Dealing With Crime -  Avoid getting shot by a Police Officer (3696 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/26/09 8:51 PM 
To: All  (1 of 55) 

Since this discussion is getting long, also see:  Avoid getting shot by a Police Officer 2




How to Avoid Getting Shot by a Police Officer

Whether or not you have done something wrong, there is no reason to be shot by a police officer — that is, unless you give them one. Here are some ways to avoid personal harm in situations with a police officer that has their gun drawn. A lot of this advice may seem like common sense, but when there's a gun pointing at you, it's easy to panic and accidentally do something threatening.


1. Never flee from police. If the police approach you and speak to you, do not run or even walk away. Regardless of your rights, doing this arouses suspicion and greatly increases the chance of a fatal misunderstanding. If you are innocent, you have nothing to lose by cooperating. Even if you are guilty of a crime, fleeing will always make things worse.

2. Avoid any sudden movements. No matter what you're doing, stop in that position and try not to move. At this point, any movement you make that is unexpected is one step closer to getting shot…especially any movements you make with your hands.

3. Keep your hands visible. Do not make any sudden movements with your hands. Keep them plainly visible.

  • If the officer makes a request that requires you to move your hands, such as asking to see identification, verbally confirm that you are complying with his or her request before making any movements.
  • For example, you could tell the officer “I am going to reach into my left back pocket to get my wallet so I can show you my ID.” Do not make any movements unless you have to in order to comply with a police request.

4. Do what you're told, and do it slowly. The officer will tell you exactly what he or she wants you to do. That typically includes putting your hands on the back of your head, walking backwards toward the sound of their voice, or lying down on the ground. Obey their orders, but do it at a slow enough pace that you don't alarm them.

5. Do not talk. At this point you've either already broken the law and don't need to make it worse on yourself, or you are the victim of a misunderstanding and need to cooperate to prevent an unfortunate accident. Chances are good that if the officer has drawn their weapon, you will almost certainly be arrested, and there is not much you can say to stop that from happening. There will be plenty of time to talk once you are in cuffs and no longer considered a threat.

  • An exception to this may be if the officer tells you to do something that involves moving, it's good to tell him what you are doing, even if it seems redundant. It will keep them feeling safe so they don't shoot you. For example:
    • Officer: "Let me see your I.D." You: "It's in my glovebox/backseat/sock/etc. I'm going to reach down/over and get it for you, OK?" Then move slowly.
    • Officer: "Lay down on the ground!" You: "I'm going to lay down on the ground, but I have a bad hip/back/knee, so I need to hold on to this pole/fence/wall to get on the ground."
  • It is almost always in your best interest to remain silent. In most countries you do not have to answer any questions unless you have a lawyer present, although beware - if you are not sure of your rights (being in a foreign country can affect this, or being in a country with a shaky human rights record) then it is best to answer questions politely and give only the bare details away. If you do not speak the local language fluently, however, do not attempt to defend yourself verbally; you may accidentally say something that, when translated, incriminates you in some way.

6. Let yourself be handcuffed. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but retaliation or struggling is only going to result in serious injury. In many places, it is police protocol to place handcuffs on even the most cooperative of suspects.

  • Edited September 6, 2020 6:35 am  by  EdGlaze
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From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/26/09 8:51 PM 
To: All  (2 of 55) 
 171.2 in reply to 171.1 


  • Don't brandish a weapon. If you have got a gun or knife in your pocket or waistband, leave it alone. Don't draw it, even to surrender it. The officer would much rather find it on his or her own than have you whip it out and wave it around. If you would prefer to surrender the weapon, clearly speak words to the effect of "I would like to turn over my weapon" and the officer will tell you what to do next.


  • Should the circumstances force you to engage in combat with an armed suspect, disengage and retreat the moment the police arrive, or as soon after their arrival as you can. If at all possible, avoid attempting to render first aid until the fight is over. Also, don't touch any evidence that may have been left behind.


