunatic – he had certainly been perpetrating violence, and he was wielding a potentially dangerous weapon. And the officers couldn’t just run away from their duty (to the extent that Law Enforcement has a duty) to control and arrest the man.

    But, how would a California prosecutor view a situation where a citizen and his companion fired ten – ten – shots at point-blank range at an “attacker” who appears to be walking away from the scene, and whose attack could be evaded by taking a step back?

    It looks like he was shot for having “failed to comply” with the officer’s commands (in the words of the spokeswoman) rather than as the unavoidable, last-resort, all-other-avenues-had-been-exhausted culmination of events.

    “It’s a hell of thing to kill a man” and all that.

    It does look like the bullet found performed as designed. (I refer to a different news-report video, which included the department response.)

  3. By “retreated” I think battlewagon meant “give himself a more-than-Tueller distance from the subject, then re-engage with a different plan” not “give up and go home.”

    • Glad someone caught on to that. He wasn’t holding a grenade or thermonuclear device in his hand. He was on foot with a big blunt object.

    • He was on foot *walking away* with a blunt object, I think the officers had many more options than the one they took. Frankly I don’t fault the K9 officer who fired first much at all, I think the officer with the taser was the the careless one and put his partner in a position where he had to make a call.

      I will also note that while I’m not a dog handler I’ve worked with them, it’s totally the handlers call whether or not to use a dog to subdue a suspect but perhaps if *someone* was going to use a taser it probably should have been him. Shooting a taser one handed with a dog tugging on the other seems marginally safer for bystanders than having him present his pistol. I gather the officers had just barely arrived on the scene when this video was taken and they were just reacting as best they could but if you are in a complicated situation where you are not willing to let your dog free of it’s leash maybe you should just leave the dog in the car.

      I could what if this to death but I’m not going to, and honestly if I had thought that this post was going to be thrown up on the main page I probably would have taken more care with my words.

      I stand by my initial reaction though, the officers had many chances to think through their approach but instead they winged it, and the carelessness of one forced the hand of the other. Was the shooting justified, sure, a pipe bender is a deadly weapon and his partner was well within swinging range as the suspect raised it. My only issue with this is that the officers should have never put themselves in this position in the first place.

      • Well said. I kinda thought the same thing: “Why are the officers so close with weapons drawn?”
        Tactical failure, IMO.

        Another thought: Has the de-emphasis of police baton use increased police resort to firearms?

  4. what i find interesting is that these cops were so scared they shot this guy like ten times, mostly in the chest from what i see. they funny part is that in the video the guys say “they shot him like six times in the face.” I guess counting is out of their skill set.

  5. I haven’t read anything anywhere, about the police report, and whether or not it contradicted what we saw in the video. The person who commented here should provide the link so that we can confirm his statement. I can only comment on what I saw.

    1) Man comes out of an eating establishment with what appears to be a pipe bendor. Cops already called to the scene.
    2) Man fails to comply with, or respond to a k9 officer weapon drawn, and another with taser in the ready, who appeared to be attempting to detain him.
    3) Suspect appears to be walking toward a car. I did not notice the police attempt to taser him.
    4) The suspect begins to wield the pipe bender like a weapon. To me, it appears that the suspect winds up for a swing at the officer who failed to taser him.
    5) This would be the last, though clearly not the first dumb move this suspect will likely EVER make again as officer 2 shoots the suspect until he falls to the ground.

    I personally think many police abuse their authority, and fail to remember they are here to protect AND serve. Respect is a two way street and cops seem to always close off that second lane.

    But in this situation, the shooting officer responded to a threat to his colleague on the scene with the tools he is entrusted with. He made a split second decision.

    Bad guy, good shoot.

    • I’m sorry, I couldn’t get the link to publish in a hurry. I would ask you to Google the incident – there are several local news reports (lame ones, to be sure) that feature the department spokeswoman speaking on camera.

      Notice I said “news reports” and “spokeswoman.” I know nothing of the actual police report/investigation.

      Sorry to fall down on my reporting, there.

      Oh, but look again – the tasering is easy to see. The man pulls the wires away from his head/face area.

  6. “If officers will blatantly lie about something that took place in full view of many witnesses what are the odds that they have lied before when it was their word against a citizen?”

    Is this a rhetorical question?

  7. So what was the dog for? Maybe the Dogman should have used the dog?

    It’s easy for us to 2nd guess this crap, but watching these can be a good learning too.

