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Laquan McDonald Video Not Dispositive of Police Criminal Misconduct

Laquan McDonald Video Not Dispositive of Police Criminal Misconduct

Whether video shows a crime remains to be proven.

About 13 months ago, on October 20, 2014, Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old 180-pound black male who was non-compliant with police orders and threatening Chicago police officers with a knife, was shot and killed by officer Jason Van Dyke, a white man.

Yesterday Chicago authorities, under orders from a judge, finally released some dash cam footage of the shooting. Concurrent with that impending release, prosecutors arrested Van Dyke and charged him with first degree murder. He is currently being denied bail.

Here’s the relevant portion of the police dash cam video that captured that shooting:

The release of the video has triggered the kind of hyperbole we’ve long since come to expect. I’m sure we can all recall the Ferguson narrative, later proven utterly false, of Mike Brown being shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson while Brown was on his knees, arms raised in surrender, begging for his life.

The claims around the McDonald share the same tone. Here’s a typical tweet:

Laquan McDonald tweet

And here’s how Yahoo News reported the event:

The clip showed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who authorities said was carrying a pocket knife [Ed.: the knife was in McDonald’s hand] and had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system, as he was gunned down in the middle of a street on Oct. 20, 2014.

McDonald is seen jogging away from patrol vehicles pursuing him from behind, and then veering off diagonally at a walk as two more officers pull up in a squad car ahead of him.

Two policemen are shown jumping out of their vehicle in the center of the road, and drawing their weapons while advancing toward McDonald, who continues to move away [Ed.: McDonald never takes even a full stride away from the officers.]. Within seconds he is struck by bullets, spins and crumples to the ground, his body jerking as he is hit by additional rounds of gunfire [Ed.: It is not possible to tell from the video if the movements of his body were voluntary or the result of being struck by pistol rounds].

In fact, based on the available evidence–the dash cam video and the autopsy report–it is simply impossible to definitely conclude that Officer Van Dyke committed the crime of murder in the first degree.  Indeed, both the video and the autopsy report are entirely consistent with the lawful use of force by Van Dyke.

Let’s take a look at the video and the autopsy report and see why this is so.

Meet the Tueller Drill

Before we do, however, it’s also important to provide some tactical context, as it is within this context that the officers made their decision to use deadly force upon the non-compliant and knife-armed McDonald.

There is a sentiment being expressed “by some” that somehow there exists a great disparity in the lethality of a handgun and the lethality of a knife.  In fact, at close quarters a knife is arguably a more lethal instrument than is a gun.

There has also been expressed the notion that because McDonald was not within arm’s reach of the police officers that he represented no imminent deadly threat.  This notion is, of course, the result of ignorance.

I expect every police officer in the country has been taught a defensive doctrine called the Tueller Drill.  The Tueller Drill was developed by Salt Lake City Police Officer Dennis Tueller, who among other things was a firearms instructor for his department.

Dennis trained uniformed police officers who were armed with pistols and who regularly encountered violent suspects armed with impact weapons, particularly knives.

He recognized that a knife wielder standing beside an officer could surely stab that officer before the officer could clear his pistol from his holster and engage the attacker with fired rounds.

Dennis also recognized, however, that at some greater distance an impact-weapon armed attacker would be too far to constitute an imminent threat to police officer.  Absent an imminent threat, the officer would not be justified in using deadly force upon the attacker.

That begged the question, then, of what distance became the threshold at which an impact-weapon armed attacker did constitute an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm such that the officer would be justified in using deadly force. Was that distance 5 feet? 10 feet? 15 feet?

Dennis knew a pretty good time for an officer to clear his weapon from his holster and strike a target with two center-mass rounds was about 1.5 seconds.  Once that time is known, the question of interest becomes how great a distance an attacker armed with an impact weapon can cross in that same 1.5 seconds.  Whatever that distance, the aggressor became an imminent threat for self-defense purposes once he crossed that threshold.

After running a great many empirical tests, Dennis found that the distance that an impact-weapon armed attacker could  cross from a standing start in 1.5 seconds was not just 5 feet, or 10 feet, or 15 feet.  Rather, such an aggressor could consistently cross a distance of 21 feet, a full 7 yards, in the 1.5 seconds it would take the typical officer to draw his holster and engage that aggressor with aimed fire.

That suggested that an aggressor armed with an impact weapon becomes an imminent deadly threat even when he was as far away as 21 feet–a distance that astonished even many experienced law enforcement officers.

To my knowledge the Tueller Drill and its findings are taught in every police academy, and every police officer on the street should be assumed to be aware of the Tueller Drill and its implications in encountering an aggressor armed with an impact weapon such as a knife.

Here’s a ~1 minute video that illustrates the Tueller Drill in the context of a holstered gun in defense and a knife in attack:

And in case that exercise wasn’t sufficiently convincing on how effective a knife can be against even a prepared and well-armed police officer, here’s a video of an actual confrontation between an aggressive and motivated knife-wielding attacker and several armed police officers, some of whom were armed with long guns. (CAUTION: Not all of these officers survive the encounter, and there’s plenty of blood, so if you’re sensitive to such things you may wish to defer viewing.):

Every police officer who confronted the knife-wielding Laquan McDonald on that Chicago street would have knowledge of the Tueller Drill and thus would have recognized that McDonald was well within range to constitute an imminent deadly threat to the officers.

They would also have been aware, through both training and experience, of how deadly a knife can be even against gun-armed police officers fully prepared for a physical confrontation.

The Laquana McDonald Dash Cam Video in Context

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the dash cam video of the interaction between the Chicago police, especially Officer Van Dyke, and Laquan McDonald.  As you do I want to suggest you keep a few points in mind:

(1) McDonald was brandishing a knife in his right hand as he walked down the middle of the street while facing numerous police officers.  It must be assumed that he was being non-compliant with lawful orders to drop the knife, get on the ground, and the usual law enforcement protocols for such circumstances.  Note that the police have a legal duty to enforce public safety, and cannot simply allow a knife-wielding PCP addict to wander up and down the public streets.  Only one person was making a free choice that evening, and that was McDonald.  He chose, as they say, poorly.

(2) McDonald does not walk directly away from the officers, but rather angles no more than necessary to keep a distance of 10-12 feet (typical width of a car lane) between the officers and himself.   This is well within the 21 foot distance that these officers would have been taught as part of their Tueller Drill training.  At a distance of 10-12 feet the knife armed McDonald could be on the officers stabbing them with his knife in well under a second. Officer Van Dyke would be well aware of both this fact and the grievous injuries that a knife can cause.

(3) The moment before the first shot appears to be fired McDonald is walking down the dashed-white line of the road, thus parallel to the officers, and he suddenly blades his upper body towards the officers. This movement would be consistent with an intent to charge at the officers with his knife.  It is quite possibly this threatening movement, knife still in McDonald’s hand, that induced Van Dyke to begin firing.

(4) Officers are taught to continue firing at a deadly threat until the threat has been neutralized.  Even after McDonald fell to the ground he was still in control of his movements and he still possessed the knife, thus he was still an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm to any officer who got close enough.

(5) Neither I nor the outraged activists can possibly know, based solely on that dash cam video, whether an officer was close enough to McDonald to be in imminent danger of his knife because the angle of the dash cam changed such as to obscure the entire scene of the incident where the police were located.  An officer could have been within two feet of the still-armed McDonald, perhaps approaching to handcuff the suspect, when the last pistol round was fired at McDonald.  We just don’t know, not from this video.

(6) At some point an officer approaches close enough to McDonald to finally kick the knife away from the suspect.  This is the first time in the encounter that McDonald has been disarmed of his deadly weapon.  There is no evidence that any additional rounds were fired after the moment that McDonald was finally divested of his deadly weapon.

With that in mind, here’s the relevant portion of the dash cam video once again:

Again, might additional evidence emerge that’s damning to the narrative of justification of Officer Van Dyke? Certainly. And with new evidence, one makes a new analysis.

This video, however, does not in and of itself clearly demonstrate that McDonald was killed in an act of first degree murder by Officer Van Dyke.  Indeed, the video is also completely consistent with a lawful use of force by Van Dyke, in the (as yet unknown) totality of the circumstances.

This remains true, incidentally, with the additional evidence of the autopsy report, which I’ve embedded below.

Bottom line, even the combination of the video and the report do not exclude the possibility that McDonald–on PCP, brandishing a knife, non-compliant with lawful police orders, and turning as if to charge the officers standing

I look forward to more evidence being released in this case.

The Dog That Didn’t Bark in the Night

As an aside I also note the curious sudden statements by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Yesterday she was citing the dash cam video as dispositive evidence that Officer Van Dyke acted unlawfully.

It is notable that Attorney Alvarez has been the Cook County State’s Attorney since 2008. While the dash cam video showing McDonald’s shooting may be new to the general public, it was certainly accessible to Attorney Alvarez in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, more than a year ago.

Given the political dynamics of any incident in which a white officer shoots a black suspect, especially one who is not yet a legal adult, it is unimaginable that Attorney Alvarez did not bother to look at the dash cam video until yesterday. Assuming she did view the video as long as a year ago, for the past year Alvarez has perceived no reason to bring any criminal charges whatever against Officer Van Dyke.

Until yesterday, when she charged him with 1st degree murder, 13 months after the event.

Things that make you go hmmmm.

The System: It’s Working

Finally, one parting thought. Even assuming the worst of Officer Van Dyke, even assuming that he viciously murdered Laquan McDonald under color of law, I note that the officer has, in fact, been charged with 1st degree murder, and he is being brought to trial to be held to account for his use of deadly force.