  • If you are involved in an altercation when the police arrive, try to disengage from the other party immediately. Don't touch or remove anything that might be deemed evidence.


  • Always cooperate, no matter how stupid or unfair the situation may seem. Do whatever the officer tells you.


  • Autism researchers have put together a film called Be Safe that teaches people with developmental disabilities how to safely interact with police.


  • If you are being followed by a police car — marked or unmarked — at night, while you are alone, put on your emergency lights briefly (this will signal to them that you are aware of them, and are not fleeing). Drive slowly, obey all traffic laws, and pull over in a well-lit and well-populated area. You have a right to stop only when you feel safe. Make sure though that you drive slowly, so the cop knows you are cooperating and not trying to escape.


  • If you have a gun on your person, even if it is legal under a concealed carry license, you may be required to notify the police officer. Do not reach for a gun or any weapon on your body. If you have a concealed carry permit, calmly tell the officer that you have a permit. Use the following phrase: “I want to let you know that I have a concealed carry permit in this state and currently have one on my person.” Try to avoid using the word “gun” so as to avoid scaring the officer. Ask the officer how you should proceed.


  • Fake weapons or air-guns can be mistaken for the real thing. If contacted by the police while you possess such an object, follow the advice above as if it were a real weapon; a police officer will certainly consider it to be real until proved otherwise.


  • Do not attempt to fight off a police officer. Assaulting him/her will most certainly get you placed in jail.


  • Do not attempt to take the officer's gun or badge away. This is considered theft of police equipment and could get you arrested or even killed.


  • Do not run from a police officer; doing so is considered resisting arrest and may cause the officer to fire at you. (It is illegal in the United States for a police officer to use fatal force against a fleeing suspect unless the officer believes the suspect is armed and poses an immediate threat to the officer or the community).


  • Never try to resist arrest or flee when being questioned/detained by an officer. Depending on the officer, resisting arrest may be met with physical force (i.e.,being tackled), or by whatever tools the officer has at their disposal (this could be anything from pepper spray, a baton, a taser — or worst of all, their gun). Keep in mind that your family and friends would prefer to see you standing in court than lying in a coffin.


  • Never shine a laser pointer toward officers. This can very easily be mistaken for a laser sight, a modification commonly affixed to firearms to enhance a weapon's accuracy.


  • Edited June 21, 2020 12:21 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host3/29/11 5:42 PM 
To: All  (3 of 55) 
 171.3 in reply to 171.2 
"I Have A Gun!" — Things Not To Say To A Cop
by Richard Johnson
22 March 2011

Prior to riding a desk and writing about guns, I was a cop. I worked for more than a decade in uniform patrol as a beat cop, supervisor and trainer. In that time, I saw and heard just about anything you can imagine.

One of the nicest groups of citizens I got to meet were armed citizens. Generally, people that carry guns are polite and friendly. Sometimes, however, a few of these friendly folks were a bit too eager to share their state of being armed with me.

“I have a gun!”

Traffic stops are one of the more dangerous things a police officer can engage in. Never mind the passing motorists whipping by at high speed while you stand there with nothing more than a pair of polyester pants to protect your butt from their bumper. Sometimes there are bad guys in the car you just pulled over.

Unfortunately, a lot of law enforcement officers have been killed or injured during a seemingly “routine” traffic stop. So cops are a little wary when approaching a citizen’s car.

Imagine my surprise when I once walked up to a driver, he turned to face me and announced, “I have a gun!” Fortunately for all parties, his hands were still on the steering wheel and it wasn’t my first day on the job. Of course, causing my late-30-something heartbeat to roughly triple in rate probably pushed me closer to a heart attack than I care think about.

The driver was a mix of excited to talk about the fact he just bought his first pistol 15 minutes prior and his desire to let me know there was a gun in the car. Blurting “I have a gun!” could have gotten him a distinctly poor response to his intended message, though.

