I'll let you judge this one.

I'll let you judge this one.

This is a discussion on I'll let you judge this one. within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This a case where rules #2 and #3 in particular were seemingly badly ignored. They say an H&K 45 - a USP I suppose. Well, ...

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Thread: I'll let you judge this one.

  1. #1
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    I'll let you judge this one.

    This a case where rules #2 and #3 in particular were seemingly badly ignored. They say an H&K 45 - a USP I suppose. Well, a longish DA pull sure is needy of positive input and not exactly hair trigger!.

    Plus in this case, a SWAT type approach seems way over the top to me. Accepting that reports do not always tell all - this is from what I have read, pretty disturbing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...012602136.html
    SWAT Tactics at Issue After Fairfax Shooting

    By Tom Jackman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, January 27, 2006; Page B01

    Salvatore J. Culosi Sr. still can't believe his son, a 37-year-old optometrist, was a suspected sports bookie. He can't believe a heavily armed SWAT team fatally shot his unarmed son, Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., outside his Fair Oaks home Tuesday night.

    And Culosi can't believe that the SWAT team's sudden descent on his son, apparently causing one officer to accidentally fire a .45-caliber handgun once into his son's chest, is standard procedure for Fairfax County police conducting a search.

    Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., a Fairfax County optometrist suspected of being a sports bookie, was accidentally shot by Fairfax County police, officials say.

    "We are outraged that current police protocol would ever allow something like this to happen," Culosi, 63, said last night. "The fact is that there was zero basis whatsoever for the officers involved to have any weapons drawn in this situation."

    Culosi added: "Sal was alone and unarmed. He was compliant with police instructions. He made no threatening movements or gestures. There was no risk of harm to anyone. Anyone, that is, except Sal."

    A Fairfax police detective had been making sports bets with Culosi for three months, court records show, and on Tuesday night police planned to arrest Culosi and search his townhouse on Cavalier Landing Court. But Fairfax Police Chief David M. Rohrer said a 17-year police veteran with long experience in the tactical unit accidentally fired his gun, killing Culosi.

    The officer was not named, and police could not say why his gun went off.

    Although police and firearms authorities were divided yesterday on whether SWAT teams are needed for most search warrants, as is Fairfax's practice, they agreed on another point: Officers carrying guns should not aim directly at anyone or have their fingers on the trigger until they are absolutely ready to fire.

    "In my opinion, there are no accidental discharges," said John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association. Gnagey was not familiar with the Fairfax case but said that in general, "Most of what we see in law enforcement are negligent discharges, fingers being on the trigger when they shouldn't be."

    Gnagey was in the camp that thought "SWAT teams shouldn't be doing all warrants." But once there, "the weapons are not pointed at anybody."

    Fairfax police declined to discuss their tactical unit policies. But police officials acknowledged that the tactical team, using bulletproof vests, high-powered weapons and other police tools, serves nearly all of the warrants after an investigation has found probable cause to seize evidence -- whether it is bloody clothes, weapons or documents.

    In Culosi's case, police were looking for records they suspected he kept after undercover Detective David J. Baucom spent three months placing bets with him on NFL games, according to Baucom's affidavit for the search warrant. A document filed yesterday by Baucom indicates that police entered Culosi's townhouse at 10:13 p.m. Tuesday, about 40 minutes after the fatal shooting.

    Police found betting slips, currency, "suspected cocaine" and an unspecified amount of "U.S. currency," according to Baucom's "Inventory of Seized Property." Sources close to the investigation said that police found $38,000 cash in Culosi's home and that the suspected cocaine was a small amount.

    Though most Fairfax officers are issued 9mm handguns, tactical unit officers sometimes are issued more powerful weapons. Police confirmed yesterday that Culosi, who graduated from Bishop O'Connell High School and the University of Virginia, was shot with a .45-caliber pistol made by Heckler & Koch, a larger weapon that authorities said would not have a trigger that could be easily tripped.

    "It's a very safe gun," said David Yates, a local firearms trainer and range safety officer. "Very high quality. Not a hair trigger. Very reliable. Very accurate."

    Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., a Fairfax County optometrist suspected of being a sports bookie, was accidentally shot by Fairfax County police, officials say.

    Yates said there were two possible reasons why Culosi was shot: "Ignorance and carelessness." And because police said the officer was highly trained, he couldn't have been ignorant of gun-safety procedures, Yates said.

    "We're looking at this with the benefit of hindsight," Yates said. "But it's not an accident."

    Stuart A. Meyers, head of OpTac International, which trains police and counterterrorism tactical squads worldwide, said threat assessments should be done before search warrants are served. But because SWAT officers are better trained and equipped, Meyers said, "SWAT teams should serve, in our opinion, almost all search warrants with the exception of document searches and low-level search warrants."

    Gnagey said tactical teams should be used only when police have reason to suspect danger. But some noted that sports bookmakers often deal in cash and might be expected to carry a gun to defend themselves against criminals, if not police.

    Meyers and others said SWAT officers should have their guns drawn and ready, "but your finger shouldn't be on the trigger unless you're preparing to shoot someone."