The system, in other words, is working.

And here’s the autopsy report, as promised:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Attorney Andrew Branca and his firm Law of Self Defense have been providing internationally-recognized expertise in American self-defense law for almost 20 years in the form of blogging, books, live seminars & online training (both accredited for CLE), public speaking engagements, and individualized legal consultation.
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Comments

Not only could the perp cross that distance, there is a possibility that the said perp could throw that knife and hit the officer in the chest in less time. A flying knife can cover a considerable distance and still lodge in the officer’s chest. That is quite possible, if the perp had any kind of practice at throwing knives.

    Ragspierre in reply to Stan25. | November 26, 2015 at 8:02 am

    You’re imputing rational thinking to a kid (reputedly) on PCP.

    He could do anything with that knife, practiced or not. He doesn’t need to know how to throw a knife. He just needs to be lucky if he does throw it.

Matthew Carberry | November 25, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Saw some comments to the effect the sole 1st Deg charge was deliberate attempt to get acquittal. Looked up the IL jury instructions, looks like “Guilty of 2nd Deg” is automatically included as an option w/ a 1st Deg charge.

    Juries don’t usually do lesser charges. Frequently when a prosecutor has blatantly overcharged a case they throw the whole thing out.

    Bullshit prosecutor overcharge is exactly how we end up with things like Casey Anthony walking free on all charges.

      That’s not been my experience. Jurors do lesser included charges all the time. It’s a standard part of the jury instructions. I doubt jurors even know it’s a lesser included charge, it’s just one of the alleged crimes that they consider in deliberations.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Incredibly stupid florida jury is how Casey Anthony walked

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Gary Britt. | November 26, 2015 at 3:09 am

        That and a complete lack of conclusive evidence. Yea, I believe that she is guilty as all hell, but that doesn’t matter, there just wasn’t enough evidence.

          While there was no direct evidence there was more than enough circumstantial evidence to find Anthony guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter imho.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

          @ Gary Britt

          I am pretty sure that you don’t want to live in a place where “circumstantial evidence” is the standard for conviction.

          Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

          @Gremlin1974

          You already do. Circumstantial evidence is enough for conviction in every common-law jurisdiction in the world.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 26, 2015 at 7:38 pm

          @ Milhouse

          Oh I realize that people are convicted on circumstantial evidence, but it is still not the “standard”.

          Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 27, 2015 at 4:33 am

          Yes, Gremlin1974, it is the legal standard. People aren’t convicted on circumstantial evidence by accident, or by rogue jurors; in every case where it’s relevant the judge instructs the jury that if they find the circumstantial evidence puts the defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, they must convict.

      Matthew Carberry in reply to Olinser. | November 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      In the jury instructions it is not called a “lesser included.” The jury is instructed they may find the defendant – Not Guilty of First Deg Murder, Guilty of First Deg Murder, or Guilty of Second Deg Murder.

      In my layman’s experience jurys appear to often “compromise” on verdicts if given a middle choice. It’s part of my problem with apparent overcharging by prosecutors, gives them a reduced bite at a guilty verdict even if it doesn’t “persuade” a plea deal prior.

Anyone who has run the Tueller knows most people can cross 20 feet in about the same or less than a second. However with guns drawn and alert to the threat the distance becomes less of an issue… unless the cops close the distance … which they did. My issue is the continuing to shot someone when they are down…. at that time they have no Ability to cause bodily harm, no Opportunity to cause bodily harm and no Jeopardy to the cops for bodily harm. Once down… the person is not a threat with a knife. Emptying the magazine takes time and continuing to pump rounds into this guy when down is more than a bit much. This is much like continuing to beat a subdued perp. The question is when shooting for self defense turns into assured death regardless of the situation. Frankly, the actions of the other cops not to shoot will play into this as they showed prudent restraint.

    The other cops not firing doesn’t mean much–there are many reasons they might not have fired. Different angles of fire, different backstops, less confidence in shooting ability, slower on the trigger, locked up from stress, didn’t want to be a white cop who shot a black guy, etc., etc., etc.

    Plenty of cops are killed by perps on the ground. Plenty of suspects pretend to be hurt then re-enter the fight. To suggest that a man on the ground with a knife in hand is incapable of causing death or great bodily harm is just silly. That’s only true so long as a cop is not within arms reach. Can’t tell that from this video.

    Firing 16 rounds from a semiauto pistol takes less than three seconds. McDonald remained in possession of his knife for longer than 3 seconds from the first shot.

    Cops are not only allowed to “close the distance,” it’s what we pay them for. If they were just going to run away from a junkie wandering the streets brandishing a knife they might as well just hire a middle-aged lawyer for the job.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      alaskabob in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      There is no pressing need to approach the downed guy. Again, he was not going anywhere after his lead tasering. At the beginning of the shooting, the cops were at grave risk since the guy had the ability to cause bodily harm, the opportunity to do it and the cops were in jeopardy (shorthand “AOJ”)to warrant use of deadly force. I too can empty a 15 round magazine in 3 seconds. What is the usual hit ratio these days… 1 in 4… depending on range? But my point is once the shooting starts… when does it end? I would say when the subject is obviously incapacitated… not when assuredly mortally wounded. In hunting dangerous game in Africa an anchoring shot when down is a good choice since it is the dead ones that kill you….. maybe the narrative can be changed to the officer was using anchoring shots?

        Police also get accused of murder because they “failed to provide aid.”

        Sitting back and having a smoke while McDonald bleeds out in the street was not going to lessen in any meaningful way the “killer police” accusations.

        The cops do NOT get to just sit back and wait things out. We pay them to be proactive. If we wanted the police to just sit and wait, then ANYBODY could do the job.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          alaskabob in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 12:11 am

          I understand necessary leeway, but how much is needed in reality? Again my question is “when is enough …enough?” Damned if you do or don’t but it is a bad visual to have the guy on the ground in a split second, laid out and still being shot…. and it does take time to accurately empty a magazine. Can the allowed endpoint always be an assured death for the suspect? It will interesting to see how prosecution handles this. Thank you for your points on this self defense case. I will look forward to following this from your insight.

          alaskabob in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 12:22 am

          One final concern…. I hope the cop emptied the handgun in one continuous fire…. any stopping, “re-assessing” and resuming shooting while the guys is down could reinforce the murder charge.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 3:20 am

          “I hope the cop emptied the handgun in one continuous fire”

          He did, but of course they are saying now that the fact that he reloaded his pistol after emptying it is somehow indicative of him murdering the kid. You know it couldn’t be that it is just the smart thing to do.

          http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/shot-laquan-mcdonald-emotionless-court-arrival-article-1.2445077

          Also, most of those 16 rounds were fired before the kid went down. You can see a couple of rounds miss and hit the concrete of the road. So while a couple of rounds may have come after he was down, the vast majority of them were already in route before he ever fell.

          My question his how was he hit 16 times, this cop must be the Jessie James of the CPD, or was more than one cop shooting?

          How could shots fired at him before he went down have hit him on the ground? Surely they would have passed through where his torso used to be, and hit the ground farther on. No, Van Dyke must have (correctly) followed him down automatically with his gun, and kept firing at his new position. Whether he did so consciously is another question, but he should be expected to have controlled himself and stopped shooting as soon as his brain registered that the target was not currently a threat.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 7:40 pm

          @ Milhouse

          “Van Dyke must have (correctly) followed him down automatically with his gun, and kept firing at his new position.”

          Which is what I actually meant but I was tired and not being very clear.

Got to disagree a bit with the professor. Officer before firing already had his gun drawn and aimed at perp for several seconds at least before he fires first shot so he could fire in far less than 1.5 seconds and safe distance was therefore far less than 20 feet. Second once he fires first two shots suspect drops to ground and is no longer any threat. Additional shots should not have been fired at that point imho.

    Sure, the gun was out, so “Tueller Distance” WAS less than 21 feet. At time first shot fired McDonald was about 10 feet away. That addresses THAT.

    Notion that a man armed with a knife is harmless just because he’s on the ground is silly. McDonald was still moving, still armed with the knife, no magic spell was keeping him from slashing any cop within reach, no way for us to know from that video whether a cop WAS within reach.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      DouglasJBender in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 25, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      At that point, after McDonald had fallen to the ground and was apparently not capable of rising (but still moving), wouldn’t it have been reasonable and prudent of the cops, if they still feared for their own safety as they approached, to remain at a relatively-safe distance and fire a taser instead of a gun?

      I believe that there was a magic spell affecting him while he was down. It was the magic of at least two bullet holes. I believe the video shows no officer or other person was in danger after perp was down and all shots fired after he was down were for sure improper. The initial shots are questionable and might go either way. Just my lay opinion.

        Did you watch the video of the knife attack on the multiple officers? That aggressor managed to knife officers after being hit by multiple rounds.

        You might also read up on the 1980s Miami FBI shootout, where a criminal struck mortally through the heart with a 9mm round still managed to kill several agents thereafter.

        Bullets are not magic, and people who are shot can and do still kill.

        Facts. They burn.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          I understand not all bullet wounds are magic but video clearly shows to me the bullet wounds to McDonald were magic. It is clear in video he wasn’t getting back up and wasn’t deadly danger. I think this officer is in big trouble.

          Now you’re just being silly, Gary. Whether or not Laquan could have gotten up and stabbed an officer is known only in hindsight. The officers on the scene have to be prepared for what COULD REASONABLY happen PROSPECTIVELY, not what they might have known had actually happened RETROSPECTIVELY. They don’t have a time machine.

          After the fact, EVERYBODY knows what was going to happen.

