This was posted to Twitter:

 

I believe this was a bad shoot.

I said so and I have taken a lot of abuse on the bird app for it.

The pro-good shoot people have really settled on three arguments:

The gut refused to drop thr ax after three warnings.

Thr guy could have thrown the ax.  Emphasis on could.

I’m a stupid, pro-criminal, armchair quarterback who is too much of a pussy to be a cop.

The last one seems to have taken over and insults and ad hominem have become their primary talking point.

Regardless, I’m going to explain why I believe it’s a bad shoot.

First, I must acknowledge some points.

I am not squeamish about a cop needing to take a shot when the situation demands it.  Readers of this blog should know how much I critical I was of the Broward County Sheriff and Uvalde Police for not responding immediately.

I have cataloged cases and stated over and over again how the proper response to an active shooter is to go in and take him out as fast as possible.

But that is not this scenario.

The whole situation unfolded in less than a minute.

The man with the ax did not rush as it charge the officer.

Yes, he did say “no” when told to drop the ax, but a verbal refusal of an officer’s order is not justification to shoot.

Yes, the man did raise his arm holding the ax.

It did not appear that he had cocked his arm to throw it.

 

An ax is not a projectile weapon.  It can be thrown, but there has to be a reasonable understanding of the accuracy and distance over which that is a possibility.

What is that distance, 20, maybe 25 yards?

Now I would understand if this man had an ax in a crowded area where there were potential victims in close proximity.  It would have been a good shoot in defense of a third party.

But this was a isolated and open area.

There didn’t appear to be anyone else nearby.

There was lots of potential room for the officer to maintain a safe distance, call for backup, and attempt to de-escalate.

This was not a hostage situation, this was not an active shooter, and it was the officer, not the guy with thr ax who closed the distance to danger close.

This officer went in cranked to 11 and shot the guy in the head in under a minute.

From a safe distance, had the man with the ax become aggressive, has he closed the distance with the officer, yes it would be justified and I wouldn’t be arguing against it.

I don’t think I’m the bad guy for believing that police response should be situationally dependent and that SOP should be towards less violent action.

Across the country, there have been a number of tragic cases of police shooting elderly people with dementia or suffering from a diabetic crisis.

Swatting has also been a major concern for the last few years.

In this case, the 911 call apparently included the information that this man was mentally ill.

I’m not in the camp of “defund the police, send in social workers.”

But there has to be a middle ground between an inept response and blowing a guy’s brains out in under a minute.

Yes, police do deserve the right to go home at the end of the day, but so do suspects.

Actually they do, the 4th through 8th Ammendments enumerate the rights of the accused.  Arguably, given that, law enforcement should err on the side of preserving the lives of suspects until absolutely necessary.

I don’t believe that a guy raising his arm holding an ax at 20 yards met that level of necessity.

Do I think this officer will be charged and convicted?  Doubtful.

But it should be a lesson in developing a better SOP and an example of what not to do.

I refuse to accept that I’m the problem because I believe cops should take a few moments and try a little harder to preserve life when they have the opportunity to, instead of going in blasting.

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By J. Kb

8 thoughts on “Why I think this is a bad shoot”
  1. This happened on April 21st of this year. Subject was a felon with multiple arrests. Article was printed on December 9.

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2022/12/09/bodycam-footage-shows-moment-leading-to-ax-wielding-man-being-shot-by-jacksonville-officer/

    At 0:04 seconds officer exits the vehicle
    At 0:09 seconds officer begins to run across the field
    At 0:12-14 seconds you can see both hands as he runs
    At 0:15 seconds you no longer see his right hand
    At 0:20 seconds officer has stopped running, asks someone else, “Is that him?”. Cannot hear a response.
    At 0:39 seconds officer fires a single shot
    At 1:09 seconds officer turns to his left and another office is shown with gun drawn, but held low and safe.
    At 1:20 seconds video ends.

  2. I’m with you on this one and I think you summed it well.

    Its easy to imagine myself in those shoes in a case of mistaken identity, over eager or nosy neighbors, or a swatting type situation.

    A second or ten of delay before head shorting a dude far enough away from you and with enough obstacles in the way he didn’t really pose a charging at you threat is needed.

  3. It does not look like a good shoot to me either.
    I understand the arguments for calling it good, and I am not educated or trained enough to really make that call, but the three pronged test is not really satisfied. I did not see a threat, the man was standing there. I did not really see opportunity for the man to cause harm, aside from the possibility the ax could the thrown. And, frankly, the officer was the one that placed himself in harms way.
    .
    There were more than enough opportunities to de-escalate the situation. Yes, that is Monday morning QBing, but one would hope a cop would be looking for that, instead of pulling the trigger. For no other reason that to avoid the paperwork and mandatory time off/counseling/whatever, I would hope the cop would have backed off to a safe distance instead of pulling the trigger. De-escalate first, while remaining ready to shoot. Sights on target while you take a step back. Your bullet will go further than his ax any day of the week.
    .
    Then again, I do not think the cop has to wait until the man throws the ax either.

  4. Unless it turns-out that this guy was the AX-Throwing Champion of Florida or has used excessive force against law enforcement before, or there was a gun on the ground at his side, I’m heavily leaning toward…..this cop should have taken a few more minutes, remained back and behind cover, while additional officers arrived.

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