a little more detail
Todd Blair was a suspected drug dealer. I could not find any reason why he would be considered violent or dangerous. The intended target may have been his roommate. IMO A "No-Knock" warrant was completely out of line. This guy responded how any reasonable person would respond in that situation. It was his house and they did not give him anytime to realize this was a police raid. They just shot him. IMO they should have knocked, announced themselves and their intent, then if necessary, move in with force.
IMO rationalizing government behavior with "If you have nothing to hide, don't worry" is a red flag for a bad law or in this case procedure.
Originally Posted by dukalmighty
As far as destroying evidence goes or worrying about the suspect arming himself - you do a stake out, and wait for the guy to come out. You arrest him on the street, by surprise, and then you are free to enter the house and gather all the evidence your warrant entitles you to look for. The police tried this - but pulled over the wrong guy. Instead of waiting for the right guy to come out, they instead decided on the entry.
Originally Posted by sigmanluke
As far as the shoot itself - if the officer thought it was a sword, then fine, the shoot might be justified. But the fact remains that it was NOT a sword, and they never issued a command to drop the "weapon." They simply shot him on sight.
If you were involved in a self defense situation, would you want these officers responding to your scene? Think they might shoot you on sight, if you happened to be standing there, weapon in hand, covering the wounded suspect?
KNOW YOUR TARGET. While it is easy to criticize decisions made in the heat of battle, the fact remains that this guy never was given a chance to surrender or comply. His family will get lots of money, and hopefully the officers involved can learn something from this mess.
And by the way - drug dealing isn't a capital offense in this country. There is simply no need for these tactics in such a situation. None at all.
I believe that SWAT is the wrong tool for the job. Some departments use high risk warrant entry teams that are designed and specifically trained for high risk warrant service. Using a hammer rather than a wrench, on a bolt, often provides unsatisfactory results.
Commenting only on the facts as we can see them on the video:
The suspect did, indeed, advance on the officers. He came around the corner and was moving forward with a weapon (a shiny metallic weapon - it looked like a sword to me at first, too. But then, I'm not much of a golfer) upraised in an offensive stance (specifically as one might swing a sword). Officers did yell "freeze" and "search warrant, get on the gr..." before firing. At that point, the armed suspect looks to be about 5 feet from the nearest officer, give or take.
My opinion: How comfortable would you be with an armed man, with a raised sword (or something similar) advancing on you from that distance? A police officer has no less right to NOT get hit with a deadly weapon than anyone else - a fact many here seem to forget from time to time. I find it amusing (in a disgusted way) that so many are so quick to say "I'd shoot him for stealing my dirty socks," and then jump all over the police for shooting someone who is in the process of advancing on them with a raised weapon in their hands. If you don't feel that deadly force is ever justified because you have on a helmet and ballistic vest, perhaps you should go buy yourself a helmet and ballistic vest - this apparently makes you invulnerable, so you can sell your guns to me...
Whether or not the warrant was necessary, or the manner in which it was served meets the approval of the peanut gallery, is irrelevant to the shoot itself - they HAD the warrant, signed by a judge, and executed it in a legal manner. Once in the situation, I find it VERY difficult to believe that any of us would stand there and let a man take a swing at our heads with a golf club (or any other deadly weapon) and not use whatever force was necessary to stop the threat.
When they made entry he had something in his hands and was assuming an aggressive posture. I have a hard time faulting the cops on this one.
If you're dealing drugs then you accept the possibility of unwanted visitors in the form of rivalry or law enforcement. You also accept that you've opened the possibility of death or injury and I don't give a crap how remote you think that possibility may be. Mugging me isn't a capital offense, but the offender is a fool if he thinks he has no chance of dying during his attempt.
Somebody show me where it's written down that pot dealers are unable to become violent? Is there some dealer "code of conduct" that says they aren't allowed to shoot at cops? Cops get killed during extremely mundane and ordinary traffic stops where they can reasonably expect nothing worse than a nasty attitude. If you're serving a warrant at the home of a drug dealer, the chances of getting hurt or killed take a sharp upward turn.
I'm not a fan of no-knock warrants in general for the simple fact that mistakes get made and the wrong doors have been knocked down. Although an error like this may be highly unusual, it can still happen. But if you're going to screw around with illegal drugs then you can't complain when the worst result comes through the very door that you opened.
Glad to see there are those here (OPFOR and jumpwing) looking at this without having the preconceived notion that the cops shot someone without need.
As OPFOR pointed out, the suspect was advancing in an aggressive manner with a weapon. That is enough.
So many of you post about different shoots, and what it takes for you to feel justified.
THIS SHOOT IS JUSTIFIED by all those same qualifiers.