          I be there’s a phrase for that. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gary, as Mr. Branca stated, there is no magic in a bullet.

          There is, however, a psychological reaction to being shot, which varies from person to person, but a common one is to assume, “I’ve been shot — I must be dead,” whereafter the person collapses. This phenomenon occurs regardless of the location or the actual severity of the wound. Only after hitting the ground do they realize they’re OK.

          It’s possible McDonald had this reaction and was a continued danger from the ground; I can’t tell from the video where he was hit before collapsing, and the PCP makes it even more of a wild card.

          Would you be willing to bet your life, or those of your fellow officers, on that possibility?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 3:29 am

          “It is clear in video he wasn’t getting back up and wasn’t deadly danger.”

          That’s interesting because the Autopsy report disagree’s with you, and that is not a “lay opinion” that is a 20 year in medicine opinion. None of the wounds that the kid suffered was immediately fatal, nor necessarily debilitating, heck not even shock can be a given, especially since it seems he was high on PCP, which can allow people to completely ignore wounds that would normally be fatal and/or debilitating.

          Also, since physic’s works, like I said above maybe 5 rounds hit him when he was down however the vast majority of them would have either already hit or have already been in flight.

          Also from the direction of travel given in the autopsy report it would seem that most of the bullets hit him as he was falling, not after he had hit the ground.

          I think that once he was down there was no longer deadly danger to officers or public and police didn’t have to approach immediately. I haven’t seen any former police officer say anything other than it was not a good shooting. In fact most say the video shows a very bad uncalled for shooting. Again I think the first shots were questionable and all shots after he was down were improper. I think there is something wrong with police training that teaches them to empty their gun once they fire first shot in all circumstances.

          Take Darren Wilson versus Michael Brown which was a good shooting. Wilson paused his shooting when it appeared Brown had stopped charging. When Brown appeared to resume charge he then opened fire again. This video does not show imho a righteous shooting. It is not Michael Brown and if I a strong supporter of police and law and order find this shooting a problem then I guarantee you this officer is in deep do doo.

          Gremlin, Gary is right that it’s clear from the video that he wasn’t getting up. Not that he couldn’t get up, or that he wouldn’t get up, but that he wasn’t. Van Dyke would have been perfectly correct to worry that he might get up, and to keep his gun trained on him, ready to shoot him again the moment he began to get up; but he was not justified in shooting while he was down and showing no sign of rising.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          @ Milhouse

          Actually, the video is not at all clear on what actions McDonald was capable of taking after he went down. I have been in Medicine for 20 years and I can’t tell you what he was and wasn’t capable of doing. So here is how I look at it, I have had to testify professionally in court more than 150 times and I ask myself; “Would I be willing to tell a judge that McDonald was down and wasn’t getting up?” My immediate answer is not only no but hell no.

          Also, it isn’t like the officer fired, then let him fall to the ground, then resumed shooting. He fired in a single action following his target to the ground, that is a difference. I might agree with you if there had been a pause but from everything I have read it was a single string of fire that lasted right around 3 seconds.

        Milhouse in reply to Gary Britt. | November 27, 2015 at 4:44 am

        Actually, the video is not at all clear on what actions McDonald was capable of taking after he went down

        Did you even read what I wrote? Why are you prattling on about what actions he was capable of taking? Nobody said anything about them. They are not in the least relevant.

        “Would I be willing to tell a judge that McDonald was down and wasn’t getting up?” My immediate answer is not only no but hell no.

        What the *** has your medical expertise got to do with the price of fish? Why would anyone ask your medical opinion on whether McDonald was or wasn’t getting up? It’s not a medical question, and you are no more expert on the subject than anyone with eyes who has seen the video. There is no question that he wasn’t getting up. You or anyone else could tell a judge that, and the judge could see it for herself. Whether he could get up is an entirely different question, which the judge would not be asking you because it isn’t relevant.

        Also, it isn’t like the officer fired, then let him fall to the ground, then resumed shooting. He fired in a single action following his target to the ground, that is a difference.

        And that is precisely the problem. He shoudln’t have done that, and he was at least criminally negligent in doing it. He had a duty to keep assessing the situation and to stop firing as soon as he noticed that the target was no longer an immediate threat. He failed in that duty.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | November 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm

          LMAO, so you are actually saying that what he is “capable” of doing after being shot isn’t relevant to whether he is still a threat or not?

          “There is no question that he wasn’t getting up.”

          Not true and you don’t know that.

          “Whether he could get up is an entirely different question, which the judge would not be asking you because it isn’t relevant.”

          Could and capable are basically the same thing and what he could do it completely relevant to whether he could still be considered a threat.

          “And that is precisely the problem. He shoudln’t have done that, and he was at least criminally negligent in doing it. He had a duty to keep assessing the situation and to stop firing as soon as he noticed that the target was no longer an immediate threat. He failed in that duty.”

          Your just wrong. I realize that you want to convict this officer out of hand, but I would ask that you be more objective in your thinking. Also, I think you ask for a level of clarity that is just unreasonable in a high stress situation that lasted about 2 to 3 seconds. But whatever.

      We are dealing with a total elapsed time in seconds, as well. Once the determination to use deadly force is made, there is no direct reason to cease fire after X number of shots.

      It’s the usual case of Monday Morning Quarterbacking. In hindsight, we all imagine ourselves calm, collected, without the Adrenaline boost, making calculated decisions in split seconds as if in slow motion. Never a dropped pass, never an interception.

    Also, I’m NOT a professor, and Professor Jacobson did not write this post. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Olinser in reply to Gary Britt. | November 25, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    He didn’t just randomly open fire. The suspect had his non-knife hand concealed in his pocket, and made a sudden jerking movement (spinning around), pulling his hand out of his pocket.

    When any law enforcement officer has a gun pointed at you telling you to show him your hands or drop a weapon you are carrying, and you make a sudden jerking movement, you are more than likely going to get shot.

    I see nothing in this video that is going to convict the officer of 1st degree murder.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Gary Britt. | November 26, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Although what you say (that the officer had gun in hand, and could fire before the subject closed the distance) is true, that’s no guarantee that the officer could 1.) hit the subject (not all rounds fired in anger strike the target; and 2.) stop the subject from successfully attacking him. Many a knife wielder has been hit by gunfire and still succeeded in mortally wounding the person who just mortally wounded him – the situation can become one of who bleeds out first.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to DaveGinOly. | November 26, 2015 at 3:33 am

      People on PCP have survived gunshot wounds and still killed officers while unarmed. If the cops new he was on PCP before hand that could be a major factor in decision making.

What I see is that a thug with a knife first running from, then ignoring officers telling him to drop his weapon, then making a sudden jerking move (spinning around).

Big surprise he got shot. /sarcasm

They had this video a year ago. Rahm Emanual buried it until well after his election. Now he’s trying to look ‘tough’ on the police. And it is going to backfire spectacularly because this is another politically motivated bullshit overcharge by a prosecutor.

In the absence of further evidence there is absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY this officer is going to get convicted of first degree murder. Manslaughter you could definitely make a strong case for, maybe even 2nd degree. But 1st degree murder?

Just like every other prosecutor who tried for a bullshit charge, they are going to be totally unable to prove it and he’s going to walk on everything, instead of staying with a safe charge and getting a conviction.

Harken back to an earlier incident where an officer in a car faced an armed suspect…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tffClOaELS4

Where was Officer Rapiejko when the CPD needed him?

PCP is evil stuff. I wouldn’t have any special confidence that first bullet, or the first four bullets, would take someone on PCP down at ten feet before he could fillet me. I would hope not. But I wouldn’t be sure.

(4) Officers are taught to continue firing at a deadly threat until the threat has been neutralized. Even after McDonald fell to the ground he was still in control of his movements and he still possessed the knife, thus he was still an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm to any officer who got close enough.

Andrew, Eric Raymond takes issue with this item in your list. He agrees that this was not first-degree murder, but in his expert opinion:

What he should have done was stopped to assess, realized that even if McDonald was trying to get to his feet that was not going to happen fast enough to put anyone in imminent danger, and stopped firing unless and until McDonald again became immediately dangerous.

Lethal force is a terrible tool. People who use it, whether cops or civilians, must show restraint and good judgment. Van Dyke was, at best, lethally careless.

On the plain evidence of this video, what we have here is a criminally negligent homicide; manslaughter or possibly second-degree murder.

And if it is true that other cops conspired to cover it up, they should be prosecuted too.

    It’s not a small problem that practically five minutes after the video was released, the officer was charged with 1st degree to mollify the street, and 1st degree has a disturbingly high chance of not sticking. The after the fact “he lunged” testimony looks really bad, unjustified by the video, so it can be presented as evidence of guilt… but not evidence of premeditation. So it not being first-degree murder, but that having been the charge…. yeah, it’s not a small problem or an afterthought here.

    Hindsight is 20-20.

    I expect we’ll learn that Van Dyke was trained that once a suspect presented an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm they were to be engaged with deadly force until that threat was neutralized.

    There is no evidence of even ONE shot being fired at McDonald after he was relieved of his knife. All shots were fired while McDonald was armed with the knife, and still conscious and moving.

    Whether there was an officer within reach of that knife at any particular time is not currently known based on the released videos, because the framing of the videos do not permit such an assessment. Thus it remains quite possible that the successive shots fired at McDonald at on the ground may have well been warranted. The videos so far released are not dispositive on the issue.

    And that IS the issue.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

If a civilian shot McDonald, would he/she have been charged? I would appreciate seeing the same standard for both cops and civilians. You don’t shoot at someone angling away from you who is at that moment not presenting an imminent threat. If the person moves towards you, by all means stop them but come on.. they had 4 freaking units present and it seems they were tired of dealing with him.

