reply to post by Lucid Lunacy
Law Enforcement cannot cannot cannot cannot use lethal force to intentionally "wound" or give a "warning shot". This concept is NOT based on law
enforcement policies or state laws. It comes as a direct result of Supreme Court rulings over the years.
If you are in a situation where you feel comfortable trying to wound an individual / give a warning shot to, then there is absolutely no reasons to
use your duty weapon for that. Discharging your weapon at an individual is done with the sole intent of stopping the threat.
Let me give you a small court example of how wounding / warning shot would play out.
Defense Attorney - Officer Smith what was the reason you made contact with my client?
Officer - We had received reports of an individual acting strangley who was also possibly armed with a knife. The description given to the responding
units matched the defendant.
Defense - When you made contact was my client armed?
Officer - Initially no however as we apprached we observed the individual pull a large knife out,. brandishing it in a manner that was dangerous to
the public as well as the officers.
Defense - What did you do?
Officer - I drew my duty weapon and targeted the individual while giving loud clear verbal commands for him to drop the knife.
Defense - Did he?
Officer - No. He became more threatening and began to move away from the officers on scene, walking down the center of the road with civilians all
around. Over the next 7 blocks he continued to refuse to comply with all commands to drop the weapon and to stop moving. Due to the number of
civilians around within reach of the individual, the defendants odd behavior and his refusal to acknowledge and comply with officer commands, I
decided that if the person did not comply with the next set of commands that he presented an imminent threat to everyone present, civilians and law
At this poiunt you just explained to the court your justification for using your duty weapon to stop the individual. You gave details as to what you
observed, his actions, the fact he is armed, the fact he refused all commands to stop. You explain the suspect demostrated a lack of concern for the
people around his by refusing to comply with officer commands.
Everything you stated articulates why deadly force was used.
Now... If you cite all the info above and then state you purposely wounded him / gave a warning shot the next question to you is -
Defense - But officer, you just got done telling the court that this person was an imminent threat to public and officer safety did you not? If my
client was such a threat as you described, then what possible motive do you have for using deadly force to intentionally wound my client?
You cannot tell the court he was an imminent threat only to exercise an option that is to the contrary of your testimony. Either my client was such a
threat to the public at large or he was not, so which is it?
If he is such a threat is using deadly force to "wound" a valid response? What if you missed him? What if you are able to wound him but not stop
You get the idea... The law does not allow for Police Officers to wound / give a warning shot. You must remeber that law enforcement does not shoot to
kill a person, we shoot to stop the threat. Think it through and then ask yourself how would I testify in court to using deadly force to wound a
threat? Because discharging a weapon at another person is a crime, the box deadly force falls into is very well defined by the courts. A gun is used
for a deadly force encounter, meaning you use it to stop a threat.
Any time a person takes the life of another person, the law was broke, even for law enforcement. The investigation focuses on all of the issues and
circumstances and comes to a conclusion -
* - The force used was excessive and innapropriate = homicide
* - The force used was proportional and appropriate given the evidence and facts = justifiable homicide.
A duty weapon is reserved for deadly force encounters. If you are going to point it at a person the end result is clear. Do you really want law
enforcement to be able to have the option of wounding people in non lethal force encounters? Just because Officer Smith of the NYPD has the skills to
take a person out with civilians all around does not mean Officer Jones of the Tippacanoe Indiana police department will have the exact same
Now you have officers discharing their duty weapons far more than what is needed, all because people think we should wound while they ignore the fact
that the person we are dealing with should comply with verbal commands to stop.
The fault does not reside with the police department, it resides with the person who opted to act in a manner that made him a threat and compounded
that by refusing to comply with lawful commands.