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  #61  
Old 25 November 2014, 03:45 PM
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ETA: Never mind, wrong information.
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  #62  
Old 25 November 2014, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
So you're thinking that not confronting a potentially armed suspect at all is the way to go?
There's a wide range of possibilities between "Somebody's inevitably going to get shot and it's not going to be me" and not responding at all. How about trying to gather more information before shooting somebody? Or assessing the situation by, for example, listening for gunshots or seeing whether people are running in terror as opposed to playing, or many other possibilities by which it should surely have been possible to find out that this was not a deadly situation before turning it into one?

I'm with NobleHunter - there surely can't have been any reason to go into the situation in such a way that the only thing to do was shoot the guy as soon as he moved. I don't believe that he was "reaching for his gun" because that makes no sense - he didn't have a gun to reach for.

And the fact that by Dark Blue's own description, the policy is to go into the situation as though they were entering a Wild West bar and might be challenged to a quick draw contest is surely not the only thing possible? Is that really the only conceivable way that people can see a situation like this? I stand by what I said - that is not an adequate plan for dealing with such reports.
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  #63  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
...Or assessing the situation by, for example, listening for gunshots or seeing whether people are running in terror as opposed to playing...
Seriously, I am very sympathetic to the desire to find a way to an outcome that does not involve anyone getting shot. But I don't think waiting for gunshots and people running in terror is the route to that end.
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  #64  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:03 PM
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It's not just about protecting the responding cops, it's about protecting the other people on the playground.
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  #65  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:09 PM
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Has there been any coverage of why the boy was in the playground with a gun in the first place and did the other children playing there know it was not real? The answers to that would definitely colour my opinion on what happened next.
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  #66  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
There's a wide range of possibilities between "Somebody's inevitably going to get shot and it's not going to be me" and not responding at all. How about trying to gather more information before shooting somebody?
You can sit back and observe and watch to a certain point, but at some point you have to make contact with the person reported as being disorderly with a firearm. If he reaches for a weapon after being told to put his hands in the air bad things are going to happen regardless of what his actions were during the time you were watching him.


Quote:
Or assessing the situation by, for example, listening for gunshots or seeing whether people are running in terror
Really you think we should wait for them to start shooting at people before acting? Sorry but we are going to intervine prior to the shooting and running screaming in terror if possible.
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as opposed to playing, or many other possibilities by which it should surely have been possible to find out that this was not a deadly situation before turning it into one?
Bystanders are an unreliable guage of the amount of danger around them. They often act as if nothing is happening, out of ignorance of the situation, apathy I don't know, but they often go about their day as if nothing is happening.

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I don't believe that he was "reaching for his gun" because that makes no sense - he didn't have a gun to reach for.
If you expect everything people do to make sense you would not survive long in a career that involves contacting dangerous people.

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And the fact that by Dark Blue's own description, the policy is to go into the situation as though they were entering a Wild West bar and might be challenged to a quick draw contest is surely not the only thing possible?
Not at all what I said, but however you want to spin it. Again you can observe and watch but at some point you have to approach and contact the person, whom for all you can determine is armed with a gun. Having your gun out is just part of that. It isn't safe or appropriate to approach such a person otherwise.
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  #67  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Or assessing the situation by, for example, listening for gunshots or seeing whether people are running in terror as opposed to playing, or many other possibilities by which it should surely have been possible to find out that this was not a deadly situation before turning it into one?
First off, the kid with the gun (and his parents who didn't teach him responsible gun handling) was the one who created the deadly situation by acting as if it was a gun and acting like he was going to point it at a police officer.

Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that the police wait until a dangerous situation becomes a deadly (or extremely likely to be deadly) situation before they attempt to intervene?

Quote:
I'm with NobleHunter - there surely can't have been any reason to go into the situation in such a way that the only thing to do was shoot the guy as soon as he moved.
You left out "for his gun" at the end of that sentence. Because (if reports are accurate of course) that's what he was doing when he was shot.

Quote:
I don't believe that he was "reaching for his gun" because that makes no sense - he didn't have a gun to reach for.
We know now that he did not have a firearm, but exactly how was the cop on the scene supposed to know with life and death certainty that the thing that looked exactly like a firearm was not a firearm?