    Culosi's father said Fairfax police protocol of serving warrants with weapons drawn "should scare and frighten everyone. Such protocol needs to be immediately changed, or an accident like this will happen again."
    Chris - P95
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    If it was in double action.. no the trigger cant easily go off long kinda heavy pull... Now if it was SA with safety off opps bad move

  3. #3
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    Sounds like there is more to the story. As for being well trained, is this SWAT team a full time team? Do they train when not on call? Or are they road officers, who also are SWAT officers? A SA HK USP shouldn't have that much of a light pull either.

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    My USPc Trigger isn't exactly tough to pull, but it's something that you need to think about doing.

    Either way, reading the article (which definately leaves something out as far as I can tell) it sounds like it was a ND, but again, none of us were there.

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    Coulda been some freak accident, like the cop tripped or got bumped, blah, blah, blah.

    Coulda been anything, but as was mentioned, definitely missing information.
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    Sounds like the officer in question violated at least two of the basic rules for safe gun handling.

    To be above suspicion, they should have had another LE agency execute the search warrant on his townhouse, so no one could claim planting evidence to imply he was a criminal, to justify their method of arrest.

  7. #7
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    There are certain tangible risks to being a felon, like having armed officers executing search warrants at your home.

    While this appears to be a tragic ND, the decedent played a part in setting the chain in motion as well.....

    Matt

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array cmidkiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson
    There are certain tangible risks to being a felon, like having armed officers executing search warrants at your home.

    While this appears to be a tragic ND, the decedent played a part in setting the chain in motion as well.....

    Matt
    Unfortunatly, police sometimes pick the wrong house. Rare, but it happens.

    police could not say why his gun went off
    Hmmmm. Could it be perhaps that he pulled the trigger?
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    I bet he carried it cocked and supposily unlocked. The USP was built to be carried in either DA or SA mode but while in SA mode the only safety is the thumb safety.

    And (not to start anything) most SWAT types are really into the macho thing so a pistol being carried cocked looks cooler (more tactical?) then hammer down.

    The trigger pull in DA isn't that hard or long but it still takes more than a "bump" to make the trigger pull.

    Wayne

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne
    And (not to start anything) most SWAT types are really into the macho thing so a pistol being carried cocked looks cooler (more tactical?) then hammer down.
    Wayne
    Hmmm. Yeah, some GI Joes are out there, but, the reality is, SA is 1)faster, 2) more accurate, and 3)lighter(which brings about the other two). No mystery as to why it was SA, if it indeed was. The virtues of DA can be talked up all day, it won't change reality. "Cocked and locked", and Glock, are essentially the exclusive choices for SRTs for a reason.

    As far as "not covering people", I'm sorry, that's simply retarded. If the SRT is responding, the folks they are after are (should be ) considered high-risk, and should be under-gun, until they're loaded up. Maybe Fairfax needs to consider creating a Warrant Service branch, and reserving the Tac guys for "high-risk".

    Either way, the cop's career is over. (If he's cleared in this, stay the hell outta' Fairfax- they're too dangerous to be around!!)

  11. #11
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    Sounds like we're missing something
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array TonyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob72
    Hmmm. Yeah, some GI Joes are out there, but, the reality is, SA is 1)faster, 2) more accurate, and 3)lighter(which brings about the other two). No mystery as to why it was SA, if it indeed was. The virtues of DA can be talked up all day, it won't change reality. "Cocked and locked", and Glock, are essentially the exclusive choices for SRTs for a reason.

    As far as "not covering people", I'm sorry, that's simply retarded. If the SRT is responding, the folks they are after are (should be ) considered high-risk, and should be under-gun, until they're loaded up. Maybe Fairfax needs to consider creating a Warrant Service branch, and reserving the Tac guys for "high-risk".
    Either way, the cop's career is over. (If he's cleared in this, stay the hell outta' Fairfax- they're too dangerous to be around!!)
    There does seem to be information missing, this story just has one side of what happened. And the guy definitely brought the cops down on himself by committing crimes. But you have to wonder about them using the SWAT to do all search warrants. They should have used better judgement IMO. While it appears that this guy was a criminal he doesn't appear to have been violent.
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  13. #13
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    As previously stated, we don't have all the details. Contrary to many hard liners I believe there are such things as accidental discharges due to human error. Sometimes the error is due to negligence and other times the guy could be making every effort to do everything right and something still goes wrong. The human mind is not infallible, especially under life threatening situations.

    This was likely a tense situation to say the least. When cops/SWAT point guns at people under such circumstances, it's reasonable to expect some accidents or unintentional discharges. It may be a matter of bad judgement, bad tactics, or something else which would include negligence of some degree.

    It is normal in a NASCAR race for wrecks to occur. Yet these are the best of the best at driving and racing. But, when things get pushed to the limit, unexpected things happen suddenly, accidents can happen. And yeah, some are nothing but negligence, but others aren't.

  14. #14
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    Culosi added: "Sal was alone and unarmed. He was compliant with police instructions. He made no threatening movements or gestures. There was no risk of harm to anyone. Anyone, that is, except Sal."
    And he knows this how, exactly?
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD
    And he knows this how, exactly?
    Good question. If there was no risk to anyone, why did they have their guns drawn, and why was SWAT there in the first place?

    Good point OD!

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