    I was going to give a long leash to interpretations like this, but since I’ve finally watched the video… at the least, he wasn’t angling away anymore at the time the officer opened fire. I’m still intensely annoyed at the apparent officer testimony that there was a “lunge”, but yeah, if they had indications he was on drugs (and I imagine they did), a man drugged up with a knife is a gigantic threat at ten-odd feet. The word “imminent” is actually pretty appropriate, short of “actual” and “active”, but right on the verge.

    But, it seems they lied about some important stuff after the fact and that’s hard to ignore.

    “If a civilian shot McDonald, would he/she have been charged? I would appreciate seeing the same standard for both cops and civilians.”

    That’s just silly. Society distinguishes between cops and civilians for a reason. Cops are the people we PAY TO ENGAGE VIOLENT CRIMINALS. Civilians have no legal duty to secure the public safety (and I personally discourage them from attempting to do so), but the people we hire as police DO have such a duty. It’s WHY WE’RE PAYING THEM.

    If we don’t want cops to engage with violent predators brandishing a knife on a public way, what’s the point of having cops at all? Why not just have the local grocer wear the badge and run away from the assailant? Or, for that matter, a middle-aged small-town MA lawyer?

    Because when the person on the other end of the street from that knife-wielding PCP-using nut job is your wife or daughter, you probably HOPE that SOMEBODY is willing to answer the 911 call and step between them and stop the violence.

    That person is very likely to be the very police officer so many now seem to expect to run away from the knife.

    How AWESOME is THAT?

    🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      “Society distinguishes between cops and civilians for a reason.”

      Unless they’re Military Police, cops *ARE* civilians.

        SRaher in reply to 2KC. | December 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        When talking about the military, “civilian” means “not military.”
        When discussing the police, “civilian” means “non-cop.”

Before reading this post I thought that because the Chicago officers had their guns drawn that maybe that meant the distance was no longer much of a factor, and thus the Laquan shooting was unjustified.

But after watching that video (the one in Spanish) of the guy taking out what looks like 5 officers, some with guns drawn, just with a knife, I have to reconsider.

A madman high on PCP with a knife appears to be gravely dangerous and maybe the police had an obligation to neutralize that threat to the safety of the community.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to BillyHW. | November 26, 2015 at 3:48 am

    I have seen that video before and if I am remembering correctly (which means I am probably wrong) I believe there were 5 officers, he managed to wound 4 of the 5, 2 of those died. I can’t remember what happened to captain ginsu, but as the video shows he was still alive several minutes after being shot multiple times.

First degree murder is a stretch. It requires premeditation — as in, pre-planning — does it not?

Short of telling his buddies before heading out on patrol, “I’m going to shoot the next armed black man I see,” it’s hard to imagine that one sticking.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Archer. | November 26, 2015 at 3:51 am

    Andrew can address this more, but I read in a couple of articles that in Illinois “premeditation isn’t required for 1st degree murder. What I understand is that premeditation opens up the possibility of the death penalty. Once again, that is hearsay so if one of the Lawyers want’s to correct my ignorance, please feel free.

    Premeditation ≠ Pre-planning.

    Premeditation can happen in an instant, and the use of a deadly weapon is almost always sufficient to establish premeditation.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 26, 2015 at 7:55 am

      We’ve talked about this before.

      I hate that the use of the term has been so bastardized over time. Historically, it was premeditation (in the sense you gave deliberate thought to killing someone) that justified the enhancement from “plain old murder”.

      I wonder if the British have allowed the idea to be so corrupted?

      About premeditation — many seem to forget that the element of malice must also be proven.

      A police sniper zeroing in on a bad guy who is holding some innocent person hostage with a knife at their throat certainly premeditates his kill shot while he’s looking and waiting for that clear chance to let the bullet fly. He’s going for the headshot, most likely, so there’s no point quibbling about whether or not his intent is to kill or not(we could go ’round and ’round as far as merely stopping the threat vs. killing, but come on, it’s a kill shot).

      Same for a concealed-carrying mother whose child has been snatched away by a psychotic bad guy who yells that he’s going to toss the kid off the nearby freeway overpass into traffic. She chases him down, premeditating the opportunity for her kill shot. If the guy is crazed enough to do what he declares he intends to do, you cannot blame the mother for immediately intending to kill him(again, killing him equates to reasonably stopping the threat, because for her to even be legally required to consider other options, such as a warning shot or aiming to merely disable, would be too much to ask given the urgency of such a situation).

      So just because someone intentionally kills with premeditation does not necessarily amount to murder. Malicious intent has to be a distinct aspect, also.

I think people are missing something here.

From Brown vs United States
“Moreover, if the last shot was intentional and may seem to have been unnecessary when considered in cold blood, the defendant would not necessarily lose his immunity if it followed close upon the others while the heat of the conflict was on, and if the defendant believed that he was fighting for his life.”

So he may only needed to fire two shots. He still gets a pass for a few more shoots. So let us say that he is in the clear on the first five shots.

In the autopsy there are two things that are undetermined. The order of the shots, and the lethality of each shots. The gist is that if the first few shots were justified, there is reasonable doubt that the other shots killed McDonald, since there is a possibility that it was a justified shot that killed him.

That would leave other minor charges, like unlawful discharge of a weapon, and maybe desecration of a dead body by shooting it. Desecration, one only if Illinois has such a law.

I think a similar argument was used in the trial of the Cleveland cop who jumped on the hood of a car.

Why would any police officer get out of her or his patrol car to confront a knife-wielding in certain parts of town in the future? Police accept risks to their life and limb from criminals as part of the job. Is part of the job the threat to life limb, freedom and family from politicians and their trained attack-dog prosecutors? That they are still doing their job says something about the type of people who trying to protect society from the criminals.

Where in the autopsy report does it say he was on PCP (or any other drug?)?

    Ragspierre in reply to 2KC. | November 26, 2015 at 8:11 am

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-police-shooting-16-shots-met-20150414-story.html

    I think that MAY be a pretty accurate rendition of the facts. You can drill down into them, if you’ve a mind to.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to 2KC. | November 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    The toxicology screen attached to the autopsy above does not show PCP, of course it didn’t test for PCP either. It has been widely reported that he had PCP in his system and that there is toxicology results to back that up.

      “It has been widely reported that…”

      It had also been “widely reported that” George Zimmerman was a racist and shot Trayvon Martin in cold blood and had no injuries. Just because something is “widely reported” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be skeptical and ask to see the actual report.

      “…there is toxicology results to back that up.”

      They released the autopsy report, where is the missing toxicology attachment?

      I could absolutely believe that this young man had PCP on board, but it would be easier to believe if this information had been included in the released autopsy report.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to 2KC. | November 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm

        I would have said it was a testing delay, but the report says that it was reported on 12/11/14. So now I am unsure about the PCP screening. I will look into it and see what I can figure out.

There were reports in the news that a nearby Burger King had video from a surveillance camera which showed the incident. The news reports quoted the store manager as saying that after the Chicago cops viewed the video footage they deleted it.

    There were reports that Mike Brown was shot while ion his knees, hands raised, begging for his life. Also, that he was a “Gentle Giant.”

    Those kind of reports? 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    HandyGandy in reply to holdingmynose. | November 26, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Dude if you had watched the SA Anita Alvarez press conference instead of reading the HuffingtonPost, TheRoot and other CrackersAreRacists sites you would know that the BK’s camera could not capture the shooting, and that they have examined it and determined that it was not tampered with.

I also have some experience with this kind of situation, and I agree that the video alone does not sustain a murder 1 charge. Presumably, the prosecutors have access to much more, which is not to say the decision to arrest is reliaby sound.
What did the officer hear on the police radio prior to shooting, whether accurate or not?
From the video perspective, there appears to be no “lunge”, but that doesn’t mean the officer, if advancing himself, didn’t perceive that the suspect was closing on him.
Also, I can’t tell from the video the actual pace of the shots (no audio). But there does appear to be some movement of the suspect’s hand with the knife (once he was down) about the time there are obviously several last shots making contact with the pavement or suspect.
Because so much of the determination of a deadly force use is dependent on the officer’s perception, the minor details become major when they influence that officer’s state of mind.
Also, the much touted 18 complaints against the officer are really not many considering where he was assigned and the number of years he was working, assuming he was an aggressive and productive officer.
Having said all that, the burden will fall upon the officer to explain away the shots fired once the suspect was on the ground. Those are problematic and likely not to have been fired by the typical “reasonable” cop.
The arrest of the officer does have the feel of something done for political reasons rather than for good governance, otherwise why such a long delay? The facts – both those known to the public and those which should be known to prosecutors even if not shared at this point – seem fairly straightforward.

Andrew,

You might want to check out the ongoing trial of PC James Forcillo in Toronto. He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of the knife-wielding Sammy Yatim. The excerpt below from a National Post article by Christie Blathcford illustrates the parallels with the Laquan McDonald incident.

” Forcillo shot the 18-year-old eight times as he stood at the front of the open streetcar on July 27, 2013, brandishing a switchblade and refusing frantic police commands to drop the knife.

Tuesday, thanks to a witness named Gene Liscio, a mapping and measurement expert who has made 3D models of the crime scene, they learned that just before Forcillo fired the first shot, he and Yatim were 16.1 feet, or 4.906 metres, apart, Forcillo outside the open doors, Yatim just behind them, lurking by the first seating area.

Yatim took one step toward the doors (he moved, Liscio said, 50 centimetres or about a foot and a half) and his left leg was in motion for a second when Forcillo fired the first of the first round of three shots.

By then, the two were 14.9 feet apart, or 4.541 metres — a distance that Yatim, had he kept walking at the same average speed, would have covered in 10 or 11 seconds according to Liscio’s calculations.

It’s all fascinating and important, but at the risk of pointing out the obvious, the police didn’t have 3D models.”

armed criminal acts stupidly … armed criminal dead … maybe if that happened more less citizens would get shot every weekend in Chicago …

Just a few days ago a man dressed as a ninja walked through an Apple store swinging a 2 foot samurai sword. Eventually the police managed to capture him, and now he is getting the help he needs.

Lucky for that Samurai he wasn’t Black.

    You have no basis for insinuating that his being black would have changed anything.

    Of course every ARMED encounter is the same./s
    If you remember the police in NY shot and killed a guy who was armed with a hammer. Bringing race into it just shows your bias not that of the officer.

      darkknight3565 in reply to freeinaz. | November 26, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      In the “hammer shooting”, the individual was striking a police officer with a weapon at the time he was shot. He wasn’t several feet/yards away holding a 3 inch pocket knife. So the situations are very different.

      In this situation, McDonald was not an immediate threat to anyone. In fact, one officer on the scene has said he saw no need to use force against McDonald.

      McDonald certainly was not a threat AFTER he was shot and had fallen to the street (although Branca will argue that McDonald could have thrown the knife like a Indian in an old Western). Yet he was shot 15 more times after that.

      Of course Branca will predictably defend the use of every bullet. Andrew Branca will George Zimmerman with a law degree, in my opinion. He will take that as a compliment.

        darkknight3565 in reply to darkknight3565. | November 26, 2015 at 5:11 pm

        The more I read about Officer Van Dyke, the more typical I see he is of the sort Branca is always defending. Now I see that, according to an Invisible Institute database, Van Dyke has at least 18 complaints filed against him civilians. There may be more. And one complain dealt with “racial or ethnic verbal abuse.”

          You are not correct. Branca didn’t defend a Black cop when a larger racist white criminal in Maryland threatened that Black cop. I also didn’t see any column by Branca defending black Park Forest Officer Craig Taylor when he used deadly force against white John Wrana. Wrana was being violent at the nursery home he was at. Wrana used his knife and cane when he was shot by Officer Taylor. No support here.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to darkknight3565. | November 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

          “Branca didn’t defend a Black cop when a larger racist white criminal in Maryland threatened that Black cop.”

          Once again the off duty black cop who was out of his jurisdiction, in fact in a different state, who shot an unarmed man, when the off duty cop had ample time to retreat and was required to do so by law.

          “I also didn’t see any column by Branca defending black Park Forest Officer Craig Taylor when he used deadly force against white John Wrana.”

          First of all I don’t remember Andrew mentioning any opinion about this case. I also searched this and Andrews web site and found no opinion on this case. Taylor shot Wrana with a non-lethal round that unexpectedly killed him, very different situation.

          I also note that you conveniently leave out the 3 black officers that Andrew has been defending in Baltimore.

          Remember you racist bigot not everyone cares about skin color, even if you do.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to darkknight3565. | November 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm

        “In the “hammer shooting”, the individual was striking a police officer with a weapon at the time he was shot. He wasn’t several feet/yards away holding a 3 inch pocket knife. So the situations are very different.”

        Ok, so then how close is an appropriate distance to shoot? since it has been scientifically proven for years that those several yards or feet are just as good as being right next to you since they can be covered in less than a second.

        In this situation, McDonald was not an immediate threat to anyone. In fact, one officer on the scene has said he saw no need to use force against McDonald.

        “McDonald certainly was not a threat AFTER he was shot and had fallen to the street”

        You have proof of this from where? Were you there and assessed him immediately after him being shot? Basically you have no idea what McDonald was capable of doing after he was shot the first time, I can tell you that none of the wounds he received was immediately lethal, especially for someone allegedly on PCP.

        “(although Branca will argue that McDonald could have thrown the knife like a Indian in an old Western).”

        Ahh, and he proves himself to be a less than talented troll. Since Andrew never made any such claim, it was a different commented who talked about the kid throwing the knife. Nice try though sugar pants.

        “Yet he was shot 15 more times after that.”

        Really, so your argument is that one shot was enough? You are 100% sure of that? The only place you could have come up with that theory is from Mrs. Cleo.

        “Of course Branca will predictably defend the use of every bullet.”

        Humm, interesting since Andrew has been clear that the only thing he is saying is that the video in and of itself does not prove that the cop was unjustified in shooting, but further evidence may prove that it was indeed not justified.

        “Andrew Branca will George Zimmerman with a law degree, in my opinion.”

        I would respond to this bu then I realized that it didn’t make any sense to anyone that actually understand the English language and sentence structure.

        “He will take that as a compliment.”

        Actually he will probably just ignore it out of hand, which now as I reach the end I realize that is exactly what I should have done.

        “The more I read about Officer Van Dyke, the more typical I see he is of the sort Branca is always defending.”

        Oh, so you are now admitting that it was a justified shooting, since that is the only ones I have ever seen “Branca” defend.

        “Now I see that, according to an Invisible Institute database”

        First of all “Invisible Institute”, LMAO, now there is some unbias analysis. “28000 complaints with only 2% that received any disciplinary action!!!” Of course they never take the time to point out whether the complaints were actually founded or whether the 98% that weren’t disciplined actually deserved to be. Just having complaints filed doesn’t mean the complaints were founded or real.

        “Van Dyke has at least 18 complaints filed against him civilians.”

        Ok, how many were founded? How many of those civilians were the arrested or the families of the arrested? How many were unfounded and/or only filed in retaliation?

        “There may be more.”

        Ahhhh yeaahhhh, lets get the unfounded speculation on in here!

        “And one complain dealt with “racial or ethnic verbal abuse.”

        One, in 14 years? Say it ain’t so. Of course it is absolutely given that the complaint was founded and not just a retaliation by a suspect who happened to be of color?

        You know I think even trolls should have some kind of standard to their work. Please raise yours, because right now its just pathetic.

          darkknight3565 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 26, 2015 at 11:37 pm

          You do make one valid point, Gremlin1974. That sentence should read “Andrew Bianca is George Zimmerman with a law degree.”

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 27, 2015 at 1:28 am

          “Andrew Bianca is George Zimmerman with a law degree.”

          So he is someone who would use lawful deadly force to defend himself from the violent thug who was trying to kill him?

          Well then I would have to agree. I guess that makes me George Zimmerman with a Nursing degree.

        Of course he’d take it as a compliment. Any normal person would.

          darkknight3565 in reply to Milhouse. | November 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

          If by “normal” you mean someone who thinks an individual who has been shot and has already fallen and is only armed with a 3″ pocket knife is such a threat that firing an additional 15 bullets into him is justifiable, then I think there are many people on this board who deserve the compliment of being called a Zimmerman.

          Char Char Binks in reply to Milhouse. | November 27, 2015 at 11:03 pm

          Really, darkknight, has George Zimmerman offered his opinion on this case?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | November 28, 2015 at 2:39 am

          @ darkknight3565

          Thank you Mrs. Cleo its nice to know that the first bullet was all that was needed.

          Look, if you are gonna troll here we expect a bit higher class of troll, so please up your game.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to darkknight3565. | November 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Insinuating racism without evidence doesn’t make the officer racist it just makes you an ass.

      I understand as president of the Joseph Harvey fan club,you must bring up the matter of him being shot while unarmed. BFD.UNARMED perpetrators get killed all the time. He deserved the 3 shots he got.

      I will ask you again.

      What law gave the criminal you keep defending the right to threaten another person and chase him in criminal road rage,especially when the other person didn’t threaten him?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | November 28, 2015 at 2:47 am

        Funny I never said Harvey was correct in his actions. However, Walker had more than enough time and the ability to flee in a state where retreat is required, he chose not to do that. The only reason he isn’t in jail is because he is or was a cop.

        Though it is nice to know that you are such a strong proponent of the use of deadly force in self defense, since you seem to think that verbal threats are enough to justify the use of deadly force.

    “Lucky for that Samurai he wasn’t Black.”

    If everything in this situation we are discussing was the same, except Laquan McDonald was white, I think Officer Van Dyke still would of done the exact same thing.

    Whether 100% of Officer Van Dyke’s actions were lawful or not, needs to be determined in a trial. The only difference is, if McDonald was white, and Officer Van Dyke did exactly the same thing, we probably would not be talking about it, and Officer Van Dyke probably would not be charged with murder.

I have to watch vid again but I’d expect between an argument of shooting the string under stress and the mindset of the cop at the time and whatever had been heard I could see an acquittal in a fair trial. Honestly it seems another bad tactics (dumping whole magazine) but not necessarily bad shoot, same as that NY kid (iirc). What annoys me is that it is a political trial and if guilty the actual deficiency won’t be addressed (more accessible ll tools, controlled shooting under stress and edp ) because it was “a bad apple”

We have not seen all the evidence. He could be guilty or innocent but can we avoid convicting the guy until we actually try him. Got a couple coworkers who have already convicted the guy in their mind.

If only Black Detective Joseph Walker got the same support here,for killing his threatening larger white criminal aggressor.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | November 26, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Ahh and the basement dweller report returns. Hey, M1 how is the dryer sheet supply?

      The basement is fine. Ask your wife.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | November 27, 2015 at 1:25 am

        Well if that crazy witch is over there I can think of no one who deserves her more. As for me, I was smart enough to get rid of her, so have fun.

