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It’s been a “less lethal” day here at TTAG. Which is how we like it. First the taser discussion, and now beanbags. Only one problem. If you’re going to shoot beanbags from your shotgun, you have to remember to load the gun with beanbags. Not buckshot…

That detail seems to have eluded a 15-year Portland police veteran. According to the video report, each cop carries two shotguns. One conventional gun that’s loaded with buckshot and one that’s loaded with beanbags. Not only are the rounds color coded, but the guns are, too.

The officer in question seems to have mixed things up. Slightly. He was trying to subdue a drunk who was hassling kids at a playground and fired a live round rather than the beanbag he intended. Oops.

It’s not clear from the report if he picked up the wrong gun or mistakenly loaded a live round in the designated beanbag gun. In any case, Portland cops seem to have their trouble with beanbag guns.

Fortunately, the suspect will recover. He was only struck with five pellets in the hip. Which makes you wonder exactly where the cop was aiming.




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  1. It only goes to show that nothing is “Idiot Proof”, and that Murphy, of Murphy’s Law, is a mother f@@@er. It also speaks of poor shooting-how did he miss with all 8 or 9 00 buck pellets at close range? I doubt he was more than 15 yards away. If an officer cannot tell the difference with color coded rounds and a bright orange or yellow stock shotgun, he should no longer be on the force.

  2. Not sure but I think they usually try to target the lower body with the bean bag rounds as a strike to the neck or head might be lethal. Similar to the rules for using Batons…

    • Oh, I agree, I just don’t see how he didn’t completely hit the hip-but lucky for the drunk.

  3. The PPB has a problem with this sort of thing.

    Last year, a female PPB officer responded to an incident where a man (with serious mental health issues) lit himself on fire. She ran to her trunk and grabbed her crowd control size bottle of pepper spray – thinking it was her fire extinguisher – and hosed him down.

  4. We only have the word of the Portland PD that the officer accidentally fired birdshot instead of beanbags. Given the color-coding of the guns and ammo, I’m thinking the officer is FOS.

    • Man, if the OC had been alcohol based…Luckily they’ve gotten into the water base because of ignitions having happened when a Taser and alcohol base OC spray were used together, and after spraying. “You have the right to scream…”

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