Tip: If you have a firearm in your car and you get stopped by a police officer, think about what you will say before you say it. Probably my best encounter with an armed citizen started with him keeping his hands on the steering wheel and saying “Hi officer. I have a concealed carry permit and my gun with me. What would you like me to do?”

“Let me show you this!”

I know from where you are currently sitting this will sound really odd, but there are some otherwise rational people who are so proud of their handgun they want to pull it out to show a police officer. Strangely, most cops don’t really respond well to walking up to someone who suddenly pulls out a pistol.

Case in point: another veteran officer and I are at an elderly gentleman’s home talking with him about a minor criminal complaint. He’s riled up over people stealing his garden gnomes but seems friendly enough to us. 

We’re standing in his living room listening to him rant, when suddenly he loudly stated, “Let me show you this,” and pulls a pistol from his pants pocket.

Again, thankfully, my heart was up to the task and I did not require any hospitalization. He meant us no harm. He just wanted to show us that he could take care of himself.

Tip: If you’ve invited the local constabulary to your home, and during the course of the conversation you decide you would like to show them one of your guns try “Officer, I’ve got this really neat pistol that my grandfather passed down to me.  Would you like to see it?” Only if the cop wants to see it should you then whip it out.

What should you do?

Different states have different requirements on citizens carrying concealed firearms. Some states require the citizen to tell a police officer they are armed if they are stopped. Some states do not. If your laws require it, definitely tell the officer.

Generally, I preferred for a citizen to tell me he or she is armed. It helps prevent any misunderstandings should I spot a gun tucked in a waistband later on.

However, use a little common sense. If you are stopped for a traffic infraction and there is a pistol in your trunk, there is no need to bring it up (unless required by your state’s laws). Likewise, if you are standing on the front porch talking to a deputy about a suspicious person complaint you called in, why bring up you have a shotgun in the living room?

If you do tell an officer that you are armed, take a deep breath, and do so in a calm manner. Excited people tend not to say things very clearly. If an officer approaches you, and you are excited, blurting out something about having a gun, could create a dangerous misunderstanding.

Calmly tell the officer something like “Hi, I’ve got my concealed weapon permit and handgun with me. It’s in a holster at my waist.” By leading your statement with the fact you have a concealed carry permit, you indicate to the officer you’re one of the “good guys.” 

Also, don’t make any movements toward the weapon, or your waistband. You may be reaching for your wallet, but to a cop who doesn’t know you, it may appear you are trying to draw a firearm. 

Keep in mind that cops are people from your own town and neighborhood. Most cops are very pro-Second Amendment. But, if your community has an anti-gun stance, the officer is likely to reflect that, as he or she is just a human being from that population.

All cops have a keen desire to not get shot.  So think before you speak. Please, don’t blurt out “I’ve got a gun!” if you are pulled over. 


  • Edited January 20, 2018 12:29 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/7/12 10:50 PM 
To: All  (4 of 55) 
 171.4 in reply to 171.3 
  • Edited September 9, 2016 3:39 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host7/20/13 2:41 PM 
To: All  (5 of 55) 
 171.5 in reply to 171.4 

The 10 Rules for Dealing with Police

[and related forum discussions]

1:  Always Be Calm & Cool.
A bad attitude guarantees a bad outcome.
De-escalation — avoiding violence

2.  Remain Silent.
What you don't say can't hurt you.
Out of court statements

3.  You have the right to refuse searches.
Saying "No" to searches cannot be held against you.
How to deal with a stop and frisk

4.  Don't get tricked.
Remember, police are allowed to lie to you.
Police legally lie — or do they?

5.  Determine if you are free to go.
Police need evidence to detain you.
Being arrested

6.  Don't expose yourself.
Doing dumb stuff in public makes you an easy target.
HUMOR — What not to say to a cop 

7.  Don't run.
They will catch you and make you regret it.
10 deadly errors

8.  Never touch a cop.
Aggressive actions will only earn you a more aggressive response.
Growing militarization of U.S. police

9.  Report misconduct.
Be a good witness.
Recording the police
Fight crime with a cell phone 

10.  You don't have to let them in.
Police need a warrant to enter your home.
Warrantless searches


  • Edited June 11, 2016 11:49 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host8/5/13 7:28 PM 
To: All  (6 of 55) 
 171.6 in reply to 171.5 

Content changed.


