Image 01 Image 03

Video: Kansas City policeman shoots attacker on top and punching

Video: Kansas City policeman shoots attacker on top and punching

Zimmerman redux: Police officer having head beaten into sidewalk by unarmed attacker draws his pistol, kills attacker

For a dramatic example of how quickly a fight can go bad even for a trained, experienced, and armed police officer against an unarmed aggressor — an example with eerie parallels to George Zimmerman’s defensive shooting of Trayvon Martin — see this bit of cellphone video.

It captures a Kansas City Police Officer having to go for his gun after an unarmed suspect he was attempting to arrest got the upper hand and started beating the police officer’s head into the sidewalk. The officer fired twice, with one of those rounds tearing through the attacker’s diaphragm, liver, and heart, and killing him.

Although these events took place last December 1, the video was only just released when the grand jury empaneled to review the shooting returned a “no bill” against Police Officer Donald Hubbard, meaning no criminal action will be taken against him for the shooting death of the attacker, 26-year-old Anthony Bruno.  Bruno was himself an off-duty firefighter.

Bruno had been celebrating his marriage that evening when he got into an argument with a taxi driver outside the Kansas City Marriott Downtown and began to beat the driver.  Officer Hubbard was working off-duty security at the hotel, wearing his uniform, and responded to the conflict, catching up with the departing Bruno some distance down the street.

Hubbard attempted to arrest Bruno, who was non-compliant.   Soon the men were wrestling on the ground, where it appeared that Hubbard had the upper hand.  In an instant, however, Bruno had flipped Hubbard onto his back on the sidewalk, and begun raining down vicious blows that caught Hubbard’s skull between Bruno’s fist driving down from above and the concrete below.  Hubbard’s injuries would include a broken eye socket and a fractured cheekbone, although it appears that Bruno had only time for less than a handful of blows.

Sensing the loss of consciousness and fearing he would be beaten to death, Hubbard drew his service pistol and fired twice into Bruno’s chest.

(The facts in this post are as drawn from reporting by The Kansas City Star.)

The parallels to the Zimmerman defensive shooting are striking, including the fact that the attacker was unarmed, the relative positions of the attacker and the defender, the beating of the defender’s head against a concrete sidewalk threatening loss of consciousness, the failure of observers to provide assistance, and the relative lack of injuries to the attacker other than the bullet wound inflicted in self-defense.

The dramatic fight, up to the sound of the gunshots, can be seen in the cellphone video captured by two bystanders below.  CONTENT WARNING for graphic language and brutal physical violence.

Backup copy of above video:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


No parallel whatsoever! It appears that the dead man was light-skinned. Nothing to see here, just move along.

I hope you have the video someplace else because it’s gone now.

    “I hope you have the video someplace else because it’s gone now.”

    Yeah, thought that might happen. So, yes, I do have a copy. 🙂

    Just need to ask the Prof where he’d like to host it other than at Youtube.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Follow the link to the KC Star’s page. It has a second video up.

Wow. What amazed me was how quick it went from officer on top to officer fighting for his life and having to pull his gun.

Not faulting the cop. Just realizing how quickly he went from almost under control to almost FUBAR.

I’m pretty sure if Florida had a requirement for a grand jury for felony cases instead of DA discretion (who’s stupid idea was that anyway?) Zimmerman would have been no-billed.

    steveo1 in reply to jnials. | February 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    They should teach officers some freestyle wrestling. When the leo went around the top and faced off on his knees, I knew the guy in the white shirt was going to flip him. the leo should have put him in a double nelson when he was straddling him. Double nelson is an illegal move in wrestling because you can break the neck of the guy on the bottom, but it totally incapacitates the subject, he can’t get up on his knees and can’t use his hands either. He either calms down and surrenders or the guy on top can break his neck.

      tom swift in reply to steveo1. | February 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Sprays and tazers are supposed to do the job. Anything which requires physical training (or maintenance) on the part of officers is difficult; most are not in shape for that stuff. I recall a minor crisis in my home town when the entire force was overweight, and the police chief put everyone on a diet. It didn’t do any good, of course.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | February 26, 2014 at 12:55 am

        I do not care if cops are fat.
        I do care if cops are out of shape.
        This is this game called American football. In this game there are these players called offensive lineman. They weight around three hundred pounds. Many are over 50 pounds overweight. Yet they stand around for 3 hours running in short bursts, doing all sorts of physical activitiies–pushing jumping bending.
        There are these other players called defensive tackles. They are expected to pick up a ( fumbled) football and run 99 yards, faster then college sprinters.

        If they can do it so can cops. It is after all a demand of their job.

          Not a snowball’s chance of anything like that happening. This is the police you’re talking about. You know, the guys who spend their working days sitting in a car, and occasionally getting out to sit in a donut shop. There is no known force which is going to turn them into acrobats, or wrestlers, or anything but uniformed couch potatoes. And it’s not at all clear that that isn’t perfectly adequate for 99.999% of the job.

          all that takes a tremendous amount of dedication and work. cops are all in unions. I rest my case.

        steveo1 in reply to tom swift. | February 26, 2014 at 1:09 am

        learning some wrestling wouldn’t be that hard, they would only need to learn balance, center of gravity, and leverage and maybe 3 or 4 good moves. wrestling isn’t too effective with knives or guns, of course, but it’s the most effective hand to hand combat because you know how to get someone off their feet. When they are off their feet, they can’t punch with any force because most force in punching comes from the legs. If you know how to get them off their feet and can maintain a good control on top of the opponent, you’ll win every time. I could have controlled Rodney King in about 30 seconds. Wouldn’t have needed ten guys with sticks, either. Long as the opponent doesn’t have a knife or a gun. Keeps you out of court and IAD, too.

