Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Are there ever situations in which the police are justified in shooting someone?

Asked by Demosthenes (11682points) 2 weeks ago

What are the situations?

What should the officer in Columbus have done instead of shooting the knife-wielding teen?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

62 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

They would have been perfectly justified in popping a round into Chauvin’s head, for example.

zenvelo's avatar

The only justification is under a real threat with no other means to de-escalate.

Shoot someone driving away? Not justified. A kid who drops the weapon and raises his hand? Not justified.

The could have asked her to drop the weapon, he could have identified himself as a policeman .and asked the others to stand back from her. He could have tased her. Shooting her not justified.

JLeslie's avatar

Of course there are cases the police are justified. When the police have their own life directly threatened or the perpetrator is going to cause seriously harm someone else. If the police can stop an action with a warning or physically restraining the person then that’s better, but in very violent situations it can be difficult.

If someone has their hands up, hands empty, then there is no justification to shoot, and police do it too often.

I worked in a psych hospital and some of the patients get out of control or violent, and somehow we get the person under control without a gun. We have people trained in subduing the person.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes. In the case you referenced I’d need more than one article but attacking others with a weapon seems like police could control her rather than kill her.
Shoot tackle her if she’s going nuts, even I could do that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I just read the story. The girl had a knife and lunged at another girl. They were fighting.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess Maybe they need to start darting more people instead of shooting to kill. Works great on animals and fast.

kritiper's avatar

When imminent deadly force is confronted, deadly force is the answer. In this case, the girl was in the process of attacking another human being. Time was of the essence. Shooting to kill was the answer. (If you shoot someone, shooting to kill is ALWAYS the best answer to the threat. Shooting to wound, like in the legs, is not the answer because the shooter doesn’t have time to take careful aim at a leg.)

gondwanalon's avatar

If some fool is shooting a gun at a cop and as long as there aren’t innocent bystanders in the line of fire, then it seems reasonable for the cop to defend himself with lethal force.

zenvelo's avatar

@kritiper What if the person is defending themselves? In this specific instance, the girl who was killed was the one that called 911 and was only protecting herself from two assailants.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Where did you hear that @zenvelo? That makes no sense.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I heard that on the radio Tuesday night. Why does it make no sense.

Suppose someone calls the police that someone is trying to get into their house. Then teh person gets a weapon to fight off any intruders. Should the person who is now armed be killed for trying to defend themselves?

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you called the police and they arrive, it’s time to turn it over to them. That’s why you called them. You don’t call them and escalate the situation when they show up.

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo This is an instance when the girl should have backed off and let the officer handle the situation. It is also another instance where a person does not heed the order to halt from the officer.
And, your response to @Dutchess_III doesn’t give enough details as to why a policeman would shoot this person defending themselves. Obviously, there would be too many other details to make a very specific answer.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, ffs, Kyle Rittenhouse was carrying an AR-15 and was killing people, and he lives today.
There was no justification to use deadly force on that girl.

ragingloli's avatar

@canidmajor
Well, to be fair, coppers love people like Rittenhouse. As evidenced by the fact that cops donated to the terrorist’s legal defence fund.

canidmajor's avatar

@ragingloli I’ll be interested to read all the “yeah, buts…” from previous posters defending why it was OK to let Rittenhouse live, but necessary to kill (instead of tase) a frightened black girl.

zenvelo's avatar

@kritiper @Dutchess_III From the video, the officer did not identify himself as a policeman, and gave vague instructions (“get down” instead of “drop the knife”) and she had her back to the cop.

gorillapaws's avatar

Here’s how they do it in the UK.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@kritiper She was attacking another girl with a knife. They were fighting when the police showed up. The girl had a knife in her hand. Just as he got out of the car she lunged at the other girl.
I’ll go find the article.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Here..
It doesn’t indicate who placed the 911 calls. There were several placed.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yes but only when their life or the public is truly in danger and only then when all other options have been tried.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you have time to leisurely go through your other options. He had a split decision to be made. It sounds to me like another girl’s life was on the line.

ragingloli's avatar

Allegedly, law enforcement is a profession that requires extensive training, and that its agents would be intensively conditioned to quickly analyse a situation and select the proper response accordingly. But who am I kidding, they are trained to see everyone else as prey at best.