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I stand by what I said - that is not an adequate plan for dealing with such reports.
So what is the adequate plan for going into a situation where someone with a gun is threatening people with that gun?
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  #68  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
There's a wide range of possibilities between "Somebody's inevitably going to get shot and it's not going to be me" and not responding at all. How about trying to gather more information before shooting somebody? Or assessing the situation by, for example, listening for gunshots or seeing whether people are running in terror as opposed to playing, or many other possibilities by which it should surely have been possible to find out that this was not a deadly situation before turning it into one?
You're absolutely right, and the one that springs foremost into my mind is to order the suspect to stop and raise his or her hands before gunning him or her down. They tried that, and it didn't work, so they shot.

Here's the thing: gathering information or, worse yet, actually waiting for shots to be fired (whether at them or an innocent bystander) only delays police response. In this particular instance, it certainly wouldn't have hurt anyone because it wasn't a real gun, but the police had no way of knowing that. They have to have processes in place that take uncertainty into account and the default has got to be to assume that if there's a report of a gun, and it looks like a gun, then it might just be a gun and they won't really know for sure until they have an opportunity to examine it up close (or they get shot by it, either way). Even with gun drawn and at the ready, if police wait for the suspect to act first, they're already at a serious, potentially fatal, disadvantage if the gun is real because there just isn't enough reaction time available: the suspect that chooses to act can beat a police officer that waited to react.

Quote:
I'm with NobleHunter - there surely can't have been any reason to go into the situation in such a way that the only thing to do was shoot the guy as soon as he moved. I don't believe that he was "reaching for his gun" because that makes no sense - he didn't have a gun to reach for.
He may not have seriously considered the possibility that the police would shoot him if he moved in the wrong direction. Consider how many people in this thread (you, for instance) seem to think that the police opening fire was way off base. He may have figured that pulling his fake gun out and showing the police it wasn't real was just as good as putting his hands up or better to dispel the situation because, gosh, why would the police shoot a kid with (what they don't realize is) a fake gun?

Quote:
And the fact that by Dark Blue's own description, the policy is to go into the situation as though they were entering a Wild West bar and might be challenged to a quick draw contest is surely not the only thing possible? Is that really the only conceivable way that people can see a situation like this? I stand by what I said - that is not an adequate plan for dealing with such reports.
Again, it's a problem of reaction time and having to be prepared to deal with someone who may have already made up their mind to shoot. If police don't go in with gun drawn and they instead go in with their weapons holstered, they're at best no more ready and quite possibly less ready than the suspect to draw and fire. The difference is, an armed suspect intent or at least willing to kill police or innocent bystanders wouldn't have to wait to see what the police intended to do before drawing and shooting, he'd just open fire if he wanted to. Cop killers don't have worry about satisfying all sides of the deadly force triangle: they do what they want, when they want (if allowed), and the police have to be prepared to deal with that possibility whenever they respond to a report of an armed suspect.
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  #69  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:41 PM
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Richard W, the boy reaching for the airsoft gun makes about as much sense as reaching for a real gun in that scenario. (Possibly more sense, since he might, tragically, have been trying to show police that it wasn't real.) Doing anything except putting his hands up doesn't make sense. But I don't doubt that it's possible that that's what happened. I guess we'll know when they release the video, which is supposedly "clear."
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  #70  
Old 25 November 2014, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Blue View Post
Bystanders are an unreliable guage of the amount of danger around them. They often act as if nothing is happening, out of ignorance of the situation, apathy I don't know, but they often go about their day as if nothing is happening.
Dark Blue offers a very good point here. During the terrible shootings in Ottawa last month, I was about 300 metres from the war memorial. The capital was put on lockdown, and we were confined to the building I was in. However, we could see out the windows. And before the actual shooter was killed in Parliament (and we did not know the status other reported shooters at that time), you would have been amazed at the behaviour of some people on the street. Street vendors setting up and selling their food mere blocks from the shooting and Parliament. People window shopping.

The only thing that I could see that was different was the complete lack of cars (due to blocked off streets), intense police presence at every street corner and a reduced amount of pedestrians (but there were still pedestrians).