          ThomasD in reply to steveo1. | February 26, 2014 at 11:39 am

          It’s just like any other discipline. You simply cannot train all cops to a level that will not be exceeded by many devoted enthusiasts.

          This came up in an earlier post about the out of State cop/road rage shooting, most cops simply are not good shots, and when they try to compete against dedicated amateurs they routinely lose.

          And sometimes a little training is not a good idea because it gives false confidence – that they can indeed physically manage an uncooperative full sized man solo.

          Bruno’s wife says he wasn’t drunk. He was clearly judgement impaired. That is not someone a cop should want to try to handle all by himself. Overconfidence kills.

          Faced with such an opponent a cop’s primary training should be to keep himself, and any bystanders safe until more help arrives.

      raven in reply to steveo1. | February 25, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      They should teach cops some other way to arrest people. Is this the protocol? This was a sloppy manhandling of the suspect.

        steveo1 in reply to raven. | February 26, 2014 at 1:21 am

        This isn’t a flippant comment, but the leo could have used the “fireman’s carry”. Very effective when a guy is punching at you with flying haymakers. As soon as the fist comes at you, duck under the arm and your other arm goes up through the crotch and you lift the opponent off the ground on your shoulders. Then, not so gently, slam the opponent with your shoulder right below the rib cage, into the ground. He won’t be breathing for a while, then you’ll probably be able to handcuff him, no problem.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to steveo1. | February 26, 2014 at 1:14 am

      Have you ever seen a firefighter. Firefighter have to carry their weight in oxygen, firefighting equipment, protective equipment into burning buildings. Then they come out carrying all that and Rachael Jentel on their backs. Translation: firefighters are strong.

      On top of which the guy was drunk. Drunks have a major advantage in fights. Every type of fighter is taught to relax in a fight. Being relaxed is a big aid. It allows you to react fater, move quicker, have more power. Fighters spend years learning to relax in a fight. Drunks get relaxation for free.

        right about the 53 second mark, you can see the fireman perform, surprise, a “fireman’s carry” while he’s on his knees. His head is under the armpit and his other arm goes up the crotch and he “semi-slams” the leo to back. With that the leo is screwed. Should have known the fireman would know that move.

        Not to quibble, but drunks do not react faster, move quicker, or have more power. Alcohol is a depressant, in that it depresses motor skills and also causes a loss of balance–necessary for generating power. Muscle tension will slow reaction time, but relaxation gained through drugs is absolutely no help.

          ThomasD in reply to Jazzizhep. | February 26, 2014 at 11:45 am

          long before the depressant effects kick in alcohol acts as a disinhibitor. simply put, people will do dumb things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Like a non-career/hardened criminal thinking that he can fight his way out of a bad situation with the cops.

          true, but if the guy can whoop the cops ass in 10 seconds sober, maybe he can only whoop it in 8 seconds when he is drunk.

          just like I can drive better than most people on the roa even when I’ve had 3 gin and tonics, because I’m a defensive driver and I pay attention and don’t let myself get distracted.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Jazzizhep. | February 26, 2014 at 8:51 pm

          I agree, but alcohol also raises the pain threshold.

          I think the big difference in this case is that Bruno was a trained firefighter. Absent specialized training, the average cop in good shape is outclassed by an average firefighter in good shape.

          pst314 in reply to Jazzizhep. | February 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm

          That is why, as we all know, nobody has ever been beaten to death by a drunk.

      IrateNate in reply to steveo1. | February 26, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      actually, somebody should teach thugs not to screw with police – who are known to have guns on their person. This isn’t TV Rasslin’ or an MMA match – it’s reality. Just glad the cop got a good shot off, and I would suggest our gene pool is stronger because of it.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to jnials. | February 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Yea, this is proof of the statement; “When seconds count, help is just minutes away.”

    The sad thing about the Zimmerman case is that there was a Grand Jury seated at the time that could have reviewed the case. But the powers that am, who wanted a trial knew that the Grand Jury would toss it chose not to send it to them.

so whats with off duty cops doing security as second job AND wearing their uniforms? is this normal?
this is one to save (download) and bring up anything idiots mention St Trayvon

    that should say “anytime” not anything

    legacyrepublican in reply to dmacleo. | February 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I had a friend in Tucson who would work security at a nearby grocery store during the weekends.

    He wore his uniform. Got him lots of extra income.

    In my southern town, the state capitol, police officers are allowed to work at approved side jobs and are required to wear their uniforms while doing so, including sidearms.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Redneck Law. | February 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Yep, I worked at a Plasma Donation Center and we had cops as security, one of them was an IA Detective Sgt. and he had to put on his “Blues” when he came in. He would walk in with a suit and tie and go to the locker room to change into his Uniform.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to dmacleo. | February 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    They’re allowed to in many jurisdictions. It’s a union thing.

youtube is now saying “this video is private” … have a another link to the same video?

Yes, good illustration of a quick reversal. At least if YouTube doesn’t succeed in memory-holing all the documentation.

It’s not clear to me why the off-duty policeman tried to arrest the off-duty firefighter. His crime seems to have been arguing with a cabbie, and then leaving the scene of the argument.