    • “So what was the dog for? ”

      Style points.

      Nearly anyone can casually shoot a man dead within spitting distance, but to execute him with one hand while using the other to to parade your poodle demonstrates elegance and flair.

  8. They were too close, used the tazer instead of the dog, and the second volley of shots was overkill. Sure the perp instigated it but the video points out that they should train more of these situations instead of buying machine guns, armored cars, or other expensive toys. The man could have been mentally disturbed or under the influence and that should not be a death sentence. Since he did not have a distance weapon (firearm) and there were two of them they had options like tackling him and using the dog.
    If I was on a jury for this I would say the dog should have been used first. I don’t want to hear about last minute tough decisions, that is what we pay and train them for. If they make the wrong decision they pay for it, just like Joe Citizen. We don’t get anywhere near the level of understanding because we are supposed to lie there and call 911. How far are we willing to excuse bad decisions because “they have a tough job”? They expect a certain amount of immunity and legal protection so they are not as concerned about options.

    • The man could have been mentally disturbed or under the influence and that should not be a death sentence.

      Everytime someone says this, it is in retrospect.

      When someone is attacking you, you usually only know their intent: to hurt/kill you. Even if you KNOW that they are drunk/high/mentally-ill, are you really supposed to let the person follow through on their intent to hurt or kill you? “It’s okay. I’ll take it [and maybe die] because the other person ‘can’t really help themselves'” is not a pleasant rationalization.

      Do not look past the threat for the reason. It’ll get you hurt, or worse.

      Eveyone do yourselves a favor and run this thought experiment posed by Rory Miller in Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected. Follow the link*, click Search Inside below the picture of the book, then search for section 1.2.1 the conscious stuff: capacity. Read that section.

      Yes, it includes my amazon associate id.

      • They were two cops and a dog. They had the advantage and chose to shoot him. That’s all I’m saying. But you can dissect one part of this any way you want to justify 10 bullets at close range.

  9. Yep, why on earth did they not use the dog? Back off a few paces if need be, and let the dog subdue the guy. Not to mention, having only seen the video, the second set of 5 seems very excessive.

  10. I hear where you’re coming from, but as for the cops lying about the perp swing his weapon at them, remember, witness testimony is not always reliable…when you have a mass of adrenaline hormones being released, memory goes out the window.

  11. While we can hope for and urge our police to extend the highest levels of response to every citizen, I don’t believe we’ll always get it. That’s Life.

    If, for whatever reason–or even through mental illness–an individual conducts themselves in a manner that immediately threatens innocents, we want the police to stop it.

    And now we leisurely argue whether the stopping methods employed were correctly used?

    I value Life. I think Life is Holy. I bet the officers do, too. It was the deranged Bad Guy who decided Life was worth nothing, threatening innocents with every advance.

    It’s not possible to fix all that went wrong with that man in the last 5 minutes of his existence. Our civil society asked for him to be stopped, and stopped he was.

    Now we upbraid the responding officers for an in sufficiently-nuanced reply to a madman swinging a lethal weapon? Get a grip.

  12. Easy for us to second-guess, but one wonders what the dog is for, if not this. Maybe it is just a “sniffing” dog.

    The K9 officer is encumbered by the dog, actually. He has to present his pistol one-handed (to say nothing of sideways, gangsta-style) because he is restraining the dog.

    I’m sure no jury will evaluate this case. It is unthinkable that LA officers will be charged with any wrongdoing.

    • Easy for us to second-guess


      Would any of us have reacted differently in the moment if a guy who had just shrugged off a taser was swinging a blunt weapon at us? Is it unfortunate that the deceased paid the ultimate price for his choices? Yes absolutely, but in the end they were his choices why should someone have to take a pipe to the dome because he made the wrong choice?

  13. Everyone’s a Monday-morning quarterback here, and it doesnt matter if you have killed people in combat or not – many of those inconvenient and downright pesky FACTS fail to come to light in favor of almighty excoriation at the hands of the omniscient “intelligentsia” *gag.*

    1 – Taser is designed to work through 2″ of clothing; you don’t need to bury the barbs balls-deep to generate NMI

    2 – Taser doesn’t always work; one probe can miss, a glancing blow can cause a probe to deflect, or the guy may be so whacked out that his brain and body aren’t communicating like a normal person.

