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Suspect Shot While Grabbing for Cop’s Gun (Los Angeles Edition)

Suspect Shot While Grabbing for Cop’s Gun (Los Angeles Edition)

Sound familiar? Bystanders bewildered other arresting officers didn’t just shoot suspect in leg.

This “standing headline” is becoming so ubiquitous it ought to be formally recognized as an internet meme.

A robbery suspect, identified in the CNN report simply as “Africa” or “Brother Africa” was being arrested by four LAPD officers yesterday in Los Angeles.  He was violently non-compliant, as evidence by the video below and by eye witness testimony.  Witness Yolanda Young told local news reporters from KTLA:

He was down, but then he jumped up, like he was juiced up, and then he started swinging at the police and they were fighting him back.

[NOTE: Video above was replaced on 3/3/315 with a version that was not “fuzzed-out,” as was original video.]

As seen in the video, further escalating the situation, at one point during the struggle one of the arresting officers manages to drop his side-handle baton. It is promptly snatched up by a bystander on the fringes of the struggle, who appears to be looking for an opportunity to use it to strike at the officers. (A baton strike to the head can easily cause death or serious bodily injury, and thus constitutes deadly force.)

A pair of cops tackle this armed bystander and begin to place her (?) under arrest, when the ongoing struggle with “Brother Africa” devolves into a handful of fired shots.

Immediately bystanders begin to shriek in disbelieving outrage, as if it were utterly incomprehensible how such a struggle could arrive at such an outcome.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told reports that the suspect was shot only after he tried to grab one of the officer’s sidearms–and nearly succeeded in doing so.  In support of the arresting officers’ statements to this effect Beck showed photos of the target officer’s pistol. The CNN report does not show the photo, but describes it as follows:

The slide is partially engaged, and the magazine is dislodged.

Based on my experience this is entirely consistent with a grabbing attempt of a semi-automatic handgun, in which the slide is partially forced backwards and then fails to fully seat into battery–it “jams”.  The dislodged magazine may have been an attempt by the officer to eject his magazine in response to the pistol grab.

Many models of semi-automatic pistols have a “magazine safety” that prevents the gun from firing even a round in the chamber if the magazine is not fully seated in the gun. Many police are trained to disable the gun by removing the magazine if they fear they are about to lose possession of the pistol to an assailant.

As we’ve come to expect, purported witnesses were quick to emerge to contest the police narrative, much as at Ferguson. A bystander who took video of the shooting, Anthony Blackburn, told reporters that he did not see the suspect reach for the officers’ gun.

Naturally, the fact that a single person from one perspective did not see the gun grab does not mean it did not happen–it merely means he did not see it.

Tellingly, when faced with the choice of embedding either the police narrative or that of Anthony Blackburn into their headline, the CNN story goes with the racially inflammatory version: “Witness who took video: Man killed by LAPD didn’t reach for officer’s gun.”

I suppose it never occurred to CNN to go with the arguably better-supported headline “Police evidence suggests man killed reached for officers’ gun.”

This is my shocked face.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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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 (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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Good writeup, Andrew. I liked your book too.

inspectorudy | March 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm

I do not know who or why the video is deliberately blurred out but what is the point of showing it? Nothing can be determined from it that would refute or back up the police story.

    That’s precisely why.

    Blurring parts of the video serves two purposes:
    1. It protects the identities of those involved; and,
    2. It prevents external viewers (i.e. the public) from drawing any definite conclusions, virtually guaranteeing this will be headline material for weeks or months, and the SJW crowd will remain up in arms about it.

    I’ll leave it to you to guess which one the mainstream media is concerned with.

      It was originally posted on FB by the guy who took it. It was unblurred there, and uncensored, and longer too – that’s where I first saw it. It’s the media who, for whatever reason, have added the strategic blurring, bleeping and editing.

      inspectorudy in reply to Archer. | March 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

      I understand why it’s blurred but only ask why it is being published since it offers no insight into the event. Also, I believe that the blurring could be done a little more precisely than how it is shown.

BrokeGopher | March 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Cue Sharpton in 3…2…1…

” . . . like he was juiced up, and then he started swinging at the police and they were fighting him back.”

