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Police shoot man stabbing self, justified or not?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Holly76201, Sep 27, 2003.

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  1. Holly76201

    Holly76201 Member

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    Browsing through the Ft.Worth Star-Telegram this a.m. I found an interesting story. Seems police were summoned to a residence because a Mr. Torres was stabbing himself repeatedly in the chest and abdomen. Mr. Torres did not obey the officers' verbal commands to drop the knife. He only became more agitated when the officers tried using pepper spray to subdue him. Since the officers feared Mr. Torres would eviscerate himself before a Sergeant could arrive with a Taser, they fired almost simultaneously, both striking him in the right shoulder. The officers then proceeded to drag Mr. Torres outside where EMS was waiting to treat and transport Mr. Torres to JPS Hospital. Oh, and BTW, Mr. Torres was involved in a similar situation in July. Luckily {?} a Sgt. was readily available with a Taser before Mr. Torres could inflict fatal damage to himself.
    Officers have applied for an emergency mental health commitment for Mr. Torres.
    The spokesmen for the FWPD said they did not know if "shooting a man attempting to commit suicide is an issue covered in the department's general orders."
    :banghead: IMHO the officers should have responded just a tad slower and let Darwinism take its course.
    Opinions, different or sympathetic welcome.
     
  2. FJC

    FJC Member

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    Perhaps they should consider issuing Tasers to the patrol officers, instead of just to Sergeants.
     
  3. Holly76201

    Holly76201 Member

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    FJC, I think it's an economic issue that only Sgt.s carry the Tasers.
     
  4. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    So how is anyone, LEO or otherwise, justified in using deadly force when there is no threat to themselves or another party ...?

    The officer was in fear for what ... certainly not his life?
     
  5. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    "They ain't gonna make a canoe out of me!!!" :D
     
  6. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Member

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    Skunkabilly

    You beat me to it.:rolleyes: :D
     
  7. J Miller

    J Miller Member

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    This was the second incedent of this type? This guy wants to off himself.
    He'll get it done eventually.

    And the shooting was not justified, there was no threat to others or the officers. They should be slapped on the wrists and told "no-no" for their trouble.
     
  8. timbo

    timbo Member

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    Well, you could argue that the man was in danger and that the officers had to shoot to save his life, even if he was threatening himself. Reminds me a bit of Blazing Saddles actually...

    I'm all for natural selection though.
     
  9. ceetee

    ceetee Member

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    Can't you see the big lawsuit?

    Stories in the paper titled "Man kills self while officers stand by and do nothing..."?

    They were in a no-win situation, and at any moment the guy could have leaped at them with the knife. I applaud them for finding a way to subdue a nutbar without killing them, or allowing him to harm any others...

    They could probably teach their brethren a thing or two about marksmanship, too...
     
  10. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    Pretty well summed up. :cool:
     
  11. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    How come they didn't shoot the knife out of his hand ? :D

    After all, if Roy Rodgers could do it ....
     
  12. TheeBadOne

    TheeBadOne Member

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    That question will be raised in the inevitable lawsuit... :rolleyes:
     
  13. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    ceetee nailed it. They did NOT use deadly force. This is a much better outcome than that one we discussed recently where the cops were called to take a boy to the nut house and they wound up killing him.

    Good job here.
     
  14. FJC

    FJC Member

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    I don't doubt that's the reason. But I'm willing to bet that the first lawsuit that they lose on the basis of officers having to shoot rather than use a non-lethal device would have paid for the extra tasers and training. :)
     
  15. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Quartus, I am not sure how Lethal Force is defined in Utah, but it is well defined in Texas when it comes to firearms.

    I have not seen the story, but assuming that things happened as described here, then the cops DID use lethal force as a firearm is considered a lethal weapon and its discharge considered lethal force by Texas law. More over, it is specifically against Texas law that lethal force be used to prevent a suicide. It is rather oxymoronic that someone would use lethal force on a person who is threatening or attempting to use lethal force on him/herself. You don't get to protect a person from theirself via lethal force. That is one of those things that makes you say, "Duh!"

    Whether you shoot a person in the foot, hand, shoulder, chest, head, or between the feet, it is use of lethal force. It is going to be interesting to see how the cops get charged and defended if it turns out that the nut case did nothing to try to harm the cops so as to allow them to use lethal force.

    The shame of the matter is that as noted, the officers should have let events take their course.
     
  16. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Member

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    ok,,,

    now you're one of the officers on the scene,,,

    what would YOU do,,,

    by shooting him, they actually saved his life...

    try that one on the antis :evil:

    to me, even a taser seems a bit over the top in this particular case, though non - lethal.

    too bad there isn't a tranqulizer gun available to LE for cases such as this

    there is for the animal world,,,

    then theres always the sticky gooey spray stuff you see for riot control but thats probably either not really available yet or too cost prohibititve for most small depts to have hanging around for this one in a million case...

    tough job,,,being a cop

    as always, my hat is off to them...

    m
     
  17. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    And AGAIN it must be said:

    The law and the exact definition of terms depends very much on the statutes of the particular state.

    Quatrus - - -
    In Texas, "Deadly Force" means
    Texas Penal Code, Section 9.01(3)

    The application of an axe handle or a frying pan MAY be considered deadly force, depending on the exact use of the item. A firearm is always considered deadly force. Thus, the shooting of the individual was actually deadly force. It must be noted that the officers were very careful in the actual application of deadly force in this case, taking all due care to NOT kill the suspect.