What else? The Kansas City Star gives us;

“… photos of a taxi cab driver allegedly assaulted by Bruno”

“Allegedly”; OK, but not much substance there;

“Stephanie Bruno told police the cab driver … threw money back in her face”

Throwing anything is assault, right?

” ‘… my husband got out of the taxi and began hitting the taxi cab driver’ “

“Hitting”; well, that’s something semi-definite, even if it ain’t much.

    bildung in reply to tom swift. | February 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    It is irrelevant why the LEO was attempting to arrest the individual–that question is to be resolved later in a court setting.

    All that matters is the duty to comply with a lawful restraint on the part of a police officer.

    The moment one refuses compliance and, indeed, attempts the physical overthrow of the officer, is the moment one’s life is put at risk.

      tom swift in reply to bildung. | February 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Nobody’s claiming that the question is a reason to resist arrest.

      So the question still stands.

      Patrick Henry, the 2nd in reply to bildung. | February 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      It is absolutely relevant. What if, like here, the individual doesn’t make it to the court? The right of self defense doesn’t disappear just because somebody is wearing a uniform. An unlawful arrest can be fully resisted, up to and including the use of deadly force.

      I’m not saying this guy is right, but we have many situations where innocent people have complied only to be murdered- and the cops got away with it. If cops understand the moment they attempt an unlawful arrest their lives are also at risk, the less unlawful arrests there will be.

        First you are not correct about the law in all states, I don’t know about it where this happened, but in Texas for instance you can’t resist any arrest unless the officer in using unlawful force. Basically unless the officer is trying to kill you or beat the heck out of you it is always unlawful to fight an officer. Second there was an altercation of some sort so there is more than enough PC to warrant a stop of the suspect regardless of what may be discovered later.

        I am not saying it has never happened or that it couldn’t happen, but I have never heard of a case were someone resisted being arrested and it was deemed to be Self Defense. I can’t imagine that if you used deadly force against and officer, at least a uniformed officer that you are gonna be successful in arguing reasonable self defense.

    pst314 in reply to tom swift. | February 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    “It’s not clear to me why the off-duty policeman tried to arrest the off-duty firefighter. His crime seems to have been arguing with a cabbie, and then leaving the scene of the argument.”
    No, his crime was beating the cabbie–with multiple witnesses.

only part of video is on this news report. It shows quick reverse from officer on top to officer on bottom and two brutal blows to face of officer with his head on concrete. drawing of gun and shots are not shown

    This is classic high school/college wrestling positions. the guy in the white is on bottom, hands and knees, the leo is on top. You never move past the hips of the bottom wrestler. That’s your center of gravity. If you move up to far forward, you see what happens, the wrestler on the bottom “reverses” position and pins the opponent. You try to force the bottom wrestler to the prone position, flat, then try to turn the wrestler with a half nelson or in this case I would use a full nelson to incapacitate him. He wouldn’t be able to get to his knees or use his hands. But like here don’t wrestle on the mat with a guy if you don’t know how.

I would guess this is precisely why cops used to deploy billy sticks so liberally in the bad old days.

Very effective for taking the fight right out of sorehead drunks and, btw, saving lives.

Cant have that in our enlightened age, can we?

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to bildung. | February 25, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    A PR-24, i.e., a “modern” billy club, can be used very effectively to control people without whacking them.

    I once saw a demonstration by two police officers, one of whom was at one time a national taekwando champion. Astounding and effective.

    katasuburi in reply to bildung. | February 25, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Re: nightsticks. My Dad was a police officer from 1946-52. He used to tell me that a hickory billy club across the shin would take down the most belligerent drunk. Going thru his effects after he passed away I found a cosh and some sap gloves as well. Guess that’s when police would get a quick tactical advantage.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to katasuburi. | February 26, 2014 at 3:36 am

      I remember a time I was sparring. I threw a front kick, my oponent threw a roundhouse kick. Our shins collided in midair. Even though we were both wearing shin pads it was five minutes before either could get up.

        +1 Pain compliance is an incredibly effective tool. A couple of baton strikes to either the shin or just above the outer aspect of the ankle will do wonders to a person’s desire to comply and rarely causes anything more than a minor injury.

        This video is a great example of an officer using less force than was needed but more than was socially acceptable and ending up getting himself injured and the drunk getting himself killed as a result.

        an arrest isn’t the time to argue with a police officer. leave that for the courtroom. besides a 1983 lawsuit is a pretty effective tool for the citizen to use against an officer that truly oversteps his boundaries. (not that that happened here)

        As mentioned in some of the other threads above, some freestyle wrestling or BJJ would be a good tool for any officer or anyone else interested in self-defense to have in their tool belt.

        I remember seeing a video of that sort of clash where one of the guys shins just snapped in half and the bottom half of his lower leg went flipping forward. I puked in my mouth.

The person taking the video was too busy I guess to help the cop when he called out.

    tom swift in reply to janitor. | February 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    In retrospect, now that we know bullets were about to start flying, staying out of it may have been the best decision the videographer ever made in his life.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to janitor. | February 26, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Well to be fair it happened so quickly that the guy didn’t even get a chance to help.

Interesting that the person started filming the attack because he thought the COP was too aggressive. Then when the other guy took control, the people in the crowd kept telling him, “Don’t attack the police. Don’t attack the police. “But he did anyway and lost his life in the process.

There is one, significant difference. Martin staged an unprovoked, surprise attack against Zimmerman. Otherwise, the situations run parallel in circumstance and outcome.