He learned that at a NAN Community Outreach Meeting. But it’s ok. Sharpton gonna pay for the funeral and all.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Redneck Law. | March 4, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Yes, NAN outreach … conducted on behalf and at behest of Holder and obola; coordinated with Holder’s CRS.

I’ve become increasingly skeptical of the “He went for my gun” claim after watching police videos of suspects who had their hands clearly in the air and the officer is shouting “Get off my gun.” or “Stop resisting.”

    Care to share?

    Sure. We’ll wait.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Maybe JWB is the alternate JJ? Crickets, only crickets.

      That’s the only one I can remember enough to pull up right now, but there were a couple others, too. One where the cop is shouting “get off my gun” and the guy, clearly separate from the officer, is shouting something like “I ain’t on your gun.” Another where a guy related being held down between two cars, out of sight, while an officer whaled on him shouting “Stop resisting!” until the guy started shouting “Not resisting” (This was after camera evidence showed the officers had already lied about what happened.)

      There’s enough to establish that a lot of cops understand that building a narrative starts *during* an encounter, and will say patently absurd things in order to protect themselves, build “witnesses”, and protect against video.

      So, I’m stuck in the position of “Well, the police said exactly what they needed to in order to escape any misconduct accusation. Is it because the misconduct charge is baseless, or because they know what they need?”

        You produce evidence of (purportedly) ONE example to “establish that a lot of cops” are faking gun grab stories?

        And I don’t even know if that one example is worth anything, because I’m not wasting five minutes of my time to watch it. Indicate the 00:00 where the falsehood occurs if you want me to see it.

        Oofah. The last few months alone we have multiple cases of bad guys ACTUALLY grabbing for cops’ guns, and you come up with ONE (purported) example of a fake gun grab in all of arrest history?

        Makes me want to shed a tear, like that fake Indian in the old littering commercial. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Barry in reply to JWB. | March 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm

        OK, take the “crickets” back. Unlike Andrew, I think this might be an example of bad cops. However, we are taking the gentlemans word for what transpired completely. He clearly has his hands up in the car. But what is said and what other action occurred off camera is unknown. Does this guy have any previous issues that might have had the police wary from the beginning? Without a bit more I would not completely pass judgement on this “one” incident.

        You did say “videos”. plural.

    iconotastic in reply to JWB. | March 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Police officers aren’t perfect. Some make mistakes and some are just bad. This must be judged on a case by case basis. No legitimate purpose is served here by flinging broad generalizations as if they somehow have meaning to this particular situation.

    As Andrew noted, there is some physical evidence that the guy was trying for the firearm. The dead guy was a felon, not a crazy, which lends credence to the officers’ assertion as well. Many officers were trying to subdue this man without using deadly force. Finally, the deadly force was used in an extremely unsafe situation where the other officers were all around the dead guy when the shooting occurred (gave me chills just to watch that part).

    Given that multiple officers will testify to the guy getting the firearm, that there is pretty good video of the incident and that there appears to be physical evidence I think your comment is unwarranted.

A mob of half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers can’t clear two weedy little homeless folks off the sidewalk without losing control of one weapon to them completely, and nearly losing control of another?

Yeah, no. Optics. That looks kinda bad.

    Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    You do it, Amy. We’ll wait for the hilarious videos…

      One slightly-built female civilian ≠ half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers.

        healthguyfsu in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 11:20 pm

        Guns are equalizers no matter whether you are burly or a small female.

        Police officers, who spend their lives around guns and dangerous people, are trained not to hesitate and start coming up with “what if” scenarios before preserving their own lives and their fellow officers’ lives.

        I have no problem with their approach…comply with law enforcement in a fair and free society and things won’t end like this.

          My comment was

          A mob of half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers can’t clear two weedy little homeless folks off the sidewalk without losing control of one weapon to them completely, and nearly losing control of another?

          Yeah, no. Optics. That looks kinda bad.

          Rags’ suggestion was that before I can comment on the optics of that scenario, I myself, as one single slightly-built female civilian, must try to accomplish what this mob of half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers was apparently incapable of. Which is patently silly.

          I understand completely that guns make great equalizers. That’s why I carry. I’m just pointing out that the optics of half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers needing “equalizing” because they’re not up to the task of moving a homeless guy off the sidewalk without losing their weapons all over the place… are kinda bad.

          Amy, you miss the point entirely. If you do not want to get shot it would probably be wise not to start fighting with the officers. Once you start actively resisting arrest and become physical, your life span should be considered minutes. He is not just some poor homeless dude.

          I see no issue here.

          No, Barry, you missed my point entirely.

          Sanddog in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 4, 2015 at 12:46 am

          When the “optics” are informed by Hollywood, you’re not dealing with reality. Cops aren’t allowed to deliver the kind of beat down that would subdue an out of control suspect. Instead, things get out of control and someone ends up getting shot.

          Barry in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 4, 2015 at 2:38 am

          Can’t reply directly so just continuing…

          “A mob of half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers can’t clear two weedy little homeless folks off the sidewalk without losing control of one weapon to them completely, and nearly losing control of another?”

          I read your “point” as those “big beefy burly” should not have to use deadly force for “two weedy little homeless folks”.

          Perhaps I am missing your point. What is it?

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 4, 2015 at 2:18 am

      Videos? Nah. The most we’ll get to see is Amy’s selfie of her dialing 9-1-1 in a panic when the $h!+ hits HER fan.

        inspectorudy in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | March 4, 2015 at 11:13 am

        I like coming to this site but have noticed the immature responses to people who have differing views like yours. If you have the facts then you don’t need insults. This also seems like a cop love site when many of us have qualms about the actions being taken by cops without much provocation. No one expects them to be supermen but there seems to be no options in their response except to shoot after any provocation. Have you ever had a cop slam your head down to put you into a squad car? Do you think that you might instinctively resist such an action? According to some of you, once you do resist then you can be shot. Maybe the job description for being a cop should require them to be a little beefier to combat the skinny homeless people they encounter. I have been on the other end of two bad cop exchanges, both their mistakes, and would not trust one as far as I could throw him.

          Grabbing a cop’s gun is not “instinctively resisting” being put in a patrol car.

          Be aggressively non-compliant to arrest, expect the police to escalate their use of force to compel compliance. It’s how making an arrest works. There’d hardly be a point to attempting an arrest if the suspect can simply decline arrest by resisting.

          Escalate your non-compliance to the point of grabbing a cop’s gun, expect to get shot. Period. It’s even worse than if you were reaching for your own gun, because you’re simultaneously arming yourself AND disarming him.

          None of this is rocket science, and none of it is changed in the slightest because there exists such a thing as a bad cop.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to inspectorudy. | March 4, 2015 at 6:37 pm

          Thank you for revealing the reason for your bias. I can now discount anything you have to say on the subject of LE conduct.

          “cop love site”

          You are not paying attention. The cops have been called out when it is shown they are bad. Most cases however are just the opposite. I call them as I see them. When the evidence is unclear, I give LEO’s the benefit of the doubt. But, when they are clearly a**holes, I call them just that.

          As far as I’m concerned, once you engage in a physical confrontation with an officer your life should be a short one.

    The nation’s police departments have been on a decades-long quest to marginalize the kinds of officers who have the aggressive temperament to go “hands-on” with any degree of effectiveness.

    The first few decades they (wisely) concentrated such men in specialized units–e.g., fugitive warrant squads.

    More recently, they’ve been aggressively driving them out of the force entirely.

    What that leaves the PD with is a bunch of cops who are simply incapable–in terms of temperament, experience, training and/or workplace incentives–to go hands-on with a violently non-compliant suspect with the degree of force necessary to conclude the interaction satisfactorily.

    The result is a lot of gun grab attempts–the bad guys are very much aware of who they have little to fear from many of the current generation of LEOs.

    Expect a sharp increase in cops shot with their own guns as the bad guys further refine their gun grabbing skills. It’s not all that hard to learn–I did it in an afternoon, and have seen prison surveillance video of criminals practicing the necessary techniques in prison.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Here’s the uncensored video:

      This doesn’t look like cops afraid to get hands-on. Watch the background while 2 cops deal with the idiot that picked up the night stick. One officer walks back to “Africa”, draws his gun, leans in, sticks it in the middle of the fight, and opens fire.

        Oofah, you’re just tiresome. You missed the repeated frantic cries of the officer just before shots are fired “He’s going for my gun! He’s going for my gun! He’s going for my gun!”?

        Yeah, that’ll get a bad guy shot. And for good reason. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        sequester in reply to JWB. | March 4, 2015 at 6:22 am

        In this Bloomfield New Jersey case, all charges against the defendant were dropped and three police officers have been indicted with one guilty plea so far.

        I think such behavior is far from the rule and more of an outlier. Not shown in the video is what the impetus was for the improper police behavoir.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to JWB. | March 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm

        Yep and what you can’t see is if the suspect is actually fighting for the officers gun, so basically we still don’t know anymore than we did and the evidence so far leans towards a very poor decision to try for a cops gun.

        Also, I have concerns about someone who would just assume that would just assume that a cops shooting of a suspect is murder because of the manner in which the cop fired the shot.

        Here is an alternate sequence of events for the cop that shot. He heard the very clear frantic cries of the officer that the suspect had his gun, he drew his weapon and moved to the confrontation, saw the suspect with the officers gun at least partially in his control, and he made the prudent and justified decision to stop the threat with deadly force.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 3, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      can you say “tune-up”?

      Yeah, look, I don’t envy the police in situations like that one bit. The whole idea that LA has so many homeless mentally ill and substance abusers allowed to legally camp out on their sidewalks at night, and that these police have been dragooned into the daily task of getting them to move come morning, no doubt copping verbal abuse from 99% of them, is no good. Someone, not the police, gave these people the idea that they had the “right” to #OccupySidewalk, but it’s the police who have to deal with the mess. Every. Single. Morning.

      And I take your point about the ways in which many police departments have changed. There don’t seem to be the same skills there, to either de-escalate a situation or to handle it “hands on” without having to resort to deadly force. But … no matter how much you generally appreciate and respect law enforcement (which I do! Our local Sheriff’s Dept is great!), clusterfrogs like this are just bad. optics.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Amy in FL. | March 5, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    As a “big beefy” guy, (well more big now than beefy if I am honest), I have worked with mentally ill drug users in the past and the reality is that sometimes when dealing with people who are on drugs and/or mentally ill, no sometimes 3 isn’t enough. No granted for my job we had to be more careful about not injuring the client than the cops did, but some of these guys you just can’t take down with less than 4 or 5 people. Its not their fault its just the way it is.

    I read a study by a psychiatrist once that postulated that humans are actually 3 to 4 times stronger than we can manifest because of the “cut outs” in our brain that keep us from doing things that will cause us injury. Now those “cut outs” can be overridden by endorphin surges and drugs.

    Endorphin surges are the stories you hear about people being able to lift cars off of loved ones.

    Drugs are those stories of guys on PCP or other drugs that take a obscene number of bullets to stop.

    the problem with the Mentally Ill drug abuser is that you have a combination of both.

    I had a patient that I was trying to just stop from moving forward, we weren’t trying to get him on the ground. I had control of his left arm and psych tech about my size had his right arm. The patient didn’t want to hurt us, but he wanted to get at another patient that he was angry with. I am 6’1″ and at the time about 250 lbs. the patient looked at me smiled and just lifted both arms, which took my and the psych techs feet 6 inches off of the ground and he just started moving forward. The only way I could have stopped him at that point would be to injure him, thankfully that wasn’t the case.

    I had one patient who while high on pot and cocaine decided he didn’t want to be arrested so he reached down and tore the drives side door off of a 1972 caddy and beat down 2 cops with it. He then put the door in the back seat, got in the caddy and left.

    Sometimes the numbers appear to be in the cops favor, but it just isn’t the case.

Well, THAT kinda represents a SOMEWHAT relevant piece of information.

NOT dispositive, but certainly suggestive….

    He was an illegal immigrant whom we had just let out of prison after 14 years, and we put him on probation rather than deporting him.

    Our system is broken in all sorts of ways.

      CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Weren’t you just complaining about the “optics” of the Police having to kill this bank robbing, pistol-whipping, gun-snatching illegal alien?

      So tell me, Amy…which is the worse optics, that the Police had to kill this guy or that he was out on the street in the first place?

        There is no inconsistency in my two statements.

        (1) Half a dozen big beefy burly professional law enforcement officers should be able to get one homeless guy to move his tent off the sidewalk without having to riddle him with bullets, and
        (2) We should deport any non-citizens who commit felonies on our soil the second they finish their prison sentences.

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm

          OK…since you still seem to be unclear on who this guy was….

          This guy was not just some “homeless guy whose tent was on the sidewalk”. He was a violent, thug, felon, with a warrant out for his arrest, who had just assaulted a homeless person and who violently resisted being arrested by the LAPD to the point of grabbing one of the officer’s guns.

          It should come as no surprise to any adult with any real world experience that sometimes those kinds of situations do not end well. In this case, thankfully, for the miscreant

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

          BTW, Amy…if you still have any questions, here is a still from the video that shows the “homeless guy with the tent” with his had on the officer’s gun, attempting to pull it from the holster.

          There is still no inconsistency in my two statements.

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 10:51 pm

          I actually never claimed that your two statements were inconsistent. Rather, my implication was that your first statement was clueless and that you were ill-informed. A view that you have not yet dispelled.

          Weren’t you just complaining about the “optics” of the Police having to kill this bank robbing, pistol-whipping, gun-snatching illegal alien?

          No, if you were calmer then you’d see that that’s not what I wrote.

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 3, 2015 at 11:15 pm

          LOL–I know what you wrote. You described the “bank robbing, pistol-whipping, gun snatching” felon (my description) as a “reedy little homeless guy” who needed to be moved off the sidewalk (your description)

          As clueless and/or dishonest a statement as one is likely to find of this situation.

          Calmez-vous, petit garçon. I say that I think the way this situation was handled “looks kinda bad”; you say “No it looks fine, you clueless dishonest ill-informed no-real-world-experience clueless-person!”. You are waaaaaaay too het up about this. Like it or not, citizens have the right to film the police, and like it or not the police and those who support them should be concerned about the optics of six-on-one pile-ons that end up like this one did.

          Police need as much community support as they can get. Stuff like this isn’t going to get them there, nor is verballing those who point that out.

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

          “…you clueless dishonest ill-informed no-real-world-experience clueless-person!” Well, at least you got that part right.

          I’m not “het up” about this at all. What I find interesting is your refusal to admit that the miscreant in this incident was much more than a “weedy homeless person” who was refusing to move his tent. Why don’t you admit the obvious? You shot your mouth off without knowing any of the facts about this situation and now stubbornly refuse to admit that the “optics” of this case look much less negative for the police than you originally intimated.

          When this perp’s background and the still of him attempting to grab the cop’s gun become widely known, the public will likely not question what the police were forced to do. Except, of course, a certain self-described “slightly built (and slightly clueless) female”.

          You’re still faced with the fact that six big strong professionally-trained law enforcement officers with clubs and tasers couldn’t subdue this one unarmed homeless dude and bring him to justice alive. That’s pretty sad really. And that’s going to be a lot of people’s takeaway on this.

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 4, 2015 at 2:02 am

          Well, that is a narrative that a few people will cling to.

          I predict many more will see this as a case of a violent felon, with an outstanding warrant, who had used a gun in the past, and who engaged in a violent struggle with police, ultimately having to be shot when he attempted to take a gun from one of the officers.

          Perhaps the media will find the women whom he pistol whipped during the bank robbery to tell the public just what an animal this thug really was. Not a lot of pathos in that, is there?

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 4, 2015 at 2:07 am

          “one unarmed homeless dude ”

          LOL–even now, when we know that this guy had a history of bank robbery and pistol whipping a female bank employee, the most that you can muster in describing this guy is “an unarmed homeless dude”. This really tells me all I need to know about your capacity for denial.

          Unless the police in this particular encounter were aware of the crime he committed 15 years ago, that point is moot. Plus, there were six of them, and he had no weapon unless they let him take one of theirs. Plus, “Oh my, this guy pistol-whipped a girl once, there’s no WAY six of us trained police officers could ever manage to take him alive!” Really?

          CalFed in reply to Amy in FL. | March 4, 2015 at 3:04 am

          “Unless the police in this particular encounter were aware of the crime he committed 15 years ago, that point is moot.”

          This is another example of your cluelessness.

          Legally, that may or may not be correct. But for the public, who is not interested in what is “moot” in a court of law, this cuts for the cops. Because it is another example of the dangers and uncertainties that they face. The public will see this as the officers being sent out to deal with what was assumed to be a “homeless dude” (to use your grossly ameliorative term) who had assaulted another homeless person and instead finding themselves dealing with a violent felon and fugitive with a history of thuggishness. And if you think that won’t be stressed by the Police and accepted by the public then you are even more clueless than you seem.

          The reality is that whenever officers have to go “hands on” with a resisting subject, there is a chance that the subject will get his hands on an officers firearm. It is not hard to do and convicts practice such techniques in prison. I’ve seen film of them doing it.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Amy in FL. | March 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Unhelpful to that is also jumping to conclusions based on one camera angle and the ravings of one biased bystander. It would behoove people to wait until they get a little more information before berating the police. I think we’ve seen how that played out in Ferguson.

The “weedy little homeless” guy who had robbed a bank and pistol whipped a teller a few years back.

Oh, and he had an active parole violation warrant outstanding.

    Sanddog in reply to CalFed. | March 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

    A violent felon who entered the United States illegally using stolen ID.

    This guy pretty much earned what he got.

How’bout a ‘Warning Shot’ through the head? Hey..Just saying…((-:

What a jerk this Anthony Blackburn character is. I just saw the video where he pretends to the news reporter that he would have been able to see if the arrestee had reached for any one of 5 officers’ guns in the midst of the wild action as he watched through his stupid little camera screen. (She asks if he was watching with his eyes or through the screen and he dodges her question.)

Presumably it is also the voice that can be heard screaming immediately in the video “Waaaaooooo,” a cry of CELEBRATION, before he starts saying over and over again “muthaf**ka, muthaf**ka, muthaf**ka” “there were nine muthaf***in cops. Ain’t no muthaf***in gun.” This scumbag was prepared on the instant to start slandering the police. What a piece of [email protected]

Yeah, that’s the guy to go with CNN. That was their OWN correspondent whose question he had dodged about whether he had actually been watching his camera screen, where he would not possibly have been able to discern anything, yet they promote him as a credible witness in the title to their piece.

Richard Aubrey | March 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

Couple of points: WRT optics; back in the day, I did some judo competition. One of the ways to win is to choke out the opposition, which I had to do in a fight, as well. That’s generally done by going against the carotids. I also got a win when an oppo tapped out when I did a legal hold against the larynx–which hurts. When a juiced up guy is flailing away and there are no rules against him going for, say, your eyes, it gets dicey and what it takes to put him down is going to be bad optics. If you’re choking him–see Eric Garner–you’ll be pulling and jerking and looking panicked, which looks like you’re trying to kill the guy, ie. really bad.
Rodney King wasn’t shot. The lengthy video looked okay, but the activists and the media shortened it to make the cops look bad.
Point is, physically restraining the guy isn’t going to improve the optics if the people watching want to make a point of having bad optics.
One thing the cops could do in a situation is for one or two to give other cops their guns and then they can get physical without the risk of losing their guns. Not gonna happen. The cops went hands-on for some reason. Perhaps department policy said not to use clubs in that situation.
It could be that one guy could restrain this clown by kicking him in the crotch, or breaking his knee with a kick, or getting a good shot at a punch to the belly, driving through to the parking meter three feet behind him. Easy enough. Optics?

Andrew, please, their minds are made up, don’t confuse them with the facts! :<)

Great review and excellent point about this female (?) grabbing a baton for no apparent reason. Many people will say "whats the big deal, it's only a baton, it's not like a gun…" War story from my night shift trainer when I was a rookie. He said "Mike, went to a report of a bar room fight, I was the first officer there, walked in and I never saw this coming. This dude punched me hard in the head three times and I was staggering. He was about to punch one more time and that would have knocked me out. I took my baton and almost cracked it over his head. Now Mike, what just happened?" I'm ashamed to say I didn't answer "Deadly force" and John explained how a strike against the head is "deadly force", and how he had to be investigated by Homicide, Internal Affairs, the DA and had to face a grand jury, which of course no billed him. If he was out, he would be helpless, with an aggressive man there there with access to his pistol, baton, and knife. Scary.

Allow me to enlighten some here on what transpires in a situation where several people are attempting to gain control of a actively resisting person, without injuring him.

Numerical superiority always looks to be a critical advantage in a physical altercation. However, this is not always the case. In such instances, the group is restrained from performing at peak effectiveness by their proximity to each other. They tend to get into the way of one another. It is also difficult to bring significant force to bear, upon the antagonist because of the lack of separation between the members of the group and their antagonist. And, the group has to be careful not to direct force against other members of the group. These deficiencies become even more marked when the group is forced to use a low level of force to satisfy public opinion. The lone antagonist is under no such restraints. In such incidents, the short term advantage rests with the lone antagonist, not with the group.