How to NOT get shot by the police, when you're of ANY ethnic origin.

Man’s Facebook post about traffic stop goes viral


TUCSON, Ariz. — A man’s Facebook post about a recent traffic stop is going viral.

Steven Hildreth Jr. says he was pulled over by the Tucson Police Department for a broken headlight. When the officer asked if he had any weapons, he told him he is a concealed carry permit holder and had a gun on his right hip.

Because his wallet was in his back-right pocket, the officer needed to disarm him to check his ID. Hildreth wrote about his experience with the officer and posted it to his Facebook page.

Hildreth’s Facebook post has been shared more than 135,000 times.

So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.

The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.

“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”

The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.

Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.

Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”

I smile. “Thank you, sir.”

I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.

Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.

I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.

#BlueLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

[EDIT: In my rush to post, I accidentally omitted that my wallet was in the back-right pocket, near my firearm. This was the primary motivation for temporary disarmament. The post has been modified to reflect that.

Again, I'd like to thank the TPD and their officers for their consistent professionalism, courtesy, and the good work that they do, both in this particular contact and every day.]

  • Edited May 11, 2016 12:40 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host6/26/14 4:10 AM 
To: All  (7 of 55) 
 171.7 in reply to 171.6 

Armed Citizens Make Fewer Mistakes Than Police

Don't think that just because the police are trained in the use of firearms that they are less likely to kill an innocent person. A University of Chicago Study revealed that in 1993 approximately 700,000 police killed 330 innocent individuals, while approximately 250,000,000 private citizens only killed 30 innocent people. Do the math. That's a per capita rate for the police, of almost 4000 times higher than the population in general. OK, that is a little misleading. Let's just include the 80,000,000 gun owning citizens. Now the police are down to only a 1200 times higher accidental shooting rate than the gun-owning population in general.

That still sounds high. So let's look at it in a different light. According to a study by Newsweek magazine, only 2% of civilian shootings involve an innocent person being shot (not killed). The error rate for police is 11%. What this means is that you are more than 5 times more likely to be accidentally shot by a policeman than by an armed citizen. But, when you consider that citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as do police every year, it means that, per capita, you are more than 11 times more likely to be accidentally shot by a policeman than by an armed citizen. That is as low as I can get that number.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host8/7/14 3:33 PM 
To: All  (8 of 55) 
 171.8 in reply to 171.7 

photo Canipe_zpse497551f.png

Shoot/Don’t Shoot: A Matter of Honor

Bearing Arms Editor Bob Owens’ article on the shooting of 70 year old Bobby Canipe by York County Deputy Terrance Knox asks if the shooting is “A Law Enforcement Training Failure?” It is that and more.

Owens wrote:

This heart-wrenching video strongly suggests that we’re failing law enforcement officers with our “modern” training standards.

In this dash-camera footage, a York County, SC Sheriff’s deputy pulls over a truck for expired tags. The elderly driver gets out of the cab and reaches something in the bed of the vehicle. The deputy yells several times in warning and then opens fire, spraying the truck (and the surrounding countryside) with six shots, hitting the man once in the stomach.

The senior citizen wilts under fire, slumping against the side of the truck as the deputy yells at him to drop the “gun.” Just a few second later the deputy realizes that the “gun” is a cane, and rushes to help the wounded man.

The local ABC News station describes the situation:

York County Deputy Terrance Knox is on administrative leave as state agents investigate the shooting last month of Bobby Canipe of North Carolina. In the video, Canipe quickly pulls over on the four-lane highway near Clover outside Charlotte after Knox puts on his blue lights and siren. Canipe’s tag had expired about six weeks earlier.