    Peace officers are allowed the use of deadly force under certain circumstances not permitted private individuals, most specifically for the purpose of defending and preserving human life. This is admittedly a very unusual situation. Along with most here, I believe the action was proper under the circumstances.

    Interestingly, there is a specific provision in the Penal Code, for such circumstances:
    While (a) and (b) may appear to conflict, it IS possible to figure a scenario for (b): I know of one case when an emergency services physician came upon a traffic accident in which a victim with a mangled face was choking to death. The doc used a sharp pocket knife and a Bic pen barrel and performed an emergency tracheostomy which allowed the victim to breathe until he could be extricated. (If cutting a person's throat with a knife isn't deadly force, I dunno what is . . . ;))

    Several months ago, I went to Fort Worth to interview a jail inmate as informant, who, naturally, wanted a "deal." The Tarrant County Assistant DA carefully explained to him the "Do Right" rule - - "Okay - - Give the information, and if it is useful, we are ethically bound to do right by you." Somehow, I don't think the two FWPD cops will fade much heat in this deal.

    The question is raised, "How come they didn't shoot the knife out of his hand?"

    I think they actually did a safer thing, shooting him in the shoulder. Consider the size and shape of a knife, and the way in which it is normally held. A bullet through the hand, with its large number of very small bones, would doubtless mangle the extremity, possibly beyond an effective reconstruction. Shoulder has more meat and fewer, larger, bones. Much easier for the surgeons to repair the damage. It's easier to earn a living with a stiff shoulder than with a permanently crippled hand.

    Kudos to the officers for restraint, good judgement, and good marksmanship. I hope they'll receive an appropriate commendation.

    Best,
    Johnny

    Late edit: Double Naught Spy posted his reply while I was composing mine off line. Prolly I should have checked before entering mine. Still, and with all respect to 00, I'll stand by my remarks. ;)
    JPG
     
  18. hansolo

    hansolo Member In Memoriam

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    This situation, IMHO, is vaguely similar to sterilizing a death row convict's arm with alcohol before administering the fatal injection.:uhoh:
     
  19. BOBE

    BOBE Member

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    How does the phrase "But Judge we only shot to wound him" apply here?
    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  20. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    seems to me that they shot him because they had no other resource while they were trying to prevent him from further injuring himself...hopefully he can get the help he needs.
     
  21. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    BOBE, shooting to wound doesn't count in Texas as a non-deadly intent of the act.

    10-Ring, shooting the guy because they had no other resource is not a valid argument either. In fact, they would have had other options and simply chose not to utilize them or it did not dawn on them to utilize those options. They could have beaned the guy with any amount of their equipment, but didn't. A walkie talkie, handcuffs, spare magazine, or even a shoe can make for a nice blunt trauma non-lethal projectile, but they didn't use any of those. Had they had ASPs, then they could have tried beating the knife from the hands of the man.

    Thank you Johnny Guest for citing the specific laws!
     
  22. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    Point well taken. In the REAL world, they didn't use lethal force. In the LEGAL world, they did.

    As to why they didn't do something else - my guess is training. He had a knife - you don't get close to a knife - you shoot.


    In the old days, they'd probably have whacked him upside the head with their billy clubs.
     
  23. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member

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    Lets see now...

    "10-Ring, shooting the guy because they had no other resource is not a valid argument either. In fact, they would have had other options and simply chose not to utilize them or it did not dawn on them to utilize those options. They could have beaned the guy with any amount of their equipment, but didn't. A walkie talkie, handcuffs, spare magazine, or even a shoe can make for a nice blunt trauma non-lethal projectile, but they didn't use any of those. Had they had ASPs, then they could have tried beating the knife from the hands of the man."-so says Double Naught Spy.

    You go right ahead there sport. I'll even give you my shoe so you'll have an appropriate "anti-knife weapon at your disposal".

    Never bring a shoe to a knife fight, or a knife to a gunfight. These guys tried pepper-spraying this dork, and it didn't work. It often doesn't, just like those little glorified car antennae that pass for impact weapons these days. So you fast-forward to plan B. The officers chose to deprive Mr. Whack of the ability to inflict fatal wounds (on himself as well as the officers) by shooting him where it would be less likely to kill him than, say, right between the running lights. It worked. They saved his life until next time. I guess we'll see what happens then, but one thing is for sure- he'll be the one who ultimately decides whether he lives or dies. The responding officers are just stuck with whatever hand he decides to deal them.

    Yes, there will probably be a lawsuit- just like there would have been one if they stood back and let him finish what he started.
     
  24. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

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    Actually, the apparent paradox of using Deadly Force to prevent someone from killing themselves isn't quite as contradictory as it might appear at first.

    A bean bag round fired out of a 12 gauge shotgun or a 37mm gas gun is more than capable of causing serious bodily injury or death and is therefore an application of Deadly Force in Texas.

    You shoot a suicidal person with a beanbag to get him to drop the knife, you've just used Deadly Force against him.

    Also, the application of a chokehold -- excuse me, Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint -- is capable of "causing death or serious bodily injury" and is technically Deadly Force.

    LawDog
     
  25. zahc

    zahc Member

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    I don't think they should have. I'm against 'suicide control'. Totally wrong.
     
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