In this case, whether shooting the man was justified will come down to whether the man was actively trying to secure the officer’s firearm, to what degree was he successful, what other less lethal means of defeating his use of the officer’s firearm existed and was the officer who shot him in a position to be aware of the extent of control the man had of the officer’s firearm. That will all have to be determined. Fortunately we have the witness testimony of four officers, the footage of two lapel cams, third-party video and forensics evidence.

Henry Hawkins | March 4, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Legal Question:

Let’ say I get into a similar incident with police. If, during the struggle, I went for an officer’s wallet instead of his pistol, would they throw money at me?

Please respond before April 15th.

It seems Chris Rock’s “How to not get your ass kicked by the police” is instructional in this situation. Maybe he should update it to include “Don’t try to grab a cop’s gun” to go along with “Don’t fight the police” and “Get a white friend.”

Were I Plaintiff’s counsel, I would focus I would subpoena the shooting officer’s training records detailing the last time he took a course or was otherwise enrolled in a weapon retention training program. “Oh, Officer, the last time you had practice in a non-lethal approach to retaining your weapon in the face of a violent, disarm attempt was NEVER???? Hmmmm… as I look suggestively at the jury. LOL LOL

Second, apart from the issue of why you had your weapon already drawn – and we’ll get to that forthwith – can you detail for me the security features of your duty holster? Oh, a Level III? So, the likelihood is, is it not, that had your weapon remained in your holster, we wouldn’t be here now, would we?

Third: Officer, how tall are you? How much do you weight? I notice from your training record you have multiple hours of training in non-lethal defensive tactics, do you not? Oh, you don’t? Is it your Department’s policy not to train its officers in non-lethal defensive tactics?

Fourth: Officer, over what distance can you accurately fire your weapon? I notice in your training record that your course of fire requires a series of shots at 25 YARDS? And further that you qualified at that distance. Is that correct?

Fifth: but in your attempts to subdue the decedent, you were very up close and personal, were you not? And you were so because you had a reasonable belief based upon the totality of the circumstances that the decedent posed an imminent danger of grave bodily harm or death to the innocent, did you not?

Sixth: kindly detail for me and the jury, your perception of the decedent’s Ability, Opportunity and Manifest Intent that led to your conclusion that you or the public was in Imminent Danger of Grave Bodily Harm or death?

Seventh: Kindly detail for me your perception that your use of force was Reasonable, Proportional and Necessary given the threat level to which you were exposed.

Eight: ETC.

Distance is your friend, Officer. Slower pace of engagement is your friend, Officer. Training in weapon retention is your friend, Officer.

I am not a lawyer, not even in Obama’s administration (sic)

    “I am not a lawyer”

    No. Kidding.


    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Barry in reply to anthony. | March 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    “I am not a lawyer”

    No kidding. You’re not very bright either.

    rokiloki in reply to anthony. | March 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    So, by your logic, anthony, police should just not bother to show up at crime scenes and arrest dangerous criminals. No point in escalating the situation or risk hurting a violent criminal.

    And, should an officer find himself at a scene where a crime is taking place, he should slow the pace and think things through before acting. Potential victims and bystander will just have to take their chances, because an officer should keep his distance and slow his pace.

    Real bright, anthony.

Nice with the snark, Andrew. 🙂 🙂 What’s the old saw? When you can’t attack the argument, you attack the witness. 😀 😀 😀

    Barry in reply to anthony. | March 4, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    “When you can’t attack the argument…”

    The deranged always think they have some cogent argument. No need to attack that bullshit you posted. Better to attack the fools that write such crap.

    Works for me. I feel better.

    I especially liked the all-caps ETC.