Canipe gets out of the pickup and turns toward the bed without acknowledging Knox as the deputy yells “Sir!” three times. Canipe reaches in the back and pulls out a slender object with the tip pointed at the officer. Knox yells “Whoa!” several times as he fires a half-dozen shots.

“It’s a walking stick,” Canipe said as the shots ended.

Knox shouted an expletive as he immediately ran to check on Canipe, who was hit once and expected to recover. The whole sequence takes about 15 seconds.

Knox begins to sob when another officer arrives a few minutes later and puts his arm around him.

“I promise to God I thought it was a shotgun,” Knox said in tears.

Before showing the video, York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant urged reporters to put themselves in the moment and see how Canipe doesn’t respond to the officer and pulls out the object in the dark. He said officers in South Carolina are allowed to use deadly force if they think their lives are in imminent danger.

Virtually every competent police officer has nightmares about being involved in a bad shoot. This is a textbook case.

Mr. Owens’ focuses his article on training (excerpt below), which is indeed a worthy and correct focus, however, there are other issues that have as much, and probably greater impact on these situations.

Modern law enforcement training is based largely on officer survivability. It’s about threat recognition, reaction times, and training techniques to increase the efficiency of officers responding to a world in where threats can come seemingly from anywhere and anyone.

Where this training is failing — and in my mind, is failing miserably — is that while it is succeeding in helping officers cut down their reaction times to legitimate threats, helping them get “off the x” and into action, they are utterly failing to account for those interaction where the threats are not real.

They’ve adopted (and are still adopting) training advancements based on human factors research to make officers faster, but are failing to account for the fact that non-threats will not be able to react to commands due to cognitive processing issues.

In other words, they’re getting officers ready to fight faster, without accounting for the fact that people who have no ill intentions are going to be befuddled and confused, and unable to react in what appears to be a timely manner to the officers, who are operating at a higher operational tempo thanks to their training.

The problem — and it seems to be a national problem affecting all levels of law enforcement — is that the training Knox and other law enforcement officers are receiving these days is geared towards surviving contact with hardened criminals, and doesn’t adequately account for the cognitive dissonance and processing time of people who are truly confused about what is going on at that moment. Most people encounter such cognitive processing problems will effectively freeze, or continue doing what they were starting to do as their brains process the officer’s commands and they then decide how to respond.

We end up in a situation where officers are trained to get off shots in over just a second if people don’t respond to commands, while people may take up to five seconds (or even more) to process the officer’s shouted commands.

Mr. Canipe’s shooting is a perfect example of this.

It seems to be a Catch-22: we need officers to think and react faster, but also need to train them to also slow down so that the subjects of their contacts can respond in a reasonable amount of time.


  • Edited August 14, 2016 5:41 pm  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host8/7/14 3:33 PM 
To: All  (9 of 55) 
 171.9 in reply to 171.8 

Let’s review the law as it applies to deadly force.

Deadly force may be used when a reasonable person believes that there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. It sounds relatively simple, but each incident must be judged on its own merits. Keep in mind that the police might be accorded a bit more latitude than the average citizen — might be. The courts will commonly judge police shootings by the “reasonable police officer” standard because they will assume that police officers have enhanced training and experience. This should tend to impose a higher standard on police officers, but all too often, it’s just the opposite.

It’s not possible to assume a given officer has a specific standard of training. Police agencies do their best to provide competent tactical and shooting training, but most fall short of the kind of training any citizen can get at schools like Gunsite and many others. Notice that I speak of firearm and tactical training. Any use of a firearm must be accompanied by competent tactics, tactics that seem to be missing in this case, but more about that shortly.

Most police officers, as I’ve often written, are not gun guys and girls. Most are no longer veterans, and even most veterans, unless they were military police officers, receive little or no handgun training. Most new police recruits have little handgun experience or skill, and after their initial academy training, which is designed to get them to the point that they can fire a qualifying score on a clean, dry range shooting at targets of known size and shape at known distances, most will experience only the refresher training provided by their agencies, that and yearly qualification shooting with generous passing scores and the opportunity to reshoot as many times as necessary to pass.

