To the uninformed person who admonished the police in the use of force in the tragic event on September 1. Yes, all our hearts go out to the family who lost their son and that includes the officer and his/her family who will have to live with the terrible decision forced upon them for the rest of their lives. You sit in judgment of someone who had to make a split-second decision and who pleaded with the person to drop the knife (it was after all, ONLY a knife?) when you were not there and have no idea the circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the officers’ decision to be forced into making that choice. I was not there either, so I will not make any judgement as to the officer’s actions; however, maybe if you knew some of the facts about the use of deadly force on a person who “…was brandishing a knife. It was not a gun,” you would not be so hasty to judge.
With all respect, it is obvious you know nothing about what a person brandishing a knife can do to another person in just a matter of less than two seconds, so let me offer some facts to you about how quickly a person with “only a knife” can inflict deadly results.
The average person can run, from a standstill 21 feet in 1.5 seconds and 32 feet in 2 seconds.
The officer stated that the person was coming at him as the orders were given to drop the knife. How long does it take a person to realize they are being or about to be attacked? One-and-a-half to three seconds (depending on situational awareness, which it sounds like the officer had).
If the officer takes 1.5 to three seconds to realize an attack is imminent and a person wielding a knife and actively coming at the officer (not at a standstill) only takes 1.5 seconds to run 21 feet or two seconds to run 32 feet, then that puts the officer at a total disadvantage unless immediate action is taken in a matter of only seconds, if that. It’s called the 21-foot rule in law enforcement, and I have seen it in action.
You say the officer “used force beyond what the situation called for,” and “Why didn’t the police officer use his taser gun (to subdue)”? Again, you were not there and do not know that a taser or other less than lethal force does not always work (yes, I’ve seen that too), nor do you not know why that kind of force was not used, because you were not there.
Nothing in the Texas penal code states that an officer must use pepper spray first and if that does not work, use a taser and if that does not work use a bean bag gun and if that does not work THEN he goes to deadly force. If this were so, there would be many more officers killed in the line of duty than there are now. I in no way am making light of the tragedy that occurred or the circumstances that led up to that terrible day, but only want to make you aware that unless you were there, or are an expert on the use of deadly force, please to not sit there and judge the officer’s actions, especially since you do not know the entire story.
Mike Cagle is a retired police sergeant of 28 years.