Well, there is one other difference. The officer acted to uphold the law, then acted in self-defense to preserve his life. Zimmerman withdrew to avoid confrontation, then acted in self-defense to preserve his life.

    tom swift in reply to n.n. | February 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Well no, there are more differences than that. For one, who started the physical altercation (a.k.a. the attack)? Hint – this time it wasn’t the guy who ended up dead. Bruno was the one walking away from an altercation (that is, whatever had happened with the cabbie). Walking away is usually considered a wise choice of action in such cases when all parties are overheated, and an admirable display of restraint.

    I know some hammerhead will misinterpret this, so I will be explicit – none of this justifies Bruno in pounding on Hubbard’s head. But pitfalls await those trying to claim that this case is just like some other case. It has its own unique complications.

      CREinstein in reply to tom swift. | February 25, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      A police officer is required to make an arrest if they see a crime occurring. This is not something he can ignore.

      Yeah they might get along later, the cabby might not press charges, or there might be a legal justification going on… it does not matter… the cop has to make a judgement on the spot and make an arrest if there is physical violence THEN determine what happened.

This is a no-brainer. Righteous shoot.

That was quick. Zimmerman got his head pounded for 45 seconds before he shot.

This is exactly what we need on every television in the United States minus the chatter from the filmer. Show this everywhere and then the anti-zimmerman and the gun grabbing crowd will not have a leg to stand upon!

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to CREinstein. | February 26, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Yes, they will still have a leg to stand on. That leg is the fact that Trademark was black and GZ isn’t. It’s that simple. Just ask Holder and the obastard zombies.

Don’t you love the two yahoos standing recording making the comment about the cop “He’s got a very aggressive stance” – NO SH!T : HE’s ARRESTING HIM.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to LSBeene. | February 26, 2014 at 1:41 am

    What’s disgusting is that these people are about to cry police brutality, but if Bruno was bothering them they would be crying “where are the police”.

      Pure speculation; indistinguishable from tawdry “these are the same people who [fill in the blank]” claims. Adequate for rabble-rousing, but miserable for logic and understanding.

      Recording the encounter is simple data-collecting. Data collection is how we determine facts about real events. There’s nothing disgusting in that.

    tom swift in reply to LSBeene. | February 26, 2014 at 4:47 am

    You seem to be implying that aggressive behavior is its own justification.

      pst314 in reply to tom swift. | February 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      “You seem to be implying that aggressive behavior is its own justification.”

      No, “resisting arrest” is the justification.

To the esteemed Mr. Branca,

While I devour the knowledge you offer on your posts here at LI, and enjoy reading your frequent Twitter battles, it appears you often conflate disparate circumstances in order to bolster your incorrect observations of the Zimmerman travesty—undoubtedly fueled by your right-wing and gun-nut sympathies.

Hubbard, a trained law enforcement officer, was legally following Bruno who had committed an actual crime by absconding on a cab fare.

Zimmerman was illegally walking through a gated community in which he was a paying member. Why you continue to assert that Zimmerman had right to walk through the above mentioned private property is beyond my level comprehension.
You conveniently forget that Zimmerman was explicitly told by an actual law enforcement officer at the 911 dispatch desk that he was forbidden to walk through the space.

You, Mr. Branca, somehow think that a head being slammed against a concrete surface as someone screams for help, as reported by eyewitness testimony, is the same as a head being slammed against a concrete surface being verified by a video.

Nowhere in the video did I hear Officer Hubbard call Bruno an effing coon. I would be remiss in not pointing out this undisputed fact. Or, do you contend that Officer Hubbard did make such utterances? It is, by now, common knowledge that Zimmerman called St. Trayvon such vile names because it is a matter of court record courtesy of Mr. Guy and BDLR.

I must conclude, that excepting that fact that somebody died from a GSW, these two cases have nothing in common. In fact, you are being so disingenuous as to skirt the boundaries of professional malfeasance and deserve, in my informed opinion, to be told by that organization that says you can be a lawyer that you are fired. (I forget, is it the pie, line, or bar?)

    THIS is why Andrew’s fans should not blog when they have been off their meds for a week . . .


    What an awesome post! Thanks for helping me start my day with a smile. 🙂

    In the unlikely event you’d be interested in a reality-based understanding of the events underlying the Zimmerman trial, instead of the many thoroughly debunked myths and tropes you toss around in your post, I encourage you to read through the live coverage of the trial and its background here at Legal Insurrection.

    Have a great day!

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 8:05 am

      It’s easy to confuse sarcasm from sincerity on the internets. But I THINK – and I very well may be wrong – that the post was intended to be sarcastic. I don’t recognize the poster’s name so that makes it even harder to know the posters intentions.

      Jazzizhep in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 27, 2014 at 10:57 am

      It is a joke. Even though I used the reasoning and false facts many idiots hold dear. I thought that putting my “well informed opinion” and then not know whether it was the bar association, the pie association, or the line association that issues law licenses would show I was being sarcastic. I will chalk that up as a fail.

      I think my mistake was being a little to accurate in how I portrayed their ignorance.

    I am truly astonished and dismayed by your ignorance of the Trayvon-Zimmerman altercation. Given how much detail was pored over on this blog during Zimmerman’s trial, it simply has to be willful ignorance on your part. I would point out the numerous delusions in your post, but you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Please let go of your preconceptions and re-examine the evidence from the Zimmerman trial.

    tom swift in reply to Jazzizhep. | February 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    is beyond my level comprehension

    Give credit where it’s due. He got at least one thing right.

