After-action discourse - what to say to the cops

This is a discussion on After-action discourse - what to say to the cops within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; One of the things that is incessantly being discussed in the CCW/LEO community is the after-event-discourse. In other words, what do you say...or not, after ...

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Thread: After-action discourse - what to say to the cops

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    Member Array Gabe Suarez's Avatar
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    After-action discourse - what to say to the cops



    One of the things that is incessantly being discussed in the CCW/LEO community is the after-event-discourse. In other words, what do you say...or not, after you have whacked an attacker. As expected, the variety of advice is as different as people's choices in guns and ammo. A prevailing attitude is to simply shut up and say nothing under any circumstances. I disagree and here is why -

    I have been in more than a few of these and also investigated quite a few of these. I noted some trends and tried to use those trends to my benefits when it was my turn at the plate.

    First is the fact that the bad guys will not be "keeping quiet". They will be telling the cops you pulled your gun on them, perhaps create some appearance of racism if they can exploit it, and generally make it look like you are the over-reacting, racist, bad guy. What happened may not be obvious to the cops who come out to investigate...specially if the majority of witnesses are against you.

    So picture this scene. Two guys have been, checking you out, and followed you for some time, maybe yelling threatening stuff at you. While you did your best to avoid the issue, you were unsuccessful in getting away and they pressed the confrontation, attacking you with sufficient force to justify a gun solution.

    You shoot one of them, maybe wounding him - maybe killing him, and the other one runs off into the night. You saw the first man drop his pistol in a clump of ivy and the other man throw his knife on a rooftop as he ran away.

    You immediately call 911 and give a very cryptic account of what happened..."there has been a shooting...I'm the victim...send help".

    In the meantime, one of the assailants...the one who got away, is also calling. His story is a little different. According to him you called them "Dirty Ghetto Norwegians", and pulled your gun on them, shooting his buddy. As far as the police know...they got two calls. One a cryptic call, from someone who seemed to be concealing something, and another reporting what amounts to a racial hate crime by a right wing Nazi.

    They arrive on scene and after controlling the event, ask you what happened. What you do now will have a bearing on the rest of your life.

    The guys who advocate saying nothing will not be able to point to the two weapons which were discarded...and which will disappear as soon as the scene is cleared. The police may not even look for them since no one told them they were in existence. No one will tell them you are a good guy who was a victim of an attempted robbery, as the ONLY info paints you as some KKK wannabe.

    Sure...you'll have a lawyer...but all of the evidence the police may have collected will no longer be available, and the investigation will not have been an even and equal one, but rather one where you alone are the suspect.

    See the point?? I know a man who did just that...kept his mouth shut because of what a shooting instructor advised him to do and he spent several weeks in jail, had two criminal trials, and is now facing a civil suit from one of his attackers.

    Is it hard to control your mouth? Yes it is. But no harder than to control your trigger finger, your desire to drink to excess, or to control the vertical displacement of your zipper. On self control, it is a learned thing and must be practiced daily. Maybe self control is too hard for the modern, self-indulgent, metro-sexual male, but as the Nike commercial said....Just Do It.

    It, like many other things, can be trained and developed. If you ignore it, it will never be developed.

    Think in these terms...you train gun handling and shooting skills to make them reflexive in the most stressful event someone is ever likely to face....and we tend to do fine. The guys who never train...thinking they will "rise to the occasion" invariably fail. To say, "I will simply say nothing", is in that same line of thinking is it not?

    What I have done, with success, is this. I give a very limited statement, focusing on the actions of the bad guys, and them excuse myself from any further questions until my mouthpiece...I mean, attorney, arrives.
    Anything I say focuses on what the bad guy(s) have done and not on what I may have done. Something like this -

    "Officer. I am glad you are here. Thank God."

    "I am a good guy. I was minding my own business on my way home when those two guys attacked me."

    "The one in the blue shirt had a knife. He threw it up there on the roof as he ran away. There should be some blood on it from my arm when I blocked his attempt to stab me."

    "The guy on the gurney was armed with a pistol. He dropped it right there in that pile of ivy when he fell."

    "I was terrified. I am still terrified. Boy am I glad you guys are here. "

    "Listen...I am still a little shaken up. I want to cooperate with you guys. This has never happened to me (or this hasn't happened in a while). I have heard stories of good guys getting sued later for saying too much. My attorney is on his way and as soon as he arrives I will be happy to give a full statement with him there. Until then, I think I need to sit down and calm my blood pressure."

    At that point things are no longer in your control but you have set the investigation on the proper course, and the truth will be determined instead of being overlooked.

    Article Link On My Blog
    Last edited by rstickle; February 8th, 2011 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Language

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  3. #2
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    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Have you watched/listened to this Video yet? It's quite long but, it's directly related to your thread topic.


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    Both arguments are very compelling.

    As to what Gabe has indicated, saying just where their weapons were ditched may sway things into proper perspective enough that when the police figure out that you are an honest citizen, with NO Priors, and the two knuckledraggers have a wrap sheet as long as the Da vinci code, you may just walk.
    If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

    Washington didn't use his freedom of speech to defeat the British, He shot them!

