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Old 05-07-2013, 02:21 AM   #1
Reedo302
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Officer Involved Shootings - Civilians: STAY AWAY!

The Middlefield Police OIS recently resulted in two cops putting down a mutt for being an oxygen thief. Here's the video if you haven't see it. Suspect is armed with an AK:








There are things to take away from this incident that all can learn from. However, the main reason I posted this is as a cautionary tale as to what NOT to do.

So, what I'm referring to is around 1:40 in the video. Listen, and you can hear some guy ask if the cop on the driver's side is okay. The guy then indicates that he wants to help and has a pistol. You hear the cop swear at him and tell him to get away.
This is indicative of people who seriously have their head up their anus. The shooting just stopped when this guy is already talking, so you know that while there was shooting, civilian was approaching. A couple things from our perspective as cops about this;

- I am in a gunfight, don't distract me
- Shots are still flying, and the suspect has an AK. Civilian is not bulletproof, and if he gets hit, I know have to tend to him. If gunfight is still going on, my #1 goal is to shoot the suspect. If you are there bleeding, you will continue to bleed because I am not coming to get you. I have my hands full. You may die before help can get to you.
- Suspect goes down, but he is not confirmed incapacitated. Why would you think it's all over with and safe to approach?
- Citizen approaching with a gun now has forced the officer to divide his attention and worry about being attacked from two fronts
- Citizen approaching now has forced the officer to divide attention to keep the citizen safe, endangering the officers involved
- Citizen has a gun around a uniform cop. BAD idea. In testing scenarios for active shