Tasers look and feel different from pistols, and most police forces have protocols to prevent a mix-up.
So how could the officer who shot Daunte Wright in Minnesota on Sunday grab her gun instead of her Taser, as the police chief said? https://t.co/vBz8uVo7tA
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 13, 2021
I’m not a cop.
I don’t pretend to be a cop.
I have never been in a life and death situation close to a traffic stop gone bad.
I have shot a lot of USPSA and IDPA and I know that it doesn’t matter how many times I walk through a stage and figure out the course of fire in my head when that shot timer goes beep, my mind goes blank faster than an Etch-a-Sketch held by Michael J. Fox.
I still make the mistake of looking over the sights instead of through them out of the draw and have to remind myself to put the front sight back on target.
And that is just a competition I do for fun.
So how does a cop grab a Glock 17 instead of a Taser?
Because 26 years of muscle memory has her go for her strong side pistol instead of her cross side Taser when the shit hits the fan.
I’m not excusing what she did at all.
If anything, this proves the need for much more training for officers.
What I am certain of is that this article could only be written by someone who has never drawn from the holster under any sort of stress whatsoever.
29 thoughts on “My two cents on the Daunte Wright shooting”
“when that shot timer goes beep, my mind goes blank faster than an Etch-a-Sketch held by Michael J. Fox.”
And I can confirm that.
The video of her going “oh, sh**, I shot him!” is pretty telling. Definitely a negligent discharge.
But the wokie’s answer to “cops need more training” is going to be, “that costs money. Let’s just take their guns away”. Or just disband the force.
Granted it was ‘news’ and I haven’t been able to confirm it, but I heard on the radio the officer was left-handed and the department in the last year or so standardized duty belts to taser-left/pistol-right. If that really was the case, years of training to overcome grabbing for the pistol would have suddenly been working against her.
And all of that is irrelevant. Going back into the car was justification for lethal force.
She would have been justified in shooting him.
The fact that her head went for a less lethal choice, Taser and her hand instead drew her service weapon is beside the fact.
Jacob Blake was shot for the same reason. Refusing to obey lawful commands and reaching/getting into a car.
Good police officers finally have enough, look for better places to work, and are hired by cities that want their experience. If I had to guess, many of the officers are willing to take a pay cut to leave the urban rat holes they once had to protect. The result is undertrained officers, that don’t realize there is no rationalizing with someone that considers you an enemy. It’s war, and the offense is removed from those that took an oath to protect their enemy.
If I would go to jail for shooting him, she should go to jail for shooting him.
“Well she didn’t mean it” is not a proper defense to negligently killing someone.
Yes and no. She was acting within the context of her job as a LEO. You are not authorized to stop a vehicle. She is. Having affected the stop she has powers granted to her as a LEO that you do not.
At the point in time where he refused lawful orders to stay out of the car, to not reach into the car, the situation has escalated to the point where deadly force is authorized. She now has the option to use less lethal force. Her brain was going “Taser” while she deployed her service weapon.
Did she intend to shoot him? No. Was that level of force appropriate? Taser or shooting. Yes.
Would you go to jail for shooting him in the same situation? YES. Because you are not authorized to do the stop in the first place. You are not authorized to arrest for out standing warrants. Therefore you would have been the reason for the escalation and as such would likely been found guilty.
The Aubery(?) situation down in GA is similar to what you are proposing. A dude, known to cops and neighbors as “The Jogger” because he would case places while out “jogging” in places where he really shouldn’t be. I.e., me jogging around my block is cool. Me jogging from my house out and back, again cool. Driving to the next town over to jog in a residential neighborhood, questions get asked.
If the cops had asked him to stop and wanted to talk to him, not an issue. Part of their job as law enforcement. It is the sort of thing that keeps a crime from happening.
Instead, a couple of good ol’ boys decide to stop and question him. They point guns at the dude. Dude tries to disarm one of the good ol’ boys and ends up shot and dead.
Since they had no authority to stop “The Jogger” they are at fault and it is likely they will be found guilty in a court of law.
Will I go to prison if I negligently shoot someone?
She didn’t negligently shoot someone.
If you are out hunting and there is an AD and you shoot somebody and they die, it is a homicide. You will likely be charged with something and might end up in prison, depending on the court.
So let’s take it slightly differently, let’s say she drew her taser, fired, he fell, hitting his head and dies from that. We’ve seen it more than once, somebody punches somebody, they are knocked out. Not dead, but standing unconscious. They fall and are killed from the impact of their head with the ground.
She is the direct cause of his death. It is homicide. BUT, because she is in the justified use of force process to “less than lethal” force, she would be found not guilty of murder.
If she had drawn her service weapon, demanded he stop and he continued, she would be justified in shooting him. See the Jacob Black s— show.
So the ONLY issue is that she said “Taser” and then shoot him instead.
If you had used a Taser on him, you would go to jail, because again, you are not LEO and you do not have the authority to make the stop in the first place.
If you had shot him, you would go to jail, because again, you are not LEO and you do not have the authority to make the stop in the first place.
Should he be dead. Nah. He could have made better life choices and not had a warrant out on himself. He could have obeyed lawful commands and allowed himself to be arrested. She could have Tased him instead of shooting him. She could have said “oh, you don’t want to be arrest, so sorry, just be on your way”.
Her duty, once it was known there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, was to arrest him. She has an entire spectrum of force to use to affect that arrest. From nice soft words to all sorts of painful actions. Resisting arrest allows her other options.
Reaching for a weapon (reaching into a vehicle is so defined) justifies her use of lethal force.
“She didn’t negligently shoot someone.”
So she meant to shoot him?
Sorry, once you say something that is objectively false, I stop reading until I get a clarification that you actually meant what you said.
But you keep saying things that are objectively false before you start clarifying your original statement.
It’s okay that she accidentally killed someone because she’s a cop is not a valid argument.
She didn’t think she needed to shoot him. We know that because she didn’t intend to shoot him.
The argument that she was authorized to shoot him and that makes it okay is a morally bankrupt position.
She meant to use some type of force on him. Since Tasers and handguns operate similarly, we could also say she meant to pull a trigger on him.
In that scenario, it sounds like either trigger was reasonably authorized.
She opted to try for the lesser of the two options, but in the moment, with no time to differentiate, she grabbed the greater.
“If you wait to see the gun, you’re going to see what comes out of the gun.” — Massad Ayoob
“Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.” — Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Brown v. U.S.
It wasn’t a negligent discharge; she meant to pull the trigger. It’s more appropriately classified as an accidental discharge; the trigger she pulled wasn’t the trigger she intended to pull.
But since she meant to use some kind of force, and such force — up to and including lethal force — was authorized, from a legal/criminal perspective it shouldn’t matter.
I’m with Tatum here – https://youtu.be/3SKivqzLois
Take care of your business, the cops won’t shoot you.
If you haven’t and get stopped, submit. Cops won’t shoot you.
I’m pretty sure that If I had skipped court (on a weapons charge) and thus had a warrant, I’d be sure to have my car registered properly. And when I know my tags or inspection are dead and I get stopped – it’s not a surprise.
“If you stress out a person with a gun, you may get shot!” — Chris Rock, How Not to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police
Force Science Institute has studied this phenomenon. They call it “slip and capture.” The intention of reaching for the Taser “slips” and is “captured” by the stronger, more ingrained, reaction of reaching for the gun. It’s more likely to happen in high-stress situations, of course. And the people who say “I don’t know how this could happen/Hasn’t she been trained?/She must be an idiot” have apparently never reached for their wallet and accidentally pulled out their phone.
Like you, not excusing, just explaining.
Force Science Institute has studied this; they call it “slip and capture.” The intent of grabbing the Taser “slips” and is “captured” by the stronger, more ingrained reaction to grab the gun. It happens more often in high-stress situations, of course. And the people who are saying, “I don’t know how this could happen/ Hasn’t she been trained?/Couldn’t she tell by the weight difference?/Is she an idiot?” have apparently never reached for their wallet and mistakenly grabbed their phone.
Like you, not excusing, just explaining.
There was a case a few years ago in Oklahoma where the same thing happened with a reserve deputy, I think the deputy was charged but the bigger stink was the police letting the victim die on the spot.
I was wondering if the circumstances of the arrest would justify deadly force; it sounds like several others thought that yes, it does. For one thing, it occurred to me that the particular arrest warrant (chances of illegal gun possession) would be a factor there.
On the mixup and training bit: I don’t have IDPA or similar experience, let alone field experience. I can believe that it’s hard to get things right all the time. But that brings up a question. The whole point of carrying a usually-not-deadly weapon (the Taser) is so it’s used when you want that level of force. If with standard training a police officer can’t reliably draw the Taser when intended, then I’d say the right answer is not to issue Tasers. If they only have one tool they will draw it and know how to use it, and what it does. If they have two that are different and they get them mixed up, that’s a bad deal. And perhaps for non-deadly force they need to go back to batons.