    Exiliado in reply to Jazzizhep. | February 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    This is the most comprehensive display of sheer and utter ignorance I have seen in a long time.

Same thing happened in Hawaii a few years back on my old beat. Cop being assaulted brutally. Off duty cop afraid he was going to pass out from the blows pulls his gun and shoots him.

Good shoot.

smalltownoklahoman | February 26, 2014 at 6:32 am

To any who cry foul on Hubbard shooting Bruno what was Hubbard supposed to do, just let the guy beat him? Fists can kill too, especially when the guy getting punched has his head repeatedly knocked against a hard surface, in this case concrete. Officer Hubbard was in my mind entirely justified in shooting Bruno. Hubbard may have started things just by simply trying to arrest Bruno but Bruno was the one who escalated the conflict to the point of deadly force being required on the part of Hubbard to save his own life.

One thing I noticed, right as Bruno gained the upper hand and the people filming were shouting “don’t fight the cop” Bruno looks up right at the camera before starting to pummel Hubbard. Drunk or not Bruno knew exactly what he was doing, knew he was being filmed, and did it anyway. He didn’t care about the consequences to himself anymore at that point. Had he survived being shot this would have been an incredibly damning point for him at trial.

No one noticed the LEO drive arrestees head into the pavement with his knee? That’s when arrestee started fighting back as opposed to being non-cooperative.

    Seems to me that impact of the Hubbards’ knee with Bruno’s head was completely incidental to Hubbard attempting to obtain a new position on the non-compliant Bruno, rather than a deliberate knee-strike to the head. He’s not a professional wrestler or a ninja, and likely was already nearing exhaustion after several minutes wrestling with Bruno. I would expect his moves to be sloppy.

    In any case, all the evidence suggests Hubbard had adequate probable cause to make an arrest, and he is entitled to use necessary force (certainly up to the limits of deadly force) to make that arrest. If Bruno’s noncompliance compels Hubbard to escalate up the use-of-force continuum, that’s on Bruno.

    Whether there was something improper about the arrest or whether Hubbard’s knee hitting Bruno’s head was unreasonable or excessive force is something to be determined at a later date in a controlled environment, not by the drunk person in the street at o’dark-thirty seeking to avoid being arrested.

    Of course situations like these are exactly why the police are supposed to be armed with less-than-lethal projectile weapons, like OC and pepper spray. I have to believe that the Kansas City Police Department issues and trains on such tools, and that Hubbard (foolishly) must not have been carrying his because he was on his “cushy” side job and never expected to go hands-on at the Marriott Down Town.

    For the same reason I encourage all my students to carry a less-than-lethal projectile weapon in addition to their sidearm–indeed, I tell them they’re foolish if they don’t.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      I didn’t see the knee strike as incidental. I watched it several times. To me it looked like getting a cheap shot like that in was one part of the LEO’s training that “took.”

      But regardless whether it was incidental or not, if smashing one’s head to the pavement is the use of deadly force, then who initiated the use of deadly force in this conflict? Not necessarily such an easy case.

        “I didn’t see the knee strike as incidental. I watched it several times. To me it looked like getting a cheap shot like that in was one part of the LEO’s training that “took.” ”

        A difference of opinion then, for the jury to decide.

        “But regardless whether it was incidental or not, if smashing one’s head to the pavement is the use of deadly force, then who initiated the use of deadly force in this conflict? Not necessarily such an easy case.”

        I don’t understand the point you are seeking to make.

        These two men are not morally or legally equivalent to each other in this situation. One is a law enforcement officer authorized and duty bound to make an arrest when probable cause exists to do so. The other is someone for whom probably cause exists that he assaulted a cab driver moments prior and is now forcibly non-compliant to lawful orders and resisting arrest.

        The fact that the men ended up in a physical combat involving “knee strikes” and ultimately a discharge of Hubbard’s sidearm is entirely on Bruno. Had he been compliant to Hubbard’s lawful orders from the start, as he was legally obligated to be, the escalation of force would not have occurred. But for Bruno’s unlawful non-compliance, not a blow in anger would have been struck.

        None of this is even a gray area in the law.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          I’m saying that if smashing one’s head against concrete is deadly force, than the LEO used deadly force first. If that is legally insignificant given the respective duties of both individuals then I accept that.

          The thing that interests me about these self defense cases is how subtle changes in the facts changes the narrative, of both sides. If the initial use of deadly force by the officer would not change the legal/factual narrative in this case, then I have learned something.

          But of course in any case, you don’t resist arrest, period. Bad things can and will happen.

          Bruce Hayden in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

          What you have to keep in mind is that the police officer was most likely privileged to use the level of force that he utilized, while the other party was not. As Andrew points out, and contrary to Zimmerman, Dunn, et al., the parties were not equal here in the eyes of the law. The deck is stacked heavily in favor of law enforcement when they are attempting to make arrests. It has to be this way, at least in the face of real physical resistance, or most criminals would resist arrest to prevent themselves from facing life behind bars. The law enforcement response has to be somewhat proportional to the resistance they actually face, but not nearly at the level that the rest of us face with each other.

          tom swift in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

          But for Bruno’s unlawful non-compliance, not a blow in anger would have been struck.

          What may be bothering some commenters is that the same can be said for Hubbard’s clumsy attempt at an arrest.

