Why do Police shoot to kill?

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Airspeed
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Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by Airspeed »

Once again, we are told that Police acted in accordance with their training, having shot dead an offender armed with a knife.
I would have thought that a shot to the leg would have a dramatic effect on the offender, but I've never been in that position, so what would I know?
It is also alarming that apparently, both officers fired tasers, which did not work. WHAT!?
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-27/w ... ng/9805046
grumpyoldb
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by grumpyoldb »

In the British forces we were told never aim to wound. The purpose of a firearm is to kill.

Not only that, a dead man can't get up and testify against you. :thumbsup:
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simondix
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by simondix »

When I was taught I was taught to stop them. If you are going to stop them it means lives are in danger. Aim for the largest bit. Pump in two shots and Bobs your uncle.
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Nigel H-J
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by Nigel H-J »

There could be many reasons why the Taser did not work and among them could be the fact that he may have been high on steroids, I have seen similar situations whereby officers have used Tasers on an armed suspect carrying a knife have proved fruitless but being unarmed they resorted to pepper spray and that fortunately did the work that the Taser didn't but, at the same time put the officers into a situation whereby the offender got within feet of the officers.

Officers are taught to aim for the chest as that is the area where it will bring an offender down, had they aimed for the legs he could still probably walk or even run towards them, aiming for the chest will often prove fatal but it is the only effective way to stop a person in their tracks.

Many decisions have to be made on the spur of the moment and only afterwards, especially in the event you have described, those officers would then have to carry the burden of that decision through for the rest of their lives.

One incident I was directly involved in when operating the cameras was that of a young man who subsequently drowned, had I made the call 10 seconds later than I did he would have lived but afterwards you have to ask the question 'Given the same circumstances again, would I have reacted any differently'? The answer would be no. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but impracticable when incidents have already taken place.

Incidentally, I still think about that young man. :(

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Chris Trott
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by Chris Trott »

There's one other reason, quite macabre, but unfortunately true in today's world - liability.

1) You shoot for the leg, a fast moving, small target, and miss - where does the bullet go? Rule 3 of firearm safety is know what is behind your target. You miss, where does that round go? It skips off pavement and it can go a lot of different ways.

2) Lawsuits. You shoot someone and maim them (i.e. they loose a limb because of it), then you WILL be sued by either the person you shot or their family. If you're an employee of a Security Company, Police Department or other, then you'll have some protection or defense provided, but you'll still have to go to court for both lawsuits. Here is where you get into trouble:

You just used LETHAL force on the subject. No matter where in the world you live, the minute you draw your firearm, you have deployed LETHAL force. If you then engage the subject and you attempt to use is as "less lethal" force, you are improperly employing the level of force deployed. If that is not in direct violation of your force's policy already, will have most juries doubt whether or not lethal force was necessary and will probably result in your being found guilty/liable. The argument the subject's lawyers are going to use is that one exactly - if you could just shoot him in the leg and stop him, did you really need to shoot him in the first place? Did you really need to risk killing or permanently injuring them if other methods were obviously possible?

Unfortunately, there's not a really good situation either way. Someone is trying to kill you (with a knife, gun, whatever) and you defend yourself, your fellow officers, and the public with an equal level of lethal force (your firearm). Then you have the public and the subject's family questioning all of your decisions and ignoring the fact that the subject made the decision to deploy lethal force first. In any other world, they'd be the one at fault 100% of the time because they escalated first. But for mostly right reasons, and unfortunately more and more wrong ones, society takes a much harder look at any time a life is taken and want black and white answers where such answers are rarely available.
SkippyBing
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by SkippyBing »

Strictly they aren't shooting to kill. They're shooting to hit the target. The best way to guarantee that is to aim at the centre of mass, which is the torso, which incidentally has a good chance of killing the target if it's human. If you aim at the legs, especially of someone who's moving, there's a good chance you'll miss. Ditto the arms, head, etc. Having only fired at static targets to get qualified to deploy I feel pretty confident that I could hit the torso. Anything else would be complete luck and, unlike the Police, for real I wouldn't be overly concerned about where any stray rounds were going.
If someone is coming at you with a weapon you basically have an inherent right of self-defence*. This should be proportionate, so if they're coming at you with their bare fists shooting them isn't really appropriate, but if they've got a knife then shooting them is pretty much reasonable. Arguments about when the calibre of the gun becomes dis-proportionate can be moderately entertaining if you include the 4.5" and 30mm guns on a ship vs protesters with petrol bombs.

*This is enshrined in a UN convention so is pretty much universal with the possible exception of the Canadian Armed Forces in certain circumstances.
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blanston12
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by blanston12 »

I remember taking a class taught by a San Jose Police officer, one time the conversation went onto the topic of police involved shootings and trying to shot legs and two stories he related.

First was two officers walk into a convenience store that's being robbed. both sides pull there weapons and start shooting, diving behind shelves. Nobody hits anything, eventually everyone uses up there bullets and they only capture the bad guys when more police arrive with more bullets.

Second was his partner was booking in a suspect, the suspect hits him, takes his gun and tries to shoot him but since he did not know how to operate the safety's is unable to fire it, smacks him across the head again and heads for the exit. He passes the desk sergeant and tries to shoot him, but he still does not know how to operate the safety, and runs toward the door. The sergeant pulls his gun, empties it firing toward the fleeing suspect and hits him one, in the elbow (not shooting at that).

Moral of the story, in the heat and stress of a shooting situation your not going to be able to hit a leg or arm and two, if killing the suspect would not be justified, don't pull out your side arm. (his words not mine)
Joe Cusick,

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Airspeed
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by Airspeed »

Thanks for those explanations and expansions.
As I said, I've never been in such a situation, so I don't know.
You have cleared up a lot of what was puzzling me. Much appreciated. ;)
thehappyotter
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by thehappyotter »

SkippyBing wrote: 27 May 2018, 21:29 Strictly they aren't shooting to kill. They're shooting to hit the target.
This is pretty much it in a nutshell (it's far more complex obviously but I'd be here all day.)

I'm don't carry conventional firearms but I do carry Taser, the justification for the use of which is made using the same decision making process. You make the decision to use a weapon based on removing a threat, be that to you or anyone else. The medical outcome for the subject does come into it but the main factor in the decision to use is based on a threat assessment and removing that said threat.

Taser is not a failsafe option. It does fail and there are numerous reasons why, as appears to have happened here. The mention of a "larger knife" here is also worthy of comment. A machete or similar (if that's what it was) is something a which in the UK a conventional firearms deployment will often be considered and authorised, quite rightly, for. I've know it numerous times.

Sometimes the officers run out of suitable alternative tactical options and the subject gets themselves shot. Sounds like that's happened in this story.
simondix
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Re: Why do Police shoot to kill?

Post by simondix »

If you pull a gun or a knife out and use it then you must take the consequences of your action. Too many Police Officers are being persecuted and penalised by being dragged through the courts and judged by people who really haven't a clue what is going on.
Simon

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