Competent training does not teach officers to be fast, but to be smooth, because smooth is fast. Speed must always be balanced with accuracy. What good is the fastest draw on the planet if one cannot also hit one’s target with each and every shot? Every shot off target not only fails to accomplish the sole purpose of shooting at another human being — immediately stopping them from doing whatever it was that gave the shooter the legal grounds to shoot in the first place — it endangers the innocent. Police officers are taught that they are solely responsible for every round they fire, but this too is frequently not enforced.

How many officers actually know just how fast and accurate they are? How many have no doubt how many fractions of a second they can afford to wait and still hit their target — and nothing or no one else — at any range? Far too few. But more is involved, specifically, situational awareness, tactical knowledge and experience.

Competent training teaches tactics such as the effective use of cover — materials that will stop the bullets of an aggressor — allowing an officer to better control the situation. This is why officers usually park with their left front wheel angled to the left and the left front fender of their vehicle between them and any vehicle they are stopping. If the driver or passenger begins to shoot at them, they have their own vehicle’s door, and the front of the vehicle, including the engine block, as cover. Positioning the police vehicle this way also tends to protect the officer from passing traffic.

Officers are also taught proper commands. In any potentially dangerous situation, the best command is “don’t move.” It is clear, easily understood, and a good thing for witnesses to hear if disobeyed and shooting becomes necessary.

Situational awareness cannot be effectively taught. Certainly, one can learn specific tactics that will be helpful in commonly experienced situations, but situational awareness goes beyond that. In the same way that Olympic athletes, exceptional writers and scientists are born, not made, some people have the genetic endowment that allows them to see, imagine and understand things others will never see, imagine or understand regardless of their training.

What this means is relatively simple to understand. An officer with excellent situational awareness making a traffic stop is continually, from second to second, asking “what if?” They are constantly formulating responses and actions to take depending on what they might face. In a very real sense, they can stand outside themselves as though they were an observer of the drama in which they are participating. This gives them the ability to wait longer, observe more accurately, and if absolutely necessary, to act effectively.

Experience is also involved. Police officers always prefer that people stay seated in their cars on traffic stops. But they also understand that elderly people may not understand this protocol, tend to have diminished hearing and also tend to react and move slowly. In fact, most people react slowly in potentially dangerous situations. Now to the actual shooting.


  • Edited April 14, 2015 3:17 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host8/7/14 3:35 PM 
To: All  (10 of 55) 
 171.10 in reply to 171.9 

The video opens with the dash camera view of the stopped pickup truck, which appears to be a 4WD vehicle — it’s relatively tall. The driver’s door opens and Canipe slowly steps down. The video is not clear, but he is obviously elderly and slow; his movements are halting and unsteady. From the moment his first foot touches the ground until the first of six shots are fired, only about seven seconds elapse.

About two seconds after both of his feet touch the pavement, Canipe takes a few halting steps toward Knox, turns his right side to his vehicle, reaches into his vehicle and withdraws his cane. Keep in mind that the video is not nearly as sharp as the vision of one at the scene. As Canipe does this, a beam of light, possibly the spotlight by Knox’s door or a flashlight, plays toward the right side of the pickup and then on Canipe. Knox’s vehicle obviously has “takedown” lights in the light bar — lights focused to illuminate stopped vehicles at an appropriate distance from a police vehicle. Canipe and his vehicle are clearly visible.

Simultaneously, Knox is saying, loudly, “Hey Sir…Sir…Sir…”  He is apparently trying to get Canipe’s attention, but he is not giving him any commands; he is not, in any way, telling Canipe what to do or what not to do.