These people would give you no indication that Ottawa was gripped in the throes of a terror attack.
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  #71  
Old 25 November 2014, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Has there been any coverage of why the boy was in the playground with a gun in the first place and did the other children playing there know it was not real? The answers to that would definitely colour my opinion on what happened next.
Not that I've seen, but in the 911 recording the caller says a guy in a camo hat is sitting on a swing, pulling a pistol in and out of his pants, pointing it at people, and "scaring everyone." Though the caller later says, "it's probably a juvinile, it's probably fake," it sounds more like an apology in case it isn't real, rather than a communication of facts, and those doubts were not reported to the officer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
And the fact that by Dark Blue's own description, the policy is to go into the situation as though they were entering a Wild West bar and might be challenged to a quick draw contest is surely not the only thing possible?
Honest question, how do you think this would have been handled in another country? Is this truly a Wild West situation, or is this a predictable police reaction to someone brandishing a weapon in the middle of a playground? What would a different police force do under similar circumstances besides send someone in?
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  #72  
Old 25 November 2014, 08:53 PM
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This story (video story) talks about TOG (Australian SWAT team) in an armoured car responding to a call of a teen with what was later determined to be a toy shotgun in Perth, Australia.

This article with CCTV footage from the UK has armed officers confronting a teen who was earlier brandishing what appeared to be a real gun. They go in with guns ready, but not drawn but are very quick to draw when the teen grabs the gun. One officer said the kid was millimeters away from being shot. The different response here might be because real guns are so uncommon in the UK that the officers can take the calculated risk of being less prepared if it is a real gun.
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  #73  
Old 26 November 2014, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
But I don't think waiting for gunshots and people running in terror is the route to that end.
I'm not talking about "waiting for". It's something that you might notice happening on your way there. If it's not happening, then perhaps you might conclude that you can afford a more cautious approach.

(eta)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
We know now that he did not have a firearm, but exactly how was the cop on the scene supposed to know with life and death certainty that the thing that looked exactly like a firearm was not a firearm?
Again, I'm not talking about the police. He knew that he didn't have a gun. So why would he have "grabbed at" it in a way that suggested he was going to draw it, point it and shoot it? (None of which he had time to do, or the police would have mentioned it).
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  #74  
Old 26 November 2014, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
Honest question, how do you think this would have been handled in another country? Is this truly a Wild West situation, or is this a predictable police reaction to someone brandishing a weapon in the middle of a playground? What would a different police force do under similar circumstances besides send someone in?
I'm not sure. The police here sometimes shoot unarmed people as well - I already mentioned Charles de Menezes (in which the police initially claimed they had had to shoot him because of the way he reacted when they burst in - he wasn't even carrying anything that looked like a gun). And there was another infamous case with a bloke who was on his way back from the pub carrying a table leg in a bag (for a perfectly good reason) which was, for some reason, reported to the police as a gun. The police claimed after they shot him that he had pointed it at them like a gun, too.

I'm not saying they would have done anything differently in other countries - just that I think there must be something different to do in this situation. The only part of this that seems to be peculiarly American is that everybody is so used to the idea of gun violence that they think it's inevitable that people will be shot occasionally and there's nothing to be done about it. Also the seeming inconsistency that I mentioned earlier, about some people being so proud of their right to visibly carry guns as the "good guys", when the line between that and being shot as a "bad guy" is so slim. Other than that, I wasn't saying it was specific to the USA. Also, I suppose, I played with fairly realistic looking toy cap-guns when I was a child, and apparently that's something that isn't done in the USA (because your right to have real guns trumps it).
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  #75  
Old 26 November 2014, 09:30 AM
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I don't know how German police would have reacted in that same situation, but the do react differntly in general. In Germany (population 80.767 Mio), there are 219.887 police officers of the Lšnder und 26.424 Federal Police officers (1992). Most police officers carry a handgun on duty.

According to different statistics, police officers of the Lšnder used their guns in the years 2003 to 2013 between 90 and 170 times per year to shoot at humans, killing between 3 and 12 persons per year. In the same time a maximum of 3 policer officers per year were killed in action, with most years seeing no such incident.

I can't find statistics for the US, but I doubt that we will see less that 1 incident of using a gun to shoot at a person per 1,000 police officers per year. This can be explained by a lot less guns on the streets in germany, but only partly so, I would think. There must be a difference in police tactics behind that, as well.

Last edited by Don Enrico; 26 November 2014 at 09:40 AM.
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  #76  
Old 26 November 2014, 01:19 PM
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The phrases "fast draw" contests and "walking into a bar ready to draw" have been used in this thread as if that was something the police of the American wild west did. The only places that happened were on TV and in the movies. Real peace officers, if they had to arrest someone, drew their gun and cocked it before walking into the bar.