    3 – once the deadly weapon (a pipe bender??!!) comes up within striking distance and officers are in a time-is-life struggle for their lives, especially AFTER less-lethal fails to work, they were completely justified.

    4 – K9 units are not expendable robots to be thrown at armed felons; an officer is no more likely to send his dog into an armed encounter than he is going to tell a bystander to disarm the guy.

    5 – the second officer opened fire within a couple seconds of the first and while the suspect was still collapsing. He was in no way criminal or negligent in engaging.

    Shooting to garner compliance is a myth oft perpetuated by bloggers and cheeto-fingered commenters with a lifetime of Xbox to back up their street cred. In the real world, officers want first and foremost to go home safe to their families and any patrol officer will tell you there is no guarantee of that anytime they go in service.

    I’m not a police officer but work very closely with them.

    • I agree with nearly all of your points but I disagree with the conclusion you draw from them. You’ve obviously thought it through fairly well I respect that, I think we disagree not so much in kind but degree, and we can safely just leave it at that.

      The post wasn’t really aimed at people like you though. I wrote it in response to a guy in the first thread making broad insulting observations about anyone who didn’t see this incident as anything but good old fashioned family entertainment. I don’t remember exactly what he said but it could probably be paraphrased as “blah blah “cajones” blah blah bleeding hearts something something I’m right and you’re wrong”. Frankly I don’t usually make much ado about my military career, I only mentioned it because I thought it would be funny to see the guy backpedal from his reflexive authority jones, “hey buddy, I’ve got some boots too, get to licking”.

      I’ve been just as critical of soldiers when I thought could have handled situations more professionally. I respect law enforcement officers but then I respect everyone until they give me a reason not to, if we stop looking at situations like this one with a critical eye we are heading for trouble, and ignoring percieved problems won’t do the officers any favors in the long run.

      I don’t think this situation was criminal in any way, I don’t think the officers deserve any punishment nor do I advocate for anything other than an honest assessment of their actions and probably a little further training. I do find the inconsistencies between the video and what was related about the incident by the police spokesperson to be a little troubling. Your mileage may vary.

      Here’s what I really think was wrong with this situation though. Aggressiveness. Yes, it is an important tool in a cop or a soldiers arsenal It can carry you through very bad situations, it can bring you home at the end of the night when hesitation would have left you bleeding out on the floor. I think that odds are fairly reasonable that if the K9 handler hadn’t acted decisively that his partner could have come to great harm.

      But I think that aggressiveness has it’s place and the default aggressive approach probably escalated this situation.

      I feel that the same mentality that kept these officers from taking a moment, backing up a few feet and assesing their options is in a broad way linked to the mindset that says a SWAT entry into a home in the middle of the night on poorly vetted intel is preferable to waiting for the suspect to leave his house for groceries and then bagging him. The same mindset seems to be fueling militarization of precincts, and on a larger scale seems to want to draw an artificial line between officers and other citizens and only ends up alienating them.

      Cops are civilians and citizens too, if you can’t express an honest opinion about their actions without being shouted down then something is out of kilter in the entire conversation.

      I think that in the long run unmitigated aggression breeds aggression, that approaching a fucked up individual vandalizing a burger joint in the same way you’d approach a suspected murder might work out this time, but in the long term you’re going to face more and more everyday citizens viewing officers with distrust. Some precincts and jurisdictions have real problems with this, some absolutely do not. In the end ignoring the bad only endangers the good.

  14. The officers aren’t human and could have handled it a bit better without putting themselves so close to harm, but at the end of the day, the dude with the pipe raised a pipe and made a move at 2 cops with guns already drawn.

    Shootings are not always black and white. This one has shades of gray, but I’d do the same thing in their situation.

  15. As an attorney, I saw enough officers on the witness stand to know that they’ve learned more about “testi-lying” than about markmanship or proper procedure.

    The only difference between then and now is that now, somebody, somewhere in the crowd, has a cell phone with a camera.

  16. I think what this really boils down to is the fact that hindsight is 20/20.

    The dead guy was stupid; likely criminally.

    The cops were stupid, possibly criminally.

    Honestly, officers should be placed on administrative leave, pending investigation about their use of force (generally SOP), and the video should be used for department-wide training on use of force.