At this point, Canipe is turning fully toward Knox and is swinging his cane — in his right hand — downward from the vehicle to the ground; his left hand remains braced on his truck. Knox clearly does not recognize that it is a cane, and therefore, no threat, and says, in a voice laden with shock and surprise: “Whoa!” As he begins shooting, he screams words that sound like “Oh hey.” He fires a fast fusillade of what sounds like 3-4 shots, there is a brief pause, and then two additional shots, with a bit of space between them, are fired. At least one of the shots in the first fusillade appears to strike the back window of the truck, approximately where a driver would be seated. The video does not have sufficient resolution to tell where the other shots hit.

After being shot, Canipe remains standing, but begins to bend forward from the waist, moaning in pain. He is clearly leaning on his cane, yet Knox yells, “Drop the gun; drop the gun,” and Canipe, finally understanding what Knox is yelling about, tells him it’s his cane. At this, Knox runs into the view of the camera to Knox and a woman, who was in the truck all the time, steps out and around to the driver’s side of the vehicle.

An AP/ABC News story has the Sheriff’s reaction:

Before showing the video, York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant urged reporters to put themselves in the moment and see how Canipe doesn’t respond to the officer and pulls out the object in the dark. He said officers in South Carolina are allowed to use deadly force if they think their lives are in imminent danger.

‘I would have had to take the same action he did,’ said Bryant, who has been in law enforcement for 42 years.

Bryant said his officers get extensive training, even taking part in exercises where people emerge with cellphones and other items and pellets are shot at deputies,

‘You watch the action of the walking cane. He was hollering at the man,’ Bryant said. ‘You can’t wait to see a muzzle flash before you take action because when you see the muzzle flash, it’s too late.’

According to the ABC story, Knox was standing “out in the open with no cover” and was trying to get to cover as he was shooting.

ANALYSIS: Would a reasonable police officer, in the same circumstances, reasonably believe that he was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death?

Despite Deputy Knox’s emotion upon realizing he shot an elderly man wielding nothing more dangerous than a cane, despite the explanations of Sheriff Bryant, who would have shot Canipe too, the answer has to be “no.” This was not a legitimate use of deadly force. In fact, Deputy Knox did little right and Canipe and his female passenger are alive only because of Knox’s poor and panicky marksmanship.

Knox apparently positioned his vehicle properly, but removed himself from cover and was obviously not thinking about it as Canipe got out of his vehicle. Police officers virtually always want people to stay put during traffic stops, but Knox does not tell Canipe to stay in his vehicle as he exits, nor does he tell him to get back in his vehicle when he steps outside. Instead, he ineffectually repeats “Sir,” which is no more a command for Canipe to follow than repeatedly saying “hey.”

In other words, Knox was not controlling events; events were controlling him. Rather than immediately getting behind his car door — and the engine block — when Canipe began to exit the vehicle — he had the time — he stood there, unsure of what to do, saying “sir” three times.

As Canipe reached for and grasped his cane, Knox was already panicking. Taking him at his word, he thought he saw a gun, but he was wrong. Watch the video. Canipe is not holding the cane as one would have to hold a shotgun. It wasn’t the size, weight or configuration of the shotgun Knox claimed to have seen. It obviously wasn’t as heavy as a long gun, because if he’s going to fire it at Knox, he’s going to do it one-handed while his other hand is helping to hold him upright by grasping his truck.

Does Canipe actually point the cane at Knox? Only for a fraction of a second, and it does not appear to actually be pointing at Knox, only vaguely toward the rear of the vehicle. From the moment he pulls the cane free of the truck, it begins to swing downward to the ground while keeping his left hand in contact with the truck, and at about the same time as Canipe is hit, the tip of the cane touches the ground and Canipe begins to lean on it, the realization that he has been shot dawning on him.

Knox yells “put the gun down” twice, but by this time the “gun” has its muzzle fully in contact with the pavement and Canipe is leaning on it. Virtually as soon as Canipe tells him it’s a cane, Knox realizes his mistake and runs to him.


  • Edited April 14, 2015 3:17 am  by  EdGlaze

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