View Full Version : Control and Restraint

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Rupert Atkinson
10-19-2005, 12:56 AM
Everyone here must have seen that video of several policemen in New Orleans beating the blood out of a 64 year old guy.

Irrespective of the good or the bad of it, people should be asking how is it that several cops could not peacefully restrain a 64 year old guy who did not fight back - he was not exactly compliant, but he did not fight back. Lacking the skill to control and restrain, they resorted to beating.

I am not interested in the whys and wherefores of that particular incident, rather, what the skills of restraint are. What should people actually do to 'control and restrain' someone without hurting them too much. And at what point does it gravitate to 'striking'?

Camille Lore
10-19-2005, 08:12 AM
Interesting question... since I am in local government and have some input into the operation of a small police department... I've been asked for the funds to buy a taser recently, and my first strategy was to see if our officers could get half price memberships to our dojo in order to learn effective, safe hand to hand techniques. I know they are taught in the police academy, but as we see practicing aikido, it takes repetitive training to be comfortable with this. I am confident that my sensei (who does instruct the state police in these areas) could effectively restrain a person.... and I think that if he taught officers and they had the opportunity to practice regularly (along with a sense of the aikido philosophy), that they would be much less likely to be in a situation where someone could accuse them of using excessive force.
Just my thoughts....

10-19-2005, 08:26 AM
I doubt the constrain is a better method than beating to submission. A few bruises and damaged internal organ doesn't usually win a law suit, while a broken wrist or arm surely does.

A $500 taser is surely more effective and cheaper than Aikido membership and years of training.

Ron Tisdale
10-19-2005, 08:53 AM
he was not exactly compliant, but he did not fight back

My question is, how exactly do you comply with being hit from behind???


10-19-2005, 10:16 AM
i never saw the video but i'd like to see it

10-19-2005, 03:45 PM
A taser on an old man?

10-19-2005, 06:36 PM
I haven't seen the video in question.

To speak generally though, about cases where police officers use excessive force in subduing someone. (Or in some infamous cases, in beating the snot out of someone for no obvious reason):
The officers in question seem to be acting out of fear and anger, maybe even out of hatred.

The officers' skill at controlling another person is not the real issue, imho, its their ability to control themselves that is lacking.


Rupert Atkinson
10-19-2005, 09:17 PM
The officers' skill at controlling another person is not the real issue, imho, its their ability to control themselves that is lacking.

Maybe so, sometimes, but in the video (might be on CNN's site somehwere) it seems that their frustration at not being able to control him - despite minimal resistance - leads to an ever increasing use of violence that results in one hell of a smashed up guy. If they could have controlled him at the outset, the viloence would not have been necessary. They escalated it too quickly. They lacked any skill at all, physical or self-control.

And if they do have training and a measure of skill, then they should be charged with battery because they should have used it properly.

John Lilly
10-19-2005, 10:01 PM
Rupert, It depends on the jurisdiction. In the United States each state (usually) runs it's own training commission and academy and there are differences between departments. So what may be the practice in New Orleans might not be somewhere else. I work as an officer in a county jail in Washington State. In my agency blows and strikes are not used unless an incident has escalated to what is called Level 3 Defensive Tactics. For ex sample this could be where the suspect (in my case inmate) is attacking the officer(s) seriously enough to possibly cause injury. I can only recall a few such incidents in 17 years as an officer.
Interestingly in my department the use of Pepper spray is authorized before the use of Level 2 Defensive Tactics which consist of aikido based counter joint techniques among other things. Level 2 would be an actively resisting inmate. And yes Mark we have pepper sprayed old men upon occasion when it was warranted. Although criminal behavior drops significantly after about age 50 it does not stop completely in some people.
And Roosevelt's comment is sadly correct. It is a lot cheaper to buy a taser then invest in years of training for officers in aikido or something similar. It has been my experience when money get tight the training budget goes first.
Camille: Your idea is a nice gesture but I would be surprised if many officers took advantage of it. My previous instructor offered a"free" aikido class for staff at a local prison. We never had more than 3 or 4 students and most of them where administrative types not line staff. Most Law Enforcement Officers will train only when they are paid to.
Sean's comments pretty much sum up the New Orleans incident itself. I recalled in my Corrections Ethic Instructors class that New Orleans had the reputation as the most corrupt Police Department in the country at one time. They have worked very hard to change that. It is sad that this incident should reflect so badly on an entire department that is sincerely trying to better itself.

Ron Tisdale
10-20-2005, 08:55 AM
If they could have controlled him at the outset, the viloence would not have been necessary. They escalated it too quickly.

Yeah, I'd say bashing someone from behind in the head is escalating it too quickly. They could have calmly discussed the situation with a 60 something retired teacher. Instead, they acted like he was a thug, and I hope they do jail time for it.


10-20-2005, 10:44 AM
In answer to Rupert’s first questions:

The skills of restraint revolve around one central premise: That one’s tactical architectures do not in any way makes use of and/or rely upon compliance.

One may think that is obvious but one would be surprised, even a martial artist looking at his/her tactical architectures, just how much compliance is assumed when it comes to controlling another person that does not want to be controlled.

In our arrest and control system, simply put, we look at the body as a kind of machine, one that presents certain kinds of geometry issues. Since we seek to not be dependent upon compliance, the will of the suspect is not of primary concern – though the care of the suspect is always at hand. These geometry issues are understood in terms of what the body can and cannot do tactically in terms of resisting arrest and/or attacking the law enforcement agent in question.

As a result, our tactical architectures come on top of the current arrest and control tactics (i.e. those that came out of LAPD and were developed by Mr. Greg Dossey) and are geared toward someone that is resisting arrest (not your normal arrest procedure). We opt to use the ground to assist with the control of the suspect – seeking to have the person lying in the prone position (face down). In order to keep this position, we also seek to keep control of the both arms and the hips (which are controlled through the arms) while we are tactically aware of how to maintain our own top/controlling position. As more agents are available, these rules remain the same – just each officer will address one of the control points the single officer was having to control all on his/her own.

When you see someone punching someone else in the back of the head, you are seeing a poor attempt at seeking compliance. It is poor because it does not work. It does not work because striking the back of the head cannot control the body. Such a tactic can only control the mind – the compliance – BUT this is a huge maybe (as we can see on the video). Moreover, such a tactic, in my opinion, is immoral because it is not necessary – because it is born out of ignorance. It’s a crazy thing, but folks do it all the time, to seek compliance out of someone that does not want to comply – very oxymoronic.


10-20-2005, 11:14 AM
Just wanted to insert a point about Tasers... They don't always work. If both electrodes don't get a good hold, there can be trouble. Just last week here in Orlando, a police officer Tased a guy, who promptly got up and shot the officer three times. He may never walk again. There are other mechanical failures which can occur, as well, and targets under the influence of certain drugs are often only momentarily disabled by even a perfect shot.

My point is that a police officer cannot rely on his Taser exclusively. But I do NOT agree with beating an elderly suspect senseless. The cops in that video looked like they were trying to tenderize a steak... The comments made to the TV producer at the scene clearly showed that at least one cop was way out on the ragged edge, and not in the proper mindset for this skirmish. Respects to him for staying on the job in the face of such a human crisis as was occurring in N.O., but if the video is any indication (and they usually are), they went over the line here.

10-20-2005, 12:43 PM
Another thing with Tasers:

Eventually you got to put your hands on the person to make the arrest. Today, perhaps, most folks comply once you use the taser but once it gets more and more used throughout the culture, I would say, there's a chance that folks that want to NOT comply will simply not comply (like what one can see with pepper spray today) even after tazed. This, on top of everything already facing the use of tasers (e.g. the danger of over-use, not all situations justify taser use, not all situations allow for taser use, etc.) means that one should still be skilled in non-compliant-dependent tactics.

In my opinion,

10-20-2005, 05:16 PM
The police around here have a phrase that goes something like: "Wind em up, smack em up, lock em up" and that's exactly what they do.

Lorien Lowe
10-20-2005, 07:12 PM
Most of the local patrol officers around here carry tasers; my impression is that they use them much more frequently than they use force that they *know* is going to be lethal. There's some complaint from the population that is being tased, but they don't get a lot of sympathy. afaik, there has been no serious complication either for arrester or arrestee due to tasers yet, but they've only been in use for a short while.

10-20-2005, 07:55 PM
Actually, there have been several deaths associated with taser-use - though nothing conclusive has really been concluded (i.e. the taser ALONE caused this death). One can read about such things here:


Either way, one should want something to tactically exist between a compliant arrest, and punching somone in the back of the head and/or using a taser on a suspect. With such options, one's escalation rate is greatly decreased - just like in these forums when a person has some emotional and/or verbal skills, they aren't so prone to fly off the handle as if their village is being burned by the person that says something to the contrary. It's options and maturity that make a person a professional. Anything short of that has a person floating somewhere between lucky and that one case where one's lack of professionalism is exposed for what it is (i.e. not knowing what to do and thus having a capacity to over-react). It's really the same for all of us, no matter what field we are in, and no matter what situation we may be in. Isn't it?

Camille Lore
10-20-2005, 07:58 PM
google "Taser case studies". You'll see deadly complications. Something to worry about.
I guess my mind lives in an ideal world where people go to the dojo and are influenced by the respect and compassion used there... :D

Rupert Atkinson
10-20-2005, 08:10 PM
Sooner or later, I guess we are going to see defence against taser techniques appearing :) For starters, I wonder, what kind of clothing is more resistant? Kevlar? Other?

10-20-2005, 09:20 PM
An all rubber suit to ground yourself seems a bit much unless of course you're into that sort of thing. :)

Common sense, good situational awareness, and the realization that some cops are are in the wrong profession seems best.

Lorien Lowe
10-23-2005, 01:30 AM
I stand corrected: I checked in with a hospital coworker married to a local officer; she said that there have actually been two deaths in this county directly caused by tasers, both of which were related to meth abuse by the victims.

However, if I were faced with a freaked-out officer with a baton, a gun, and a taser, I'd personally hope he reaches for the taser. Which is not to say that it's ok for officers to be freaked out and out of control.

I felt safer in Portland, OR, a large city, than I do here in Arcata, a town of ~20K. There is a very large, very strong drug use subculture here, and it has a very negative impact on the town.
I just wrote and then erased a paragraph worth of specific examples; sufice it to say that I believe, based on my own observations, that this area's *local* police force isn't using excessive force. When my co-worker says that the taser victims were violent and could not have been safely restrained, I believe her because I have personally seen violent, out-of-control people tripped out on meth several times in the few years that I've lived here.

Which is not to say that whacking an old guy in the back of the head, or tasing as a routine form of arrest, is ok for an officer to do; that wasn't what I meant to imply.