I don't know if it's possible on the you tube video or not, but when you watch it slowed down, the suspect IS advancing and continues to advance until shots are fired. How can you say the officer should not have ended this threat? Unbelievable.
Only one problem...in this nation, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you read the article, it's not clear if he was a dealer at all, or just a user.
Originally Posted by jumpwing
This whole operation was botched and rushed, with poor planning - by admission of the officers involved (again, read the article).
My point is not to bash officers - in case you missed it in my signature, I volunteer as an officer myself. But this type of high-risk operation, for what is a relatively minor crime, is just ridiculous. Not only does it put the suspects (and anyone else in the house) at risk, but also the officers. As Guantes said - wrong tool for the job.
And from the other side: in the middle of the night there's all kinds of noise coming from your front door area, you're still halfway asleep but know its not normal and grap the first thing you see/feel (golf club) and investigate w*t*f is happenning while trying to gather your wits. (Shoot, it takes me a minute or two just to enough to figure my way to the bathroom without killing myself if I get up in the middle of the night.) And it seems plausible that many of us would react in much the same way this guy did given the above-and we'd be just as dead as he is for our trouble.
FWIW, I'm a vocal police supporter and most certainly want them to go home to thier loved ones every night, and have little sympathy for bad guys and what happens to them. And yes, he seemed to advance a foot or so from the doorway, and the shoot was legal/good accordingly.
I've seen/read/heard of plenty of incidents where police handled (non-firearm) armed supects with considerably more patience, giving some kind of chance of a peaceable outcome (until they couldn't of course). Why not here too? To me, the answer seems to be that as there wasn't an attempt to order the guy to put down the golf club, the entry type, time of day, and condition of the officers (SWAT) seem to have precluded anything but this outcome given the circumstances.
The only thing I can think to apply to this situation is the "reasonable man" theory. How would a reasonable man react to his door being smashed in? I'm afraid that I too would have been shot and killed by the police as there was absolutely no time for a "reasonable man" to see, hear and understand that the people breaking in were police. The whole thing took place in less than ten seconds.
Is it a good shoot? Well I guess it's justifiable under the circumstances. I definitely wouldn't call it good.
I agree with Gaunts that there has got to be a better way.
He wasn't convicted and executed. He made aggressive advancement with a weapon and was dealt with.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
He's willingly involved with an illegal substance and, therefore, should accept the possibility of SHTF in a manner that may not be to his liking. This doesn't mean "all's fair," this means he opened the way for it. If a couple of gang members busted in and shot him up, people would simply shake their heads and say "well, if you're gonna play with fire..." This is no different in my opinion. He chose to play with fire and created circumstances where this became a possibility. Unfortunately for him, the possibility turned into a reality.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
I don't know anything about the details of the mission.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
I did miss your signature, but I made no accusation of you cop-bashing and wasn't attempting to single you out.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
It does seem like a heavy-handed approach to serving a warrant on someone they believed to be a small-time toker. As I said, I'm not a fan of no-knock warrants.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
Are we watching the same video?
1. Once he came out of the bedroom (and presumably saw the POLICE) he froze in place.
2. The calls of "Police" and "Warrant" were not clear at all to me, being made by 4 or 5 LEOs talking over each other.
3. The only time I heard anyone order him down, he was already mortally wounded and on the floor.
4. When you see someone with a long shiny object in their hand, why would your first guess be SWORD? Do they have a sword problem in Utah? This goes back to new Doctors being told to look for horses, not zebras, when they hear hoofbeats. Translation: Seek the more common solution first.
5. They sure didn't seem to be in any hurry to clear the house.
Yes he was in fact stopped in a "batting" stance at the end of the hallway.
There was an entire living room between the homeowner and the point of entry. Anybody ever seen a 5 to 6 foot living room. NO. There was more than likely 12 to 20 feet between the man standing still and the shooters.
If one watches the video, there is a recliner and a tv on a stand between the closest man. The first shooter is also behind the TV on the left side of the video when he takes his shot.
I am not a LEO so this may be a dumb question. Is it usual procedure to have this kind of 'no-knock' entry videoed? Just wondering.
Subject was given no verbal order until he was down after beig hit by bullets and lying motionless on floor. Order then given to "get on the ground" repeatedly.
I have read of several home invasions that began by criminal 'breachers' yelling "police". I would have to honestly say that if these 8 officers had mistakenly come to my address and did exactly what they did on that video I would have been shot (and probably killed) by them too. The big difference would be that my practiced response includes using a 12 Ga. semi-automatic with 10 rounds of 00 buck in the tube; so unfortunately some of them may be needlessly injured/killed also.
I'm in no position to judge whether they were 'right' or 'wrong' but I'm really hoping there's a better way to "serve" such a warrant.
You can second guess whether the police should have shot all you want to. I know what I would have done. It would have included going home alive.