Another reason NOT to use tasers
Something no one here has addressed yet: the issue of giving a police officer another piece of equipment with a gun-like grip and trigger. As Tamara Keel has pointed out, mistake-proofing design is an actual field of study. There shouldn’t be training for an officer to grab a gun grip and think anything but “gun”.
Beat me to it.
A potential solution is to not issue Tasers that look, feel, holster, and function fundamentally identical to guns. Yes, it means officers would need training on another tool because the skills aren’t as easily transferable (which I’m sure is why LEO Tasers are gun-shaped), but maybe in this case that’s a good thing.
Taser company made their products bright yellow, but in the stress of the moment, or in the dark, what reasonable person experiencing adrenaline-induced tunnel vision will notice that?
That’s the only “fool-proofing” they’ve tried. Surely there could be something else they could consider …
… like maybe making some LEO Taser models that DON’T look, feel, holster, and function like their sidearms.
Another possibility would be to bring back revolvers. Perhaps even single action revolvers. Keep Tasers as they are; they certainly would be easier to distinguish from a .38 than from a Glock. Single action would have the benefit of making that difference even more obvious.
Even then, when adrenaline dumps, a few things happen. Elevated heart rate and respiration, tunnel-vision, loss of fine motor skills … and loss of feeling in the extremities.
When an officer can’t really discern what their fingers are telling him/her, I wouldn’t count on the tactile differences between a revolver and a Taser to register.
Single-action might help, if you can find a police union willing to accept its officers being “out-gunned” by thugs with semi-autos. And only until Taser adds a “safety” to their next model that must be depressed for it to discharge, that just happens to look and function like a revolver’s hammer.
Y’know, to increase skill transference and make their products easier for LEOs to learn to use.
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April and Old 1811 beat me to it. We discussed this on our livestream yesterday. Fight or flight, adrenal dump, ingrained habit patterns DO drive response. She ‘thought’ she had drawn the taser, but muscle memory went to the gun. The issue we discussed is how many times the gun is drawn vs. how many times the taser is drawn (both dry fire and range/actual use)… We believed she basically made a mistake that turned out to be deadly for the man, but he literally started it, then ran, so TWO bad choices in a row.
All of the comments here are overlooking one BIG point: cops are authorized to use force that the rest of us cannot. With that greater power comes greater responsibility.
The police department failed both the officer AND the public in failing to properly train their officer.
The officer failed the public, because she is ultimately responsible for whatever happens after she pulled the trigger. For that reason, you make sure that your actions are proper.
The fact that the man was wanted for crimes, or that he was resisting, is immaterial. Neither of the crimes he is alleged to have committed are punishable by death, he is presumed innocent, and the police are not a jury, a judge, or in charge of punishing lawbreakers.
The only issue here is: did the officer reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to defend herself or another? The answer, according to her own statements on the video, is no. Therefore, her use of deadly force was unreasonable, immoral, and unlawful. “Taser, taser, taser. Oh shit, I shot him” is not a statement that comes from a person who feels deadly force is reasonable.
This is a bad shoot, and she needs to be tried for Manslaughter. Let the jury decide if it was a crime. The family needs to sue the hell out of the department.
Other than the dead guy, the biggest victim here is the City Manager who was fired for saying that everyone, even the cops, are entitled to due process.
As for the broader policy applications, there are steps that MUST be taken to keep this from happening again. Training? Yep. Equipment changes? Certainly. Removal of qualified immunity? Perhaps.
I just thought of something.
How effective is a taser going to be on a target inside a car? If he’s already inside, with the windows up, those darts aren’t going to punch through the window or door.
The door was open.
The other officer failed in controlling the situation.
he should have moved Daunte away from the car door.
Move him to the rear of the vehicle, and put himself between the suspect and the drivers side door.
Get them both out of the roadway.
Shut the car door.
Cuff HIM!! Don’t fumble around.
Then Lieutenant Potter can let him know he is going to jail on a warrant AFTER he is cuffed. Do not tell he is going to jail while the other officer is still fumbling the cuffs right in front of the open car door.
Tasers? What are the alternatives? Can’t hit anyone with a billy club or sap anymore. go back to the old style Non-Gun shaped Taser? Move the taser to a shoulder holster?
how often was Lieutenant Potter on the street actually doing traffic stops? This was a Sunday Evening. She had 26 years in, therefore experience should not be an issue, but actual recent in the field experience may have been?
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