        Oh, and if the best you can come up with is basically what comes down to screaming; “Yo, Momma!” then up your game, we expect a higher class of trolls here.

    Char Char Binks in reply to m1. | November 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    You may recall Mr. Branca didn’t support Theodore Wafer when he shot the black drugged-driver who was (possibly) trying to break into his house in the wee hours of the morning, even though some of us here did. I backed Wafer until Andrew convinced me I was wrong.

As someone on Eric’s site asked, if cops were gunning for black people, where are all the decent black people killed by cops? There aren’t any. All the cases we hear about are of criminals of one kind or another. This fact alone tells us that the narrative is wrong.

Jason Boisvert | November 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm

1) The Tueller Drill applies only to an officer that does not already have his gun drawn and aimed before an attack. The officers in this situation approached with weapons drawn.

2) According to the dashcam video, officers approached *him* and almost immediately opened fire.

3) Despite the claims that McDonald was trying to stay within lunge distance, the video shows him moving *away* from the officers, trying to keep his distance.

4) Video at the time of the shooting *was* deleted. The State’s Attorney simply says the system wasn’t “tampered with”. The store manager says the police deleted it. Even if it just showed the lead-up to the event, it was evidence and police should’ve secured it.

Did crazy-man-with-knife need to be arrested? Yes. Did he need to be shot? No. The police put themselves in immediate danger and engaged with lethal force as the opening move.

    “1) The Tueller Drill applies only to an officer that does not already have his gun drawn and aimed before an attack. The officers in this situation approached with weapons drawn.”

    No. the Tueller Drill simply illustrates the correlation between time to defend and distance for an aggressor to cross–in short, reaction time to an impact-weapon threat. A defender with a holstered firearm and an aggressor 21 feet away is merely one illustration of that correlation. A defender with his hand already on the gun will have a shorter reaction time and thus a shorter “Tueller distance,” a defender with his gun at low ready will have yet a shorter reaction time and thus an even shorter “Tueller distance,” and so forth. The fundamental principle remains the same. This is not a complicated concept. If you need help with it, see the illustrative video embedded above.

    “2) According to the dashcam video, officers approached *him* and almost immediately opened fire.”

    It’s the officer’s JOB to approach violent drug-addled thugs brandishing knives on a public way, especially after the suspect has already slashed the tire of an occupied patrol car and damaged its windshield, and refused to comply with lawful orders. It’s what we pay them to do. This is not a complicated concept.

    “3) Despite the claims that McDonald was trying to stay within lunge distance, the video shows him moving *away* from the officers, trying to keep his distance.”

    What it certainly does NOT show McDonald doing is INCREASING distance from the officers in any meaningful way (flight) nor, it need not be said, simply COMPLYING with lawful orders to drop the knife and assume a position to ensure a safe arrest.

    THAT’S on McDonald, and nobody else.

    “4) Video at the time of the shooting *was* deleted. The State’s Attorney simply says the system wasn’t “tampered with”. The store manager says the police deleted it. Even if it just showed the lead-up to the event, it was evidence and police should’ve secured it.”

    This video that was allegedly deleted, you’re claiming it was deleted by Officer Van Dyke himself? If not by him, the fact that some third party may or may not have deleted a video is irrelevant to this criminal case.

    Irrelevancies are boring.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    However Andrew and the other posters have made it clear that a Black cop if threatened by a charging white racist criminal,isn’t entitled to self defense. The black cop should leave the scene,not the white criminal should leave the scene. Not the white criminal shouldn’t engage in criminality towards the black cop.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | November 26, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      You mean the off duty cop who wasn’t even in his own jurisdiction? Who shot a completely unarmed man on the side of the road? Your damn right its murder and the only role race played in it was that Wilson’s race helped get him acquitted.

      Now I think I heard the dryer buzz, go check on moms laundry cause you know she likes you to hang her bra’s on the line before they are completely dry.

        1. Who is Wilson?
        2. What law gave the criminal you keep defending the right to threaten another person,chase him in criminal road rage,especially when he wasn’t threatened by that person?
        3.Those are your wife’s bras not my mom’s.

Gremlin: I would expect, no, demand the cop recharge his magazine and even if not empty do a tactical reload with a fresh fully loaded magazine.

McDonald’s only real social worth probably was the fees that would have come from his mother’s missed termination appointment at Planned Parenthood.

We are both in the world of conjecture on many points. Looking at the wound chart on him, tough to figure out where everything came from. However, I can’t see the majority of bullets hitting before he was grounded. If he had a gun… keep on blasting, but a knife… plenty of times under more controlled circumstances where a simple pelvic shot would ground someone, we see multiple center of mass shots and certain death. It could have been handled better and I do not trust the Chicago authorities to be up and up. The question is can the cop get a truly fair trail in “Machine Politics” Chicago?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to alaskabob. | November 26, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    This is my fault because I didn’t express what I was trying to say very well. I am not implying that he wasn’t hit while on the ground. But under the stress of the engagement, as long as the bullets were fired in a single stream, which I believe that they were, the officer was most likely tunnel visioned on the front sight and kept that sight on the target until his slide racked open on an empty chamber.

    Now it the cop stopped shooting and then began shooting at the kid again while on the ground then I could more easily see it being a bad shoot. But just because he fired x number or rounds in a string isn’t a valid argument to say that round #’s 1 thru 10 are ok, but # 11 thru 16 aren’t ok, especially when round 11 thru 16 were fired without pause.

      Milhouse in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 27, 2015 at 4:59 am

      Yes, but he shouldn’t have been “tunnel visioned”. It was his duty to notice that McDonald had, for the moment, ceased to be an imminent threat, and to stop firing. He should then have held himself ready to resume fire if McDonald should once again become an imminent threat, i.e. if he started getting up.

What is becoming clear is that when video is available, much of the “how did you feel/what was your intent?” questions that used to apply to self defense should no longer apply.

Cops will want clear rules for engagement. They can no longer have their lives hanging on a group of scared jurors’ opinion of what they saw, knowing full well that a group outside wants to string the jurors up too if they give the wrong answer.

A city should establish rules for cops that apply in cases where video is present, such as if a guy is within X feet of you with a knife and coming towards you at any speed, then you may shoot until he falls to the ground. At that point, you may no longer shoot if he stops, but you are not required to render aid if the knife is nearby.

Why are police academies teaching things that will result in a 50% chance of a murder charge?

The NFL has a long list of very complicated rules, and incredibly, officials are very, very good at applying them in split second situations. So often normal people see a flag and call BS, and upon review, the person has to retract their untrained assessment. That shows just how a good a trained person can be in applying complex rules in chaotic situations..

And if a community wants to have rules such as “a cop cannot shoot unless he’s about to be shot by a gun pointing at him” then so be it. That community will have a hard time finding cops. But if a community says “You can unload your gun on a guy with a knife and keep pumping bullets into him when he’s on the ground as long as he’s still holding the knife” then we know ahead of time what to expect.

Can you imagine the NFL trying assess the intent of the linebacker before delivering a “targeted” tackle? What a mess that would be.

Summary: Intent/fear matters when there’s no video. But when there is video, there should be very clear rules of engagement that answer the question of whether or not what happened was sanctioned by the city. And if it was sanctioned and taught by the city, then the cop shouldn’t be facing jail. The city should.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Blinky. | November 26, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Its a great idea on paper Blinkey but it just isn’t practical in the real world. There can’t just be a universal “When to shoot” playbook, it just doesn’t work.

Excellent analysis and follow-up comments. The 21-foot rule is what I thought of immediately upon viewing the video. By the time I saw this article, I had already written virtually the exact same analysis here:

https://misadventuresindiversity.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/how-should-police-stop-a-knife-swinging-laquan-on-pcp/

One difference is that I noted the appearance of taser wires at 4:43.

Van Dyke is just the latest white cop they’re trying to racially railroad.

I just had to put a different version of the video up at my site, because the initial one was removed/access blocked on YouTube — hence, I had to edit/adjust the time points I cited, because I could not find a video wherein they matched my initial analysis. In this version the taser wires appear briefly at 5:03:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wgFqTPCugQ

have not followed this one so I may be wrong, but I think the hangup here (for the jury) will be the attempt to reload and shoot more.
but trial may show other evidence so I reserve the right to be really wrong lol

    Milhouse in reply to dmacleo. | November 27, 2015 at 5:02 am

    What attempt to reload and shoot more? Having finished firing, of course he reloaded his gun. What else should he have done? Where did you get the idea that he intended to resume shooting?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to dmacleo. | November 27, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    He reloaded because his gun was empty, not to shoot more.

Perhaps I am old fashioned an hopelessly naïve. I was taught that it is bad form to display a knife to police officers and ignore command like “drop the knife”.

I guess things have changed.

In the shorter clip you posted at the top, the taser wires can be seen at the :11 mark.

Always get an education with your posts Mr Branca .I had never heard of the drill you mentioned will look it up, thanks. I look forward to your comments when the Baltimore trials begin. It seems the judge can’t give a break on anything . Was wondering if any of his rulings are possibly reversable error .

Question from a non-lawyer: When an LEO kills someone, is it always referred to by the coroner as homicide, as in this case? I suppose it is the deliberate killing of someone, but it sounds so prejudicial on the surface. The coroner concludes, Manner of Death: Homicide (10 months ago in Jan 2015).

    Gremlin1974 in reply to gasper. | November 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    “I suppose it is the deliberate killing of someone, but it sounds so prejudicial on the surface.”

