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Mark Gibbons
09-07-2010, 12:54 AM
I watched the aftermath of a shooting in Seattle last week from my office window. As far as I can tell, from news reports mostly, the officer was about 9 feet from a guy with a knife. When the guy turned to face the officer and took a step forward the guy was shot. Isn't that distance a set up for automatic shootings unless the person approached follows instructions really well? I don't understand why the officer was so close that shooting was automatic, it doesn't seem like a safe distance for either party.

Mark

mathewjgano
09-07-2010, 09:36 AM
I watched the aftermath of a shooting in Seattle last week from my office window. As far as I can tell, from news reports mostly, the officer was about 9 feet from a guy with a knife. When the guy turned to face the officer and took a step forward the guy was shot. Isn't that distance a set up for automatic shootings unless the person approached follows instructions really well? I don't understand why the officer was so close that shooting was automatic, it doesn't seem like a safe distance for either party.

Mark

I'm guessing he didn't mean to be so close, but I had heard on the radio that the man shot took more than a single step.

Mark Gibbons
09-07-2010, 10:43 PM
Yeah, I heard he took a few steps and didn't drop the knife. Really bad idea. But, I've seen this guy walk, he was slow. I think almost any officer could have backed away from him and maintained distance. I only posted because proper distance is such a basic concept for aikido and I keep hearing people discussing how someone with a knife can cover 10 feet in a second. In this case I don't think the guy that got shot could ever have closed with someone that was paying attention. Are officers allowed to back up in a situation like this?

The automatic shoot response combined with standing close enough to be seriously worried about a weapon seem like tactics that leave very little room for error on the part of the person contacted by the officer.

Janet Rosen
09-08-2010, 10:48 AM
Easy to second guess things - There are many situations where one exits a car or turns a corner or exits a store and is within 9 feet of a person or of many people.
If I had a gun and someone was coming at me with a knife, I would not back up, I'd shoot.

ninjaqutie
09-08-2010, 02:02 PM
I guess it differs per agency. Sure, they can back up, but their job is to protect themselves and society. If this guy was a threat to either, then I can see why the officer fired. It is easy enough to analyze things like this from reading or even seeing the situation. It is a totally different situation when you are directly involved and you fear for your safety (or the safety of others). You see things like this frequently with officer involved shootings and more often then not, they are ruled as a justified shooting in a grand jury hearing. We work a few officer involved shootings a year at the lab I work at, so I am some what familiar with what officer's say and experience.

As far as the distance between the officer and the now deceased... the officer probably tried to approach said person to neutralize the situation. Once the situation escalated, he probably tried to create a buffer area or stopped approaching the person to maintain a "safe zone". The thing about being an officer is that it involves you getting up close and personal with the person you are trying to question or take into custody. So, of course they are going to be close more often then not. And even though they were nine feet or ten feet apart, when you fear for your life, that distance seems awful minute....

mathewjgano
09-08-2010, 02:06 PM
The automatic shoot response combined with standing close enough to be seriously worried about a weapon seem like tactics that leave very little room for error on the part of the person contacted by the officer.

I agree. My very uninformed hunch is that this might be described as a systemic problem...insofaras the officer was unprepared to handle a man with a knife without intentional deadly force. I'm guessing for the moment that the officer was following protocol.
...After taking a pause to read up on the situation: an article (about a week old) I just read by the Seattle Times doesn't paint a great picture of the event. Based on it I have to say I'm inclined to think the officer probably made a serious mistake.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012769201_copshooting01m.html

Walter Martindale
09-09-2010, 12:39 AM
Yeah, he was (according to the news reports in Canada) a native Canadian who was hard of hearing, alcoholic, and a carver - a knife is "tools of the trade".. The Canadian first nations community isn't at all happy about this, but - most of us weren't there and don't really know what happened.