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." -- Ernest Benn

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Handy memory aid. I have this printed on a piece of paper in my wallet. Authored by myself, with input from the writings of Mas Ayoob, Marty Hayes, et al.

    MACE SAW

    M - Medical attention - ask for it whether you think you need it or not
    A - Attacker - identify the attackers
    C - Criminal complaint - offer to sign one
    E - Evidence - point out any that may be overlooked

    S - Searches - do not consent to any
    A - Attorney - you wish to make no further statements without one
    W - Witnesses - Point out any to responding police
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
    www.armedcitizensnetwork.org - member
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    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    I agree with the video above. I am not anti cop, I support my local officers. But remember anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. It doesn't work you. You have nothing to gain by talking to them. Some good advice you should find a local attorney that supports the 2nd Amendment, cary his or her business card with you and put his number in your cell phone. Many recommend to actually have one on a retainer.
    When Seconds Count, The Cops Are Just Minutes Away!!
    Carry On!
    NCHornet

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    If you say nothing, you WILL go to jail. Once there, you are in "the system." I would prefer to avoid that if at all possible.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
    www.armedcitizensnetwork.org - member
    Glock 30, 19, 26; Ruger LCP (2), LCR, Mini 14; Remington 870; Marlin 336 .30-30
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  8. #7
    Member Array redstgunnut's Avatar
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    One will rarely regret having said too little. That said, the police need a story to put in the form, so whose story is it going to be?

  9. #8
    Member Array sentioch's Avatar
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    The speakers in this video say to never talk to the police under any circumstances. In their experience, talking to the police never helps. However, their experience seems to be limited to dealings with people who have already been arrested...

    If you have been arrested, then I buy the argument that it is probably not a good idea to continue talking to the police, and anything you said prior to being arrested may come back to haunt you.

    However, if you clam up immediately every time you encounter a police officer, it does make you look guilty/suspicious enough that they will probably start looking for an excuse to arrest you, and once youve been arrested, they will look even harder to find evidence to prosecute you. As the video says, these guys are experts...they are good at what they do...and you don't want these experts trying their hardest to find something to pin you down with!

    If you had been friendly with them from the start, and it appears you are innocent, then they have no reason to arrest you to begin with.

    Personally, I would hope to make a statement pretty much like what Gabe Suarez outlined. He comes off like a sincere victim of an attempted robbery, he directs them towards the evidence, and he invokes his rights relatively quickly. One thing that was stupid to say, however, was:

    "This has never happened to me (or this hasn't happened in a while)."

    This is unnecessary information, it invites scrutiny into your own history, and could be found to be a lie...which then means lying to a police officer.

    One last thing: if you are serious about preparing yourself for how to handle police after shooting someone in self defense, it would certainly behoove you to carry a small pen recorder to record your conversations with police. Because its your recording, you can pick and choose what pieces to use as evidence in court...and this could help you in the event that the cops memory is incorrect and it comes down to "his word vs yours."
    "In a world of compromise, some don't." -HK

  10. #9
    Member Array ispcapt's Avatar
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    Those who advocate never talking think all they have to do is remain silent and they'll be free to go. They have no idea how an investigation is handled. They think it's like they see on TV. They listen to ads from attorneys who are in the business to make money by representing people held on charges. They don't make their salaries by staying out of court.
    People don't understand they could very easily, and legally, be held in jail for several days until the investigation is completed. Even if later found the shooting was justified they will still have the stigma they were held in jail for a shooting. Which do you think their employers, neighbors, and friends will remember? That they were ultimately not charged or that they were held in jail for a shooting? For many, that could mean a loss of employment, exclusion from their previous social groups, their kids no longer being accepted in the community. It's definitely going to mean they're on the hook for some extensive legal bills. Attorneys won't be cheap. They could avoid it all by being up front from the beginning. Sorting out the details could take days or months. Those results could rest entirely upon statements. Physical evidence may not be conclusive so statements and witnesses will be what determines the outcome. Witness statements may or may not be accurate, could be intentionally slanted, could only report part of what occurred.
    Unfortunately I've seen the negative side of it too many times.
    183 FBINA

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    Quote Originally Posted by sentioch View Post
    One last thing: if you are serious about preparing yourself for how to handle police after shooting someone in self defense, it would certainly behoove you to carry a small pen recorder to record your conversations with police. Because its your recording, you can pick and choose what pieces to use as evidence in court...and this could help you in the event that the cops memory is incorrect and it comes down to "his word vs yours."
    This is not allowed in some states, the LEOs have the right to have you stop any recordings, and if don't without the LEO's knowledge, it may or may not be allowed into evidense.
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Good post. Thanks.

    I picked up the DVD "Mind Set, The Three Phases of the Gunfight" by Gabe Suarez on line a few weeks ago and feel it is an informative lecture for anyone who carries for personal defense including LEO's.
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

    "A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves".