As a side note, in the real wild west gun control, as in ban guns, was a fact. Cowboys were told to check their guns before going into town. The constitution of the state of Texas banned the carrying of concealed weapons in 1886. I'm not sure when it was decided this wasn't a good idea, i.e., when was it decided that more guns were better than fewer guns.
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  #77  
Old 26 November 2014, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Again, I'm not talking about the police. He knew that he didn't have a gun. So why would he have "grabbed at" it in a way that suggested he was going to draw it, point it and shoot it? (None of which he had time to do, or the police would have mentioned it).
Maybe, like the teen in the incident from the UK I posted above, he was trying to throw it away from himself or maybe he was going to show them it was fake. Why does it matter what he was trying to do?

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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I'm not saying they would have done anything differently in other countries - just that I think there must be something different to do in this situation.
Are you saying that because you have a different idea of what should be done or are you saying that because the result was bad?
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  #78  
Old 26 November 2014, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Again, I'm not talking about the police. He knew that he didn't have a gun. So why would he have "grabbed at" it in a way that suggested he was going to draw it, point it and shoot it? (None of which he had time to do, or the police would have mentioned it).
I've seen an article that says the weapon was in his hand, that he had drawn but not pointed it, when he was shot. The video they have will be released in a few hours, so I guess we'll all know whether the police should automatically be assumed to be lying when someone does something that doesn't make sense to you.

I'm by no means saying this is the reason, but a possibility that has occurred to me for why he reached for the weapon could be an intent to commit suicide by cop. I don't think we'll ever know why, but there are a number of possible reasons, unfortunately, why he might have done it.
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  #79  
Old 26 November 2014, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Are you saying that because you have a different idea of what should be done or are you saying that because the result was bad?
I've already suggested several things that I thought could have been done differently based on the initial description of the situation. For example, taking into account that there was only one report of this by somebody who apparently said that the gun was "probably fake" but reported it to be on the safe side. Or taking into account that, as the police approached, there would have been no gunfire and (this is an assumption, I admit - it does depend exactly what was happening) nobody running away in fear. Both of those might have suggested that there was no threat to life that was so immediate that it needed to be approached with split-second lethal force.

So, yes, based on the initial description, I do think there were different things that could have been done.

Of course, it may be like your and others' (apparent) assumption, too, and he was deliberately letting people think he had a real gun, waving it as a threat, and when he saw the police coming (another assumption) that he went to point it at them in an attempt to commit "suicide by cop". In which case, maybe there actually was no other way in which they could have acted. I just find it odd that this is the sort of assumption most people went for, on hearing that a 12-year-old had been shot. That it was sad, but he must have been asking for it in some way, and there's nothing much that can be done.

By the way, my "Wild West" comparison (which I wrongly attributed to Dark Blue, sorry) was based on this post from RichardM:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
TV and the movies show the police pulling out their guns only after the other guy has drawn theirs. This stereotype is most evident in old western movies where the marshal loosens his gun in the holster before going into the bar to arrest the bad guy. The fact is that a real marshal of the old west would pause at the door of the bar just long enough to cock his gun given that double action weapons were not prevalent in the late 1800s. Police shows today are somewhat more realistic in that when walking into a situation where it is known there is a weapon or at least a weapon is reported, the officers would draw there weapon first.
So it was RichardM who implied that the police would act as if they were walking into a Wild West bar fight, not Dark Blue - sorry about the misattribution.

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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Maybe, like the teen in the incident from the UK I posted above, he was trying to throw it away from himself or maybe he was going to show them it was fake.
Sorry, I missed this - and don't remember the news story from the time. Perhaps because in that case, the guy conspicuously didn't get shot, despite actually "grabbing at" his fake gun to throw it away from him. So I'm not sure how it demonstrates the point that the only thing to do in that situation is shoot somebody. It seems to demonstrate the opposite.

Last edited by Richard W; 26 November 2014 at 07:55 PM.
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  #80  
Old 26 November 2014, 08:03 PM
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Here is the surveillance video:

Cleveland police officer shot Tamir Rice immediately after leaving moving patrol car

Its hard to see exactly what is happening in the video, but it seems like the officer shot very quickly.
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