You know what the least realistic part of the “Police Academy” movie was?
The 2 racist meathead recruits, that become Harris’ pets, being the exceptions, that are quickly put in their place by the good-hearted majority of recruits.

rebbel's avatar

Shooting: yeah.
Killing (shoot to kill): no.
There’s always the possibility to shoot in the leg (if a tazer is not possible to use anymore) and eliminate the perpetrator that way.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III I saw the video.
@zenvelo Hind sight is ALWAYS 20–20. I doubt you could do any better on the spur of the moment.

kritiper's avatar

@rebbel If you (manage to) shoot the person in the leg, you stand the risk of being sued and have to pay medical bills and therapy to the injured. Better to kill them so they can’t testify against you.

birsy's avatar

@zenvelo She knew the police were there, check your facts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@kritiper, what did you see in the video?

janbb's avatar

@kritiper I’m sorry but police should be trained to make “spur of the moment” decisions. That’s part of the job. “I panicked or I froze” is not an acceptable excuse. De-escalating or taking down someone out of control without killing them should be a skill they are taught.

birsy's avatar

She was in mid stab how could that be De-escalated ?

janbb's avatar

@birsy Why could he not shoot her in the leg? I agree she had to be stopped but I’m not sure four bullets were needed to do it.

The investigation of this situation is going forward so I won’t rush to judgment but it is certain in my mind that too many killings by police are going on and that more training or reforms are necessary.

birsy's avatar

You will miss if you aim for a leg ,this is the real world not TV.

JLeslie's avatar

You have to shoot where you are most likely to hit the person, that is the torso, that is what people are taught when they shoot. That is the large area of the body that if you aim for the center you are likely to hit the person even if they move. I wish they could shoot for the leg, but it’s not practical in most situations. That takes more time to take aim for a leg, and more likely to miss.

hello321's avatar

If the result of calling on the state to deescalate a situation = the police shoot a teen 4 times and kill her within seconds of arriving and without knowing anything of the situation, identifying themselves as police, or trying anything else, then the whole project of policing is invalid and should be ended.

The amount of bootlicking and subservience people demonstrate towards the police is embarrassing. We’re only getting the occasional video of a cop murdering someone because the ubiquity of mobile phones and the existence of body cams. Cops have been murdering people forever and getting away with it without question. We’re now getting a glimpse of the reality, and we’re seeing people bend over backwards in an attempt to justify their murderous behavior.

To answer @Demosthene’s question – I think the first response (@ragingloli)‘s is the most appropriate. I will add that there are very few cases where the state is justified in killing someone. I’m not going to entertain the hypothetical right now – because doing so within the context of people getting murdered by the cops is pretty bad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ You answered with out information.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
birsy's avatar

So stand by and let her stab someone possibly killing them .The amount of boot licking and subservience people demonstrate towards criminals is embarrassing!

LuckyGuy's avatar

When are police justified in shooting someone?

When that person is attacking me.

Truth be told most people would answer the same way if they were the ones bent over backwards against a car and the other person was attacking with an 8” knife.

Response moderated
Response moderated
kritiper's avatar

Some people who have never fired a pistol cannot understand how hard it is to hit anything that isn’t at point blank range. I have heard of cops who empty an entire magazine and not hit the target, and at, like, 20 feet. And they might be expected to shoot some person in the leg (and a moving target at that) when they couldn’t, literally, hit the broad side of a barn??

kritiper's avatar

@janbb I seriously doubt that you could do better…

ragingloli's avatar

Hey, maybe they did try to tase her, but they mistook their taser for their gun.
God forbid if they are ever issued rocket launchers. They will mistake them for tasers, too.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think you misunderstood something here…
I didn’t diss anything you said.

