Take a look at the dramatic footage taken from a cop’s body cam in Elsmere, KY. An officer is aggressively approached by a man who had murdered his fiance and his best friend. Although no weapon was visibly present, the officer did not know if the man was still armed.
The cop had information from his department that the man may attempt “suicide by cop” and this is certainly what he was doing as he screamed “Shoot me, shoot me!” while charging towards the cop.
What do you think of this cop’s decision? Dumb, smart, or is there an answer in between?
My Take on it
As stated in the WLWT article, the man had the body cam on as a personal purchase. One of his relatives purchased the camera for him based on the incidents that happened in Ferguson.
With that statement, we know that the officer’s decision to not fire upon the man was potentially influenced by the Ferguson incident and growing public tensions towards police departments. However, did that fear of possible public outrage almost get him killed?
As shown in the video, the officer tripped and fell back onto the concrete after already backing up about 50 feet from the pursuing assailant. Sure, the officer had his gun drawn, but as real life shootings teach us, an assailant with a knife within that range can get on top of you and stab the hell out of you even after you’ve placed multiple shots in him center mass.
So, what should he have done?
In the comments on Facebook, some applaud the officer for showing restraint. Some say he was a complete moron for putting his life in jeopardy. Although I lean more towards the use of deadly force in this instance (because he man had just committed double murder), I can agree with both. What if this man hadn’t committed murder but was an angry man who was advancing towards the officer. What then?
Why does it have to be the assailant dying, or the potentiality of the officer dying? Why did the officer not shoot the assailant in the leg and stop his progression towards him? That, or have round control to only use the necessary number of rounds center mass to stop progression.
Now, trust me, I get it. In real life close quarter active shooter situations, we are told to shoot center mass as the environment is very reactionary and stressful. Headshots and things of that nature are for the video gamers. However, I this case might be different.
The assailant was close enough to the officer that he could have had an accurate shot at his femur. That, or deliver a single shot somewhere center mass vs. the 1/2 magazine center mass shootings we see in some shootings. Further, at the beginning of the video, the officer is in a static isosceles position braced against the police car door, which further adds to the stabilization of the shot. The only thing getting in the way of this “mindset” is stress.
That’s where physical and mental training comes in. Do you think officer’s should be better trained to use placement of non-lethal shots or round control? Or do you think this disrupts the reactionary center-mass training that can save officer’s life?