I’ve seen quite a few bloggers link to the bystander video of Monterrey Park Police officers shooting a man in the parking lot of a Carl’s Jr . this past Monday morning.
It seems like everyone wants to armchair quarterback this event. I’ll simply note the following:
- While the video isn’t great and audio is non-existent, the officers presumably warned the suspect to put down his weapon. The weapon itself has been described as a pipe bender or a Stanley Fubar, tools akin to a medieval war hammer in both shape and potential lethality.
- One officer then tried to use a taser, and it failed; the suspect simply removed the barbs and tossed them away without suffering any noticeable effects.
- As the officer that tased the suspect was re-holstering his taser, the man stepped towards him and raised the tool as if it swing it at the retreating officer.
- The K-9 officer covering the suspect reacted to the aggressive escalation against his fellow officer by firing his weapon five times center mass at the suspect.
- The suspect either retreated or fell backwards out of the camera’s line of sight.
- The officer originally deploying the taser fired an additional five shots at the suspect, who is still out of view of the camera behind the car.
- The suspect died of his wounds.
I don’t think there is anything like a “good” shooting. They are simply either justifiable or unjustifiable.
In this instance, officers responded to a disturbance and found a man armed with a large and potentially lethal construction tool. The suspect appears to have refused commands, was unfazed by less-lethal force, then aggressively raised the weapon and stepped toward a police officer, and appeared to be in range to deliver a crippling or murderous blow with his weapon.
The K-9 officer that fired first appears to have been justified in firing his weapon to stop the lethal threat to his fellow officer. Based upon the research I’ve read about combat stressors, I’m almost surprised he didn’t empty the magazine.
The “taser” officer fired shots at a suspect after the suspect went out of frame, behind a car that blocked the camera’s view of the situation. We simply can’t tell if his shots were justified or not, and it is irresponsible to speculate without more evidence than we have.
I do think that most reasonable people would agree that if the suspect was down at this point and was not acting in an aggressive manner, then the second volley of shots is harder to justify.
That allowed, we’re not in the best vantage point to second guess the events, and once the suspect aggressively moved toward the “taser” officer and raised his weapon, he earned his death.