          We start with a peeved guy walking on a public street, bothering no one and doing nothing blatantly illegal (like, say, trying to escape from a holdup). In other words, someone who had just had an argument (and possibly an assault of some type, that remains nebulous), broke it off, and needed a few seconds to cool down.

          Then Hubbard arrives, some interaction ensues, and the guy who had previously been walking is face-down on concrete. Hubbard may have been right and he may have been wrong, but I can see why there’s be some suspicion that Mr Smooth he ain’t.

          Then, further interaction, and the guy who initially was not an immediate physical menace to anybody is dead.

          Considering the initial conditions vs. the outcome, no matter what happened between those two states, it’s hard to see this as a successful model for law enforcement.

          But of course none of this has much to do with Hubbard’s dire need for some forcible self defense.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm

          To: @canoedad

          The first thing you need to understand is when a police officer is involved the level of force used is usually up to the person being arrested. Basically, if you don’t resist you don’t get your butt kicked by the Police.

          Secondly, the question as to whether any strike, hold, or throw is or isn’t deadly force is completely situationional and dependent upon who is throwing the strike, how much force is applied, and most importantly the intent of the person throwing the blow. So the answer to whether the cop kneeing the guy in the head and making his head hit the sidewalk is or isn’t deadly force is, no most likely it isn’t since it was a single isolated moment, vs the repeated action of banging the cops head into the concrete.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 27, 2014 at 2:09 am

          Canoe, you said, “I’m saying that if smashing one’s head against concrete is deadly force, than the LEO used deadly force first.”

          Could he have waited to use deadly force after Bruno used it? I mean, be the second one to use deadly force?

          Just wondering.

      smalltownoklahoman in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Quick question: On that less than lethal weaponry, what is OC?

    smalltownoklahoman in reply to canoedad. | February 26, 2014 at 7:36 am

    After watching the video again, yes I saw that. However, that does not justify Bruno repeatedly striking Hubbard after flipping Hubbard over. Bruno was also resisting before Hubbard struck him with that knee. Twice we see Hubbard attempt to get Bruno’s arms into a position where he can cuff him. Both times Bruno pulls his arms back out of position. This is what prompts the start of their little wrestling match. By being non-cooperative and resisting arrest one can argue that Bruno forced officer Hubbard to use increased force in order to subdue his suspect. That knee could have been Hubbard’s attempt to knock Bruno senseless long enough to get some cuffs on him. It failed (obviously) and as a result enraged Bruno enough that apparently he didn’t care what would happen to him for assaulting an officer, even if said officer happened to be off duty.

Too bad the people taping the incident were so busy being indignant over how rough the cop was and preferred to tape it so they could show police violence that they couldn’t be bothered to help before the cop ended up shooting the guy.

What ever happened to the concept of following a policeman’s directives? Looks like this big angry drunk newlywed got himself killed.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to katiejane. | February 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    The problem with that is that most folks who have zero training, much less tactical awareness them, “trying to help” is probably more likely to make the situation worse in most cases, and maybe even get themselves and/or the cop hurt in the process. So I am not one to advocate for folks to get involved in an arrest situation, most of the time.

    Now in this case, maybe, I wasn’t there so even from the video I can’t say, but I also can’t really blame folks for not getting involved. For all we know the folks filming this might be the definition of 90 lb. weaklings.

One thing confuses me. All sorts of statements here that the officer saw the law being broken ans was required to intervene and arrest.


The courts have consistently ruled, when LEO’s have been sued for not intervening, that they have no duty to do so.

    You misunderstand the issue.

    The police don’t have any specific duty to any particular individual, thus you cannot hold an officer legally responsible if they don’t perform as you would prefer.

    They DO have a duty to their employer, who CAN hold them legally responsible if they don’t perform as they would prefer.

    Surely there can be no dispute that if an officer simply refused to do his job his department would have grounds for discipline or termination?

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      but the cabdriver wasn’t his employer, or does the attempted crime happening to cabdriver in front of employers door fall under that?
      I have no idea on the laws about this stuff (so take this with grain of salt) but its always seemed to me allowing businesses to hire cops to act as a cop (with full arrest powers granted by the taxpayers/cities/county/etc) is a quagmire. I’ve always felt (pure opinion here) that an off duty cop should have no more power than any other citizen. but not many agree with me. course I am used to not many agreeing with me 🙂

        ThomasD in reply to dmacleo. | February 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

        Whether many others agree with you or not ( I tend to) the issue is that the laws of many jurisdictions do not.

        A cop typically has cop powers 24/7. In this case ‘his employer’ was not the cab driver, and once he went into full arresting officer mode it certainly ceased to be the hotel.

        He was acting in his position as member of Kansas City PD.

        My problem with his actions is trying to cuff Bruno before backup arrived.

        Sure Bruno was ‘fleeing’ the scene, but he wasn’t exactly running away. He could have told Bruno to set down and wait.

        Getting him cuffed may have been desirable, but it was not immediately necessary.

          MJN1957 in reply to ThomasD. | February 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm

          Not immediately necessary? Really?

          Since quite obviously “pretty please” failed to restrain the known violent individual, how exactly was the officer supposed to control and contain the known risk to the public?

          …add “with sugar on top”?

          It was the officer’s sworn DUTY to intervene and control a known violent individual. He acted completely within his authority and reasonable rules of any rational jurisdiction. Handcuffs are not used to arrest someone, they are used to control someone, a significant point.

          At the point just before the situation went bad, the officer was committed to exercising definitive control over the arrestee, which typically means handcuffing the individual. Getting him in ‘cuffs at that point was safer for the public, the arrestee, and the officer than disengaging.

          Might the officer have chosen a different tactic than he did? Of course!…but would it have made any difference and at what cost? He was dealing with a KNOWN VIOLENT OFFENDER that he had a sworn duty to protect the public from. How was he supposed to do that OTHER THAN gaining and maintaining control over the individual?

          That exact scenario is played-out thousands of times every shift in jurisdictions all around the world with the result being the public safe, a relatively uninjured suspect controlled, and an officer casually doing the always necessary paperwork before heading home for the night. If you have some fail-safe genius insight into which of those thousands of scenarios will turn-out like this one, you need to write a book. Trust me, you will become wealthy overnight.

          ThomasD in reply to ThomasD. | February 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

          Right, the cop should have kept on doing exactly what he did.

          Because that worked out so well for the both of them.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to dmacleo. | February 26, 2014 at 10:38 pm

        From what I have always been told whether they have to at least arrest you is based on what crime they believe has been committed and what probable cause they have that leads them to that conclusion. Of course that is tempered by discretion in some cases. But my basic understanding is that if the situation points to a felony then arrest is their best option.

        In this case even the guys wife states that the hit the cabby for throwing money back at her so he attacked the cabby, no real reason for physical violence other than he was drunk and not making good decisions. So from the cops point of view this is a drunk guy who is violent and has probably committed felony battery. He can’t let him go, what if he decided to go beat on someone else, then the cop would be called on the carpet for just letting him go.

        This guy was a Firefighter for cripes sake, he is supposed to help people not beat them. If he is so drunk that he is violent he needed to be arrested and the officer made the right choice.

        I would bet that the wife mentioned to the cop that the guy was a Fireman and the cop was thinking; “Ok, this will be ok, he will see the uniform and calm down then I will just hold him until the car gets here.” Regardless sometimes things just go bad, no matter how hard your prepare or try to avoid it, it just happens.

      Good explanation. Now, I’ve read many times of the police being sued, unsuccessfully, for not acting. However, I have never subsequently read of any officer being fired, or even demoted or in any other way held accountable for failing to act. Particularly concerning transit authority police.

      Has any LEO ever been held accountable for failing to act?

    Mac45 in reply to gospace. | February 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

    The courts have ruled that an individual officer has no duty to an individual citizen to respond to a violation of law. They DO have a responsibility to the PEOPLE of their jurisdiction and to the state to respond. If an officer willfully refuses to enforce the law he can be terminated from his employment and/or prosecuted for non-feasance of duty. Legally, a LEO can not ignore a crime in progress. His response may vary based upon the circumstances prevailing at the time.

My heart broke for America when I heard the policeman ask for “a little help here” and those watching just stand there and keep taping. That man didn’t need to die, who ever you are who just stood there and watched, probably hoping you could sell the video, should be so heartedly ashamed of your selves that as that amazing Ukrainian woman said you should be on your knees.

    Ragspierre in reply to betty. | February 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Especially since “a little help here” did not necessarily mean hopping physically into the fray.

    Some social pressure help might have been all that was needed; like, “Dude, stop fighting with the cop. If he’s wrong you can sue him”.

    I am not one who is sanguine about being submissive to police, but when a LEO has laid hands on you, there is only one outcome possible. He/she is NOT going to let you go if things escalate.

    Remember a lesson I learned as a teenager in Los Angeles…cops are afraid. A lot of them have to retire quite young because of the physical damage they incur over a few years of street policing. And all of them are afraid of being killed or seriously hurt.

    Also, some are just nuts…like the rest of the population.

    gospace in reply to betty. | February 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    As a militia member, and most adults are militia members, you are required in most states, by law, to aid the police (or sheriff in particular) when called upon.

    I seriously doubt that anyone has ever been held accountable for failing to render such aid, or if there is even a penalty in any state for failing to do so. But the obligation by law is still there.

“Don’t fight the cop.”


Maybe they could have suggested that a little earlier when the guy was clearly resisting arrest.

Even if the arrest wasn’t valid, making it an unlawful assault (doubtful given the reported prior assault on the taxi driver), it’s reasonably certain the cop was not intending serious physical harm.

It always amazes me the number of seemingly intelligent people who argue that people should be allowed to arbitrarily ignore laws and legal procedures on a whim.

In this case, we have a man who gets into a physical altercation in public which draws the attention of a local police officer. It is reasonable to assume that, based upon the information available to the officer at the time, he believed [that is probable cause to y’all] that the man had committed two criminal offenses, disorderly conduct and battery. If he had failed to pay the cabbie, that could constitute the crime of theft of service or possibly robbery, as physical force was involved when collection was attempted. The officer contacts the violator who is uncooperative. The officer speaks the magic words, “You are under arrest”. And, these are indeed magic words. Resisting an arrest is a criminal offense and, in most states authorizes an officer to utilize necessary force to take the arrestee into custody. Resist and you face the potential for physical injury, as well as additional criminal charges. The defense of illegal arrest is iffy, as it must be proven that the officer did not have probable cause for the arrest. And, most people are not in a position to make that determination on the street.

We live in a wonderful country. A country that is based upon the rule of law. Unlike the old Iraq, Iran the Soviet Union and most of the rest of the world, an arrestee is not taken to a place of detention and beaten, tortured or killed. In fact, great pains are taken to avoid any injury to a person while they are in custody. Remember this when you decide to resist an arrest.