rebbel's avatar

@kritiper Just an idea (not for you, but for rookie/trainee cops): how about send them to shooting ranges and teach them to shoot and hit stuff (you know, like half of Americans start to do when they’re twelve years old, in the backyard, with tins).
And not give them their how-do-you-call-it’s and their guns before they can shoot somone in the leg or buttock?
You know, since it’s a pretty important job they are going to do…

Dutchess_III's avatar

@kritiper not sure what you mean. You said you saw the video. I haven’t seen the video. I just asked what you saw.

kritiper's avatar

@rebbel They do send them to shooting ranges, but it’s still very hard to hit anything. It took me a long time and countless rounds to be able to hit anything fairly consistently, and I was using a long barreled .22 revolver. And a revolver is different from an automatic, which most cops carry.
@Dutchess_III I saw the camera video from the cop on the news. It showed the girl continuing to attack the other when the officer fired.

birsy's avatar

@rebbel The officer actually had pretty amazing accuracy, most officers probably would’ve accidentally shot the girl in pink also.

Demosthenes's avatar

Yeah, I’m not a big fan of treating all these cases as if they’re the same. I don’t think it’s fair to compare George Floyd, who was on the ground and unarmed, to someone who was about to stab someone else. I like to think this could’ve been handled without a death, though.

mazingerz88's avatar

Not sure why weapons makers aren’t coming up with something that has a gun’s stopping power but not lethal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rubber bullets?

hello321's avatar

^ These blinded and seriously injured many people last year who were simply protesting the murder of people by cops.

JLeslie's avatar

@hello321 Are they alive? We are talking about trying to save a life when a cop does the wrong thing or even when he does the right thing, but we all would prefer no one dies.

kritiper's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, it would be nice if no lives were lost. Sadly, this isn’t a perfect world. And it’s not like there is some kind of shortage of human beings…
And, especially where humans are concerned, shit happens…
Unfortunately.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Having no shortage of human beings should hardly be a reason to accept human deaths in the hands of cops. If you really want to reduce human population cop kills wouldn’t do it.

kritiper's avatar

@mazingerz88 To your previous post: Be that as it may, shit happens. Shit always happens. Shit will ALWAYS happen! And nothing can stop it from happening.

@mazingerz88 As to your post 2 back: There are less lethal bullets for guns. They were designed by the military to wound more and be less deadly. (More soldiers are taken out of the fight that way.) They are known as FMJ – Full Metal Jacket. These bullets do not mushroom as much as a soft-nosed or hollow-point bullets which are designed to mushroom upon impact and create a devastating wound that tears bodies apart inside. VERY deadly!!!
But there is a draw-back to FMJ’s: They may exit the body and injure more than one individual, which is also a design feature .
For example: I have shot rabbits with .22 hollow point bullets. The entry hole is about ¾” whereas the exit hole is 6” to 8”, or the whole back side of the rabbit.
As I understand it, most police use hollow points because there is less chance of complete penetration. It’s a issue of safety, I suppose. Believe it or not. -

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Thanks very much for the info on bullets.

SnipSnip's avatar

He interrupted a murder in progress. He did what he should have done.

crazyguy's avatar

He was a HERO! He saved the life of the girl wearing pink. I feel bad for the dead girl, but she brought it upon herself. Generally, if a cop arrives at a scene where his/her own life or somebody else’s life is in imminent danger, I think shooting to kill is justified.

The sure way to avoid being killed by a cop involves the following:
1. Obey every instruction given to you by a cop.
2. Keep your hands up or behind your back if you are being handcuffed.
3. If you are arrested unfairly, you will have an opportunity to prove your innocence, IF YOU ARE ALIVE.

@gorillapaws That is an awesome video. Just suppose the same situation happened here, and the distraught man pulled out a gun and killed an officer?

birsy's avatar

The real victim is probably the poor little dog that was dropped on its side by the girl in pink.

crazyguy's avatar

@birsy I’ll be totally honest. I did not see the dog at all.

cheebdragon's avatar

@crazyguy Looks like a French bulldog or Boston terrier maybe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftUNtJ-v5Yc

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