    That is precisely it. Homicide is actually supposed to mean noting more than one human killed another human.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homicide

    It has been made a prejudicial term, in my opinion, T.V., movies, and literature over the past 50 years or so by using it as a term that is interchangeable with Murder. From what I know in the law there is no legal crime of 1st degree homicide. If a “homicide” is a criminal killing of another human being then it is a murder. Which is why the police have “homicide divisions” because they investigate deaths/killings of humans, not all of which are murder.

    Now any of the Lawyers can correct me, but please be gentle. 😉

Homicide, if I am not mistaken, simply means one human deliberately killed another. Things like Manslaughter, Justifiable homicide and murder all fall within the category of homicide.

    SeanInLI in reply to SeanInLI. | November 26, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    In my definition, deliberately isn’t the tight word. Basically its more that one human’s deliberate actions directly resulted in another’s death.

    This is correct. Homicide literally means one human killing another. It has no connotation of wrongdoing. Both a heinous murder and a justifiable killing can be characterized as “homicide.” One human killed another. But only the former is a crime subject to criminal sanction.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

There are homicides which are not the result of deliberate action; negligent homicide, accidental homicide…

Also, someone earlier falsely commented that criminal homicides which are not justified are murders. That’s not necessarily true, there are criminal homicides (negligent homicide, manslaughter, and at least one other category I can’t recall) which are not murders.

I’ll begin by saying that it is still unclear if this shooting was justified or not. As noted, McDonald was armed with a knife, a contact weapon. He did not make a concerted movement toward the officers. And, there was no reason for the officers to suspect that he was fleeing from a violent felony. So, this was NOT a clear-cut defensive LE shooting.

Let me list the problems that Ofc. Van Dyke faces.

1) Knowing that McDonald was armed, presumably he knew it was a knife by his actions, Van Dyke immediately begins closing the distance between he and McDonald. Now, as he should have been familiar with the Teuller Drill, this would be a horrible tactical move. Facing a man armed with a contact weapon, while you are armed with a distance weapon, the correct tactical decision would be to maintain a distance of 25′-30′ while giving the armed man commands. This action places Van Dyke in a position of greater risk of attack.

2) McDonald did not make any concerted movement toward Van Dyke. His turn in the direction Van Dyke could well have been a response to Van Dyke yelling at him, not an intentional turn to charge the officer.

3) Van Dyke continued to shoot McDonald long after he was a threat. As evidenced, from the video, Van Dyke fired at least one shot while McDonald was lying on the ground. Actually, once McDonald had turned away from Van Dyke, he was no longer an immediate threat. And, as he was in possession of a knife, not a firearm, he was certainly no imminent threat while lying on the ground. Now, in Van Dyke’s defense, the entire shooting incident takes about 2 seconds. But, unless CPD trains its officers to keep firing until their weapon is empty, it appears to be an overreaction.

4) There was a 6’+ fence to McDonald’s right. In order to escape, he would have to scale the fence. So, there was little chance that he was a threat to others in the community.

Van Dyke might be able to claim that he had a reasonable fear of imminent attack. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that he was in fear, if he perceived the turn in his direction as a prelude to an attack. But, he will have a hard time justifying continuing to shoot McDonald to the ground, emptying his pistol in the process.

There is no evidence to support a 1st, or even 2nd degree murder charge. And, it is unlikely that the prosecution could use the number of rounds fired to solely justify even a manslaughter or negligent homicide charge. So, there was sufficient justification for not filing criminal charges in this case. But, the fact still remains that it was not a clear-cut shooting in response to an attack.

However, the shooting was consistent with a panic reaction. In such cases, a person overreacts to a perceived threat and continues firing until his firearm is empty. Continuing even after the threat has been effectively neutralized. If only 2-6 rounds had been fired, this would probably be a non-issue for the City, except for one other thing. Van Dyke had, reportedly, been the subject of numerous complaints. including some for excessive force, one of which resulted in a judgement against the City. There was a good case for negligent retention, here. And, I think that may have driven the actions of the City, in this case.

The criminal charges are obviously politically motivated. However, it was not a “clean” shooting, by any means.

McDonald can not escape blame for his actions, though. He was on PCP. He was committing either burglaries of parked vehicles or criminal mischief to them. He was visibly armed with a knife. He was ignoring the orders of uniformed LEOs. And, he did turn toward the LEOs, while still armed.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Mac45. | November 26, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I really don’t think the knife was the reason Van Dyke shot. McDonald kept his hands low, and particularly his left hand at his pocket/waistband, while the the officer was presumably ordering his hands up. Van Dyke possibly thought McDonald had a gun and was about to use it.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Mac45. | November 27, 2015 at 1:22 am

    “Van Dyke continued to shoot McDonald long after he was a threat.”

    Interesting, so how much of that 2 seconds constitutes “long after he was a threat”?

    “Actually, once McDonald had turned away from Van Dyke, he was no longer an immediate threat.”

    I actually can’t tell if McDonald turned or if it was an impact spin. And, as he was in possession of a knife, “not a firearm”

    He had a hand concealed in a pocket, are they supposed to consult Mrs. Cleo as to whether he has a firearm?

    “But, unless CPD trains its officers to keep firing until their weapon is empty”

    I would bet that CPD like 99.9% of law enforcement agencies teaches shooting until the threat is gone, not a certain number of bullets.

    “it appears to be an overreaction.”

    Ok, so during that 2 seconds of fire at what bullet number does it become an over reaction? Should he have just fired 2 then waited?

    Personally, I think Van Dyke fired because he saw the kid spin and thought he was pulling something out of his pocket. He then put the front sight on the threat and just followed it to the ground.

    You seem to expect someone to have a great deal of clarity in a situation under combat stress.

Char Char Binks | November 26, 2015 at 11:12 pm

HAND AT MY WAISTBAND WHEN A COP ORDERS ME TO PUT MY HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT!

Someone convinced me that what I saw is not taser wires catching the light, but the police vehicle lights reflecting off the pavement, so I edited my blog post.

I’ve read several stories which say Mr. McDonald had PCP in his system but the autopsy doesn’t say that. The Tox Screen is mentioned on the bottom of page 19 and the full report is page 22 of the autopsy, linked below –

http://invisible.institute/new

According to that document, he wasn’t tested for PCP or marijuana. (“Why the hell not?” would be my first question.)

Also, on page 4 of this charging document, signed by the Assistant State’s Attorney, it mentions the “PCP in is system.” Surely they’ve read the autopsy report, right?

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago

Is there a second autopsy I can’t find reference to? If anyone can shed light on this, I’d certainly appreciate it.

    Wrella in reply to Wrella. | November 27, 2015 at 1:38 am

    There are two versions of the autopsy report online, the only difference seeming to be that one has a blank page inserted near the end. The page numbers I reference, above, may therefore be one off, depending on which document you’re looking at.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Wrella. | November 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      I read in one of the many articles about this shooting that the PCP test was 2 weeks old. The autopsy report is dated 10/21/15. I know that some drug tests take longer to process so it may be that the sample was taken during the autopsy and the results weren’t available until a couple of weeks later. I don’t know but that would be my guess.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 27, 2015 at 1:08 pm

        Ok, I completely misread the dates. All of this was done in 2014 so I don’t know. I do know that the autopsy report doesn’t show a test for PCP.

          I appreciate your attention, Gremlin1974. I’ve asked the question all over the internet without finding a successful answer. It’s driving me to distraction; this is how “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”-type memes gain a foothold.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Wrella. | November 27, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Ok, I have spent more than an hour searching for any proof that a test for PCP exists. The closest thing that I have found is this article from April.

      http://www.cambridgedoors.com/new.asp?news/local/breaking/ct-police-shooting-16-shots-met-20150414-story.html

      Which seems to indicate that the PCP report came at the end of march. I can find no evidence that such a report exists beyond this. I can tell you the Autopsy does not test for it.

        Thank you for applying a second set of eyes to the issue. At least I know it isn’t just me missing something.

        Irritating, isn’t it?

Its weird that all 5 police cars (out of the 8 that were there) that the dash cam data was released for, all happ0ened to have malfunctioning audio???
– – – – –
“The question of why there is so little discernible sound on any of the videos is an important emerging issue that city officials have yet to address.

“All the videos released to date include some sound, but most of it is just the faint noise of the vehicles’ sirens. The videos, including the one from Van Dyke’s vehicle, did not include any audio of officers talking, either in the vehicles or over police radios, raising questions about why sirens outside the vehicles are audible but voices and other sounds from inside the vehicle are not.

“Asked whether the police cameras were supposed to have sound, McCarthy responded, “There’s supposed to be (audio), and it’s supposed to happen at a couple different instances.

“This is one of the things that we are working on. Sometimes we have technical difficulties”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-laquan-mcdonald-new-videos-met-20151125-story.html
– – – – –
They should fix that, since even if the shoot was 100% justified, it makes people think there something shady going on, when all 5 dash cams, have ‘technical difficulties” at the same time.

    Not sure if this is authentic or not, but someone posted this clip of the shooting with audio, you distinctly hear 16 shots along with radio traffic:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHBhSuznVb4

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Donald Joy. | November 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      I am gonna go with completely doctored video. If you listen to the radio traffic there is no “shots fired” call, there is no frantic traffic on the radio. Also there is no visible sign of impact from the supposed second string of shots once McDonald was on the ground, you would expect to see some reaction.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm

        Oh, crap. That may actually be the audio. I went and gave it a good once over. if you look closely and listen to the second string of shots on the last shot at 0:19 there is a puff of dirt and raises up in front of McDonald’s body as if a bullet hit close to or bounced off of the street.

        If that is the audio and there was such a pause in firing I am not sure that I feel like the second string is justified. Now whether it is legally justified is another question entirely.