Interesting to me that the cop asked for help. What are the legal ramifications to the people who stood there filming? what would be the legal ramifications if they had been helping the cop and the shooting still occurred?

Phillep Harding | February 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Hmmm. Wearing a police uniform while acting as a rent-a-cop.

I dunno about that.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Phillep Harding. | February 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Off-duty officers working on hire is a practice as old as the job itself. A police officer is never truly off-duty, must respond 24/7 if called in by his/her dept, and almost everywhere is required to carry his weapon at all times out in public. The term “off-duty” is in error. What is meant is “off-clock” as in not getting paid at the moment. Allowing cops to work private venues is an excellent way for them to augment their incomes, particularly valuable to young officers with families.

    I see no reason to denigrate any officer with the ‘rent-a-cop’ dig and I suspect if you were getting beaten by the guy in this clip you’d very much welcome such a ‘rent-a-cop’ to intervene.

“Hmmm. Wearing a police uniform while acting as a rent-a-cop.”

Very common in a great many jurisdictions, often an explicitly accepted way for an LEO to plump up supplement his duty pay.

Heck, here in MA such “detail work” (as we call it) probably makes up half the pay for local and State LEOs, and is paid for directly by the utilities, construction companies, and others who are required by law to use uniformed police officers in the role other states delegate to simple flag wavers.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Indeed, and the quickest way to watch the quality of your police force nosedive is to forbid officers the income of off-watch detail work.

    And when I say “paid directly by the utilities, construction companies, etc,” I really mean “paid indirectly by the utility rate payers, construction company clients (and eventual tenants), etc.)”

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Our church hires off-duty cops each year for our Church festival. Keeps people from causing trouble, encourages people from avoiding driving if they’ve had too much (we’ll get them a cab if they don’t have a designated driver) and they have a good time. And frankly, since we do sell alcohol, it keeps the fights from happening.

      And no one even thinks about robbing us.

Richard Aubrey | February 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Andrew. Driving through Boston some years ago, particularly the Big Dig, I saw a number of uniforms standing around construction sites. Figured it was jobs for the boys, paid for by the city. Glad to find it’s somewhat different.
Somebody asked a pertinent question: What happens if a cop yells for help and said help seriously injures or kills the arrestee?

The morons taping the fight bear ENORMOUS moral blame for the death of this guy. Hopefully, they’ll bear some criminal and civil blame.
They could have called 911 when the whole thing started. Instead, they egged-on the suspect in resisting arrest. When the guy started punching the cop repeatedly in the head they could have helped stop the fight, instead of just standing by and ‘not getting involved.’

If this isn’t a classic manifestation of liberal idiocy, nothing is. We can only hope this hits these morons where it hurt them most: in their trust accounts.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to | February 26, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I actually can’t agree with this. We have no idea who the folks taping this event were, nor of their skills or capabilities.

    For all we know them “trying to help” could have had just the opposite effect. I can tell you from my time as a bouncer, I used to cringe when other “customers” got involved when I/we were trying to deal with someone in the club, most of the time they either got hurt or got me hurt all because they were “helping”.

Perhaps I missed it, but when did they show the video of Martin attacking Zimmerman? If they haven’t shown it, all we are going on is the word of Zimmerman who – obviously – had every reason in the world to slant the story to favor himself. But then again what did he have to lose, he must have known that this country is full of people who believe that EVERY black male is a “thug”.

    Ragspierre in reply to Mike Giles. | February 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    “If they haven’t shown it, all we are going on is the word of Zimmerman…”

    I always love it when the illiterate self-identify.

    Oh, and those who are bigots, too.

    Love that!

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Mike Giles. | February 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Nope no video, had there been video, I doubt you would be happy with it, because it probably would have meant no charges were ever filed.

    Now let me help you correct the remainder of your statement to make it conform more to our justice system.

    “all we are going on is the word of Zimmerman who –” was, even while being accused of Murder, Innocent until Proven Guilty, and has now had that innocence affirmed through our judicial process.

    Basically, I know the liberal bobble heads really, really, wanted a win in the Zimmerman case, but instead, justice prevailed. Your side lost, get over it and move on.

    uh no. there was the testimony of the guy who saw the ‘mma style’ beat down. there was the damage to the back of zimmermans head. there was zimmermans broken nose.

    so, are you ignorant, or just another lying proggie douche? which is it?

      pst314 in reply to Paul. | February 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

      And there also were Trayvon Martin’s skinned knuckles, consistent with the witness testimony that Trayvon was beating on Zimmerman. And those were Trayvon’s only injuries (aside from the bullet wound), which was consistent with the testimony that Trayvon initiated the violence with a sucker punch.
      Mike Giles, you are at best woefully misinformed. You are wrong about the Trayvon-Zimmerman case. You are wrong about America.

There have always been those whose belligerance compels them to try their hand against a police officer attempting to arrest them. It has been a long time since that was a reasonable option in America, but that doesn’t stop some.

What boggles my mind is that people have become indifferent to these things, and they feel no social pressure either to take sides with law enforcement or to render assistance. The police make countless arrests every day without anyone getting hurt. We ordinary citizens should trust them until we have good reason not to, and we should support their efforts, even if it requires us to take risks to do so.

This country was founded by men and women of character and courage. I can only imagine the contempt they’d feel for what so much of it has become.