    I really hate playing armchair quarterback on things like this, but the perp’s death was probably preventable, and more effort should have gone into attempting to achieve that possible outcome — Not for the benefit of the perp, but because the officers deliberately put themselves DIRECTLY in danger, and if they had acted differently (read: if they had better training on how to handle situations of this type) they would have comported themselves differently, and wouldn’t have had to react as they did to an immediate physical threat. Simply put, if officer safety is of concern, then training should emphasize it, and these officers clearly had insufficient training. What if the first volley hadn’t stopped him from landing a debilitating blow on one of the officers?

  17. I thought you would be more savvy after 5 deployments. How about you apply to your local PD so you can show them how its done.

    Thanks again for another anti-police post.

    • Well, it seems like the civilian police departments (yes, they are civilians) have more liberal ROE on US citizens than I had on my last deployment. If the media got their hands on something like this with a Soldier/Sailor/Marine putting 10 rounds in a dude with a pipe you can bet the powers that be would be looking to hang em up on charges.

  18. I think a lot of commenters are missing the gist of this post. This video doesn’t give a great deal of context outside of the critical moments, and within the critical moments a deadly threat was presented to a fellow officer and the K9 officer reacted to end that threat. Straightforward. But this post concerns itself with how the officers might have acted to avoid those critical moments.

    This guy got himself killed, as a result of his own actions. Having established that, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to examine the actions of the police as they acted in their professional capacity to determine if best practices were followed. As a society, and certainly as a gun culture, we dissect civilian DGUs thoroughly looking for any fault, error or misstep. We don’t do this (generally) to caste blame, but to learn and educate. I see no reason why we would not treat professional DGUs the same. This post points out some possibilities worthy of consideration, some steps that could have been taken before the critical moments that might have prevented them. I think it’s not only reasonable to examine those possibilities, it is vital that citizens hold law enforcement accountable. And accountability doesn’t mean blame.


    • Well said.

      My issue is not with police accountability (police shootings in LA county are thoroughly investigated), my issue is with those who are supremely confident that they could have performed flawlessly in such a situation. A call of a lunatic smashing windows with a pipe bender in a fast – food restaurant is not one of those “easy calls” that police get.

      Secondly, the police need to be judged upon their own reasonable perceptions at the time of the incident, and their responses. Were there mistakes? Looks like it. Should those mistakes be examined, investigated, and corrected? Absolutely. Can those mistakes be used for training purposes for this agency and others? I certainly hope so. Police agencies have use of force / rules of engagement policies (which differ from those in the military) based upon Officer Safety needs and applicable state laws. Violations can and will be prosecuted, but the court system is far from perfect.

      My hope is that on this forum, which I’m hoping consists of informed gun owners (and occasionally, gun users), there would be a more level-headed perspective.

      • Well put.

        The only thing that is right about second-guessing is that nearly every disastrous outcome in a stressful situation is, upon reflection, the culmination of many little actions. Often, a different choice at some point would have avoided the bad outcome. Perhaps the actors chose poorly, or perhaps they did the best they could with what they knew at the time. I hope the investigation is full and fruitful.

  19. Battlewagon, that is what tasers are for. That guy was a strong guy pumped up on adrenalin. It would have taken a lot of cops to subdue him. he could have been killed in the process, or the officers could have been killed or seriously injured.

  20. Seems like pepper spray or a bean bag shotgun would have made quick work of this dumb thug.

    I would say the first officer to shoot was justified but the second officer joining in while the bad guy was falling seemed excessive.

    I think the TASER is now thought of as a one size fits all, less lethal compliance device to the detriment of the police force. Sure it is great in many situations but, as seen on this video, it has faults and does occasionally kill people. Time to bring back the OC spray and baton.

  21. 1. The dirtbag with the bar even menacing the armed cops got what was coming and the world is a better place without him.2. The cops need to be FIRED for lying and for being so stupid as to be close enough for said dirtbag to be close enough to pummel them with the steel bar.3. The world is a better place if the cops get fired and dirtbag down…
    4. They should have sicked the damn mean ass police dog on him…

  22. This is one thing I don’t get about this situation; why the felt the need to lie. How prevalent is lying on police reports, when in a situation like this why the shooting was justified. Preventable yes, but justified. I have always thought that these stories are the exceptions to the rule, but the more I hear about this kind of thing it looking like the opposite is the case.

  23. Americans have become way too sanguine about the police resorting to deadly force. It will end up backfiring on society.

    Don’t police get training in dealing with the mentally ill, non-lethal methods of subduing people, and the like? (rhetorical question).


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