That article from the Chicago Tribune, that Wrella linked to, above, has another article, “Teachers Union to Join Black Friday Mag Mile Laquan McDonald Protest.”

I don’t understand what they’re “protesting”?

They’re complaint (opinion!) is that Officer Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald. Officer Van Dyke has been charged with murder, and this whole thing will be looked into by our Justice System, and there will be a proper trial, and everything.

If you think that someone comitted murder, and then instead of getting off, he is actually CHARGED with murder, isn’t that a GOOD THING?

So what are they protesting against!

    amwick in reply to 2KC. | November 27, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Maybe they are protesting the city’s 5 million dollar payout to Laquan’s mother, a payout made even though he was in foster care, bounced around the system and lived with his grandmother. Oops, I guess the correct term is settlement. Anyway a settlement (payout) was made without any lawsuits being filed. Sorry Mr. Branca that this is a bit off topic, but it just seems that they were really quick to pay a big hunk of taxpayer’s money to a person that had little to do with this child’s sad life.

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to amwick. | November 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      they were really quick to pay a big hunk of taxpayer’s money to a person that had little to do with this child’s sad life.

      But had a good lawyer, and could create a scandal.

      The settlement was made right after Rahm Emmanuel was successfully re-elected.

      They may have bought her silence. How did this become public in the end?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to 2KC. | November 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    You have to remember the point isn’t to be right, the point is to protest to promote the narrative.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Zachriel. | November 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Maybe, maybe not. What I see is anywhere from 8 to about 30 officers who where put in mortal danger for no reason.

    Oh and the assertion that once they had shields there was no way he could do damage is complete and utter bull.

    I also see it taking 20 cops, probably most of the ones in that area to subdue one perp. Which is a huge waste of resources. Only 5% of UK cops are armed.

    What I see is a situation that could have been defused in about 10 seconds with one Taser.

      Gremlin1974: What I see is anywhere from 8 to about 30 officers who where put in mortal danger for no reason.

      They saved a life. That’s not “no reason”.

      In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years.

        Unless both police forces are dealing with identical demographics, and they’re not, any such comparison is simply idiotic.

        No offense, but it’s a pretty obvious confounder of your alleged point.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          It’s indicative of a significant difference in how police force is used.

          As would be reasonably expected of police forces facing different demographics and threat environments.

          That’s why your “point” is worthless. No one denies that different police departments do things differently–of course that’s the case, they’re dealing with different demographics and threat environments.

          As one childishly obvious example: are officers in Wales more or less likely to face a criminal armed with a handgun than are officers in any major American urban center you care to choose, INCLUDING those with the greatest gun controls in effect?

          Different threats, different use-of-force policies. Obviously.

          This is not a complicated concept.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: As would be reasonably expected of police forces facing different demographics and threat environments.

          While demographics can explain some of the difference, the difference is far too great to be fully explained by that alone. Rather, it’s clear that policing is simply far more violent in the U.S., guns are looked on a a first resort, not a last. There’s also a culture of impunity with regards to police actions, allowing one bad cop to commit large numbers of violent acts. This has been long known, but new video technology makes it impossible to continue to turn a blind eye.

          https://www.facebook.com/swaggajones/videos/10207974294937730/

          “Rather, it’s clear that policing is simply far more violent in the U.S., guns are looked on a a first resort, not a last.”

          What nonsense. That statement simply indicates that you know utterly nothing about law enforcement practices in the US. Police collectively have millions of interactions with suspects every week. If guns were their “first resort,” where are the all the bodies?

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          If guns were their “first resort,” where are the all the bodies?

          Already answered. In the first 24 days of 2015, police in the US fatally shot more people than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years.

          Compare the killing of the black American with a small knife, and the Londoner with a machete. In the former case, the boy is shot multiple times and killed, with the police refusing to release the video until forced by the courts; while in the latter case, the man was captured and taken to hospital.

          And those shootings amount to what percent of total police interactions with suspects? 80%? 90%? 100%?

          Surely the use of deadly force by police must be involved in essentially ALL interactions with the public if, as YOU claim, deadly force is the “first resort” of the police.

          Oofah.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: And those shootings amount to what percent of total police interactions with suspects? 80%? 90%? 100%?

          Which would result in millions of deaths. Any reasonable reading of our comment would not lead to that conclusion.

          The fact is that U.S. police are much more likely to use force, often deadly force, than other developed countries. Furthermore, it’s clear that when you excuse such behavior in violent police officers, it leads to more abuse.

          For generations, minorities in America have said these incidents were happening. The difference is that now we have it on video. Change will come.

          “Andrew Branca: And those shootings amount to what percent of total police interactions with suspects? 80%? 90%? 100%?

          Which would result in millions of deaths. Any reasonable reading of our comment would not lead to that conclusion.”

          Thus proving the idiocy of your claim that deadly force is the “first resort” of American law enforcement.

          That’s all the attention you get from me, Chuckles. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: Thus proving the idiocy of your claim that deadly force is the “first resort” of American law enforcement.

          Deadly force is, indeed, often a first resort for American law enforcement. It’s partly due to poor training, and its partly due to people who excuse poor policing as acceptable. It took over a year for the McDonald video to be released, and that only happened because of a court order. Pretending this is “normal” is no longer tenable. Change is inevitable.

Earlier today in Colorado a white man in hunting gear(media description) committed an active shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic. He shot 11 people. 5 of which were cops. In the end 1 cop and 2 civilians were killed. The active shooter in spite of his attacking cops was able to surrender.Nuff said.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | November 28, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I am guessing that you thought there was a point to that statement. However, since I, and most others here, don’t suffer from the delusional mental illness that you display, how about you throw those of us still grounded in reality a bone?

      The president of the Joseph Harvey fan club speaks. You say I’m delusional,yet you reply to my posts many more times than I do yours. What does that say about you?

      I still would like to know “What law gave the criminal you keep defending the right to threaten another person and chase him in criminal road,especially when he didn’t threaten that person?

      Say hi to the wife for me.

Sammy Finkelman | November 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

There is another video – or used to be of the shooting, taht was shot in Burger King.

However, there is the matter of the 86-minute gap.

Police inspected it almost right away, and after they left, there was an 86-minute gap that included the time of the shooting.

http://www.newser.com/story/216797/burger-king-manager-86-minutes-of-laquan-video-is-mia.html

Jay Darshane says he was “trying to help the police with their investigation” when officers showed up right after the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting at his restaurant, which WGN notes is located about 50 yards from where the fatal shots were fired. Darshane says the BK’s assistant district manager called him that night to tell him there were “four or five” officers asking to review the eatery’s surveillance video. Darshane gave the OK, and cops holed up with the tape for nearly two hours, he says—but when they left, there was an “inexplicable 86-minute gap,” from 9:13pm to 10:39pm, that included when Laquan was shot, the Tribune notes.

So, somebody the shooting wasn’t justified, and or at least could be incriminating.

At that time maybe whoever did it didn’t realize that there are other videos.

At the minimum somebody thought it wouldn’t look good, and maybe some of the facts here could be concealed.

There is a sentiment being expressed “by some” that somehow there exists a great disparity in the lethality of a handgun and the lethality of a knife. In fact, at close quarters a knife is arguably a more lethal instrument than is a gun.

The issue is not whether a knife or a gun is more lethal than the other. The issue isn’t even whether the knife is a lethal weapon.

The issue is whether the use of deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances.

    “The issue is whether the use of deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances.”

    Which requires determining whether the officer faced a deadly force threat, thus making the lethality of McDonald’s knife a key issue.

    Oofah.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

“(4) Officers are taught to continue firing at a deadly threat until the threat has been neutralized. Even after McDonald fell to the ground he was still in control of his movements and he still possessed the knife, thus he was still an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm to any officer who got close enough.”

I see no evidence to support the assertion that “he was still in control of his movements.” Falling to the ground, such as he did, seeming to be evidence to the contrary.

I also see no attempts to rise, nor any other indications of him being an imminent threat.

Do the principles of the Tueller Drill apply to a person already known to be shot, and lying on the ground?

So, at that point, there was no imminent threat, and it is just as likely that every subsequent shot fired was not legally justified.

Those other cops watch you or I do the same thing – fire at a person already shot and lying on the ground? We’d be dead or under arrest.

That tape is evidence of multiple crimes.

    “Do the principles of the Tueller Drill apply to a person already known to be shot, and lying on the ground?”

    Of course.

    Police officers are killed not infrequently by violent criminals armed with deadly weapons, even after the criminal has been shot, even after the criminal has fallen to the ground (many cops are killed “on the ground”, and even after a suspect has been shot AND fallen to the ground.

    If McDonald wished to not represent a deadly threat to the officers he need only have divested himself of his knife. He never did so. That’s on HIM, not on the police.

    A demonstrably violent, still non-compliant, knife-armed suspect is a deadly threat to anybody they could strike with their weapon. The videos released to date fail to show areas as close as 24″ to McDonald at the time the final shots were fired. Thus there is no way to know, from the videos released to date, that there was no one within striking distance of McDonald’s knife at the time the last police us of deadly force occurred.

    If you have video of the area not shown in the current videos, I’d be more than happy to take a look at them.

    But I suspect you don’t.

    “That tape is evidence of multiple crimes.”

    Sure. Multiple counts of aggravated assault upon police officers, brandishing, resisting arrest, jaywalking–tons of stuff. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    ThomasD: That tape is evidence of multiple crimes.

    Yes, and worse, there is evidence of an institutional cover-up that is all too common in police forces. Sometimes cops make mistakes. But when they aren’t held to account, they do it over and over again.

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