    Masterful touch. Usually etc. is played at a lower key, but you really brought it. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Wow, Andrew and Barry, remarkably trenchant commentary. Got anything worthwhile to say? I’m all ears 🙂 🙂

    Barry in reply to anthony. | March 5, 2015 at 12:32 am

    I think the “old saw” applies:

    I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

    George Shaw

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Barry. | March 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      I like the Samuel Clements version; “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

The LAPD police chief gave a news conference describing what happened. There are several videos out there, and the chief said that the clearest audio he heard from all of the videos had one officer saying not “Drop the gun” but “He has my gun” at least twice. Photos of the officer’s gun showed that one round was in a “stovepipe” position, pointing straight up and holding the slide open, and the magazine had been released and was partially pulled out. This indicates that there was a struggle for the weapon, and that even if the homeless guy had pulled the trigger, the gun would not have fired. But it takes only one second to tap the magazine back in, rack the slide once, and you’re back in business and ready to shoot. So this is not the case of an unarmed victim – he was armed. Also, training is not the issue here. LAPD officers get some of the best training in the country, and these officers even had additional training to deal with “skid row” people.

As usual with almost all of these shootings, the dead person is, to use the medical term, “bat$h!t crazy,” and should not have been free to roam around in civilized society. It is easy to determine that this is the case, because sane people do not fight with police to the point where lethal force has to be employed. In the news conference, the LAPD police chief said “We feel great compassion in the LAPD for people who live in conditions of homelessness, and often, mental illness with no treatment. We prepare our officers to deal as best we can with them. But the reality is this is much more than a problem than the police alone can solve.”

The police should not have to solve these problems. The police and the general public should not be forced to deal with homicidal maniacs in their midst. This is the point that more and more people are starting to realize, but still we have activists who would rather blame the police than point out the real problem. This homeless guy obviously belonged behind bars in a mental institution, but instead he is in a coffin now, because we used police officers instead of mental health professionals to deal with him. Our mental health system is badly broken, and until it is reformed, there will be more and more of these tragedies.

    anthony in reply to Hal Jordan. | March 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    From Hal Jorday: “The police should not have to solve these problems. The police and the general public should not be forced to deal with homicidal maniacs in their midst. This is the point that more and more people are starting to realize, but still we have activists who would rather blame the police than point out the real problem. This homeless guy obviously belonged behind bars in a mental institution, but instead he is in a coffin now, because we used police officers instead of mental health professionals to deal with him. Our mental health system is badly broken, and until it is reformed, there will be more and more of these tragedies.”

    You, Sir, are correct!! Police should NOT have to solve these problems!!

    And such an approach is not without its issues.

Carol Herman | March 4, 2015 at 10:33 pm

Today Drudge had a headline. This man “Mr. Africa” had stolen ID. He served time in jail under the stolen ID name. But was released in 2014. The french have complained through their embassy that the “honest parisian” had his ID stolen by Mr. Africa back in the 1990’s. And, Mr. Africa traveled to the USA to settle here … Coming to Los Angeles for an ‘acting career.’ So he turned to bank robbery. And, got caught. Served time in jail under his assumed alias.

Sometimes Mr. Africa liked to be called “Cameroon.”

LukeHandCool | March 5, 2015 at 12:27 am

I work for LAPD.

When I was arriving at work yesterday at HQ (just a few blocks from the shooting), a guy on the previous shift in our unit was leaving on a break and told me, “Check out the messages by the entrance.”

Right in front of the glass doors to the entrance, scrawled in chalk on the courtyard, were various messages from activists, perhaps the nicest of which said, “Dorner was right!”

When I got up to the office I was told I’d missed all the excitement. One of the protestors had to be tackled inside our lobby.

Then it comes out today that this “gentle giant” robbed a bank in Thousand Oaks in 2000 and immigrated here through identity theft.

You’d think these protestors would check out just who they were hitching their wagon to before going whole hog.

    rokiloki in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 5, 2015 at 2:12 am

    It doesnt matter to these protesters. They are anti-police and anti-white. Woe be to anyone in both those categories.

    Keep up the good work, Luke. Dont let these useless idiots get you down.

Ha ha the downvote fairies are strong with this article.

Go for a cop’s gun, risk getting shot. I don’t really know how much more simply it can be put.

I’ve only ever heard of one person getting shot while in the Party Escort Position, and the BART cop who did it got 2 years for involuntary manslaughter and tried (unsuccessfully) to get reinstated as a cop once he got out.

    “Ha ha the downvote fairies are strong with this article.”

    Hahaha, how funny. 🙂

    Down votes.

    Who knew that was a thing? 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Yo, Andrew, I await with baited breath your painstaking forensic explication of this particular use of force. ETA?