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I worked police communications for fifteen years and was part of my department's Stress Management Division for a number of years also. In my opinion both Mr Suarez and the video clip raise valid points. As part of a typical stress reaction most people feel an urge to justify their actions. This is where you get into the potential "talking too much" situation that the video is trying to keep you out of.

    As a call taker I can tell you that what and how I wrote the call screen could have a definite effect on the rest of your life. The officers responding to the scene of your incident most likely have never met you and have no opinion of how credible you are. But they have an established relationship with their comms people. What the call taker enters in the call is going to help the units responding to your incident form an opinion of you. That opinion may determine the initial course of the investigation. The complete C.A.D. record of your event, and the recording of the phone and radio traffic related to it are all part of the case record. What you say to me and how you say it, and what you don't say and how you refuse to say it are going to be reviewed by the detectives assigned to the case, the prosecutor, and possibly a jury.

    Now this might be a shock to some folks, but as a call taker I really didn't care who if anyone got locked up. My first concern was with keeping my officers safe. If I felt you were being honest with me and answered my questions I would let the officers know that. My job was not to try to talk you into trouble. As long as I was satisfied that I got what I needed for officer safety I would not push you to make any kind of statement that would incriminate you. BUT if I felt you were being evasive or combative and trying to play games with me you can be sure the officers would know it and would start to wonder why. If they have conflicting statements (you and the guy you shot or his accomplice) or no statement at all, and inconclusive physical evidence which do you think would give you a better chance of having dinner at home with your family that night?

    The comments on your call could either read:
    Complainant states he/she was attacked by two subjs and fired in self defense. One subject down. Look out for second subj " X" race male ( height, weight, clothing) last seen on foot toward "Y".
    Complainant is a (race/gender) wearing (clothing desc) ** Comp says weapon now holstered on right hip** Comp states first subj was armed with handgun. Subj dropped weapon in ivy. Second subj was armed with knife. Knife thrown onto roof. Unknown any additional weapons/drugs/alcohol. Fire/Rescue will stage until scene secure. Complainant states they are very upset and do not wish to say anymore at this time.
    Or:
    9-1-1 caller claims two subjs attacked him and he shot one of them. Disconnect. No further info at this time. Calling back. On call back caller refusing to answer to answer call takers questions. **complainant armed with firearm/ unknown what type/ unknown if weapons secured** When asked if person he shot was still on scene and needed medical attention caller refused to answer. When asked how many times subj was shot caller refused to answer. Unknown if second subj still on scene/ No lookout. Unknown additiional weapons/drugs/alcohol. Disconnect. Calling back. Voice mail on call back, left msg. Calling back again. Fire/Rescue advised and not responding until we can confirm a victim on scene for them. Voice mail on call back. Units statused on scene. No further.

    Think "don't talk to the police" is always going to work in your favor?
    That bad guy that got away because you wouldn't talk to me may very well be known to the officers in the area. If they catch him and he is known to them, even if his statement conflicts with yours it may boost your credibility.

    A whole lot to think about.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Thank you for the post Gabe.
    and for the counterpoint OK.

    I think, that in the adrenaline dump that would occur in such a confrontation, we might be lucky to see te BGs ditch their weapons. That said, if I did see it, I would report it. I certainly would not go into a blow by blow account until my attorney got there...

    "They came after me, and then they ditched their weapons... I think over there, and over there."

    In no case am I saying anything about using my weapon, at least until I have a lawyer present.
    Politicians, take note of Colorado 9/10/2013.
    "You are elected to service, not power.
    Your job is to "serve us" not to lord power over us."
    Me, 9/11/13

  15. #14
    Member Array zip777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Handy memory aid. I have this printed on a piece of paper in my wallet. Authored by myself, with input from the writings of Mas Ayoob, Marty Hayes, et al.

    MACE SAW

    M - Medical attention - ask for it whether you think you need it or not
    A - Attacker - identify the attackers
    C - Criminal complaint - offer to sign one
    E - Evidence - point out any that may be overlooked

    S - Searches - do not consent to any
    A - Attorney - you wish to make no further statements without one
    W - Witnesses - Point out any to responding police
    Agree 100%. Say nothing else without a lawyer present.

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    Member Array jfnixon's Avatar
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    My state permits voice recording if one party consents. Other places, YMMV. In any case, I'm telling the officer that I'm recording, and if he says shut it off, at least I'll have on the record that I volunteered and complied with the request. Having said that, I don't really understand why the police would object to an additional recording (I presume they are making their own, and are unlikely to shut it off if I ask). Maybe there is a good reason, but I'm not going to argue about it at that time and place. If I can't record, I'm going to write my own notes as soon as possible. Also, if anyone knows, why should one not consent to a search?

    On a tangent, in my state a video recording requires the permission of all parties, so video recording is almost certainly out. On a tangent's tangent, some smartphones will let you stream audio/video off the phone as you record it, so even if your phone is confiscated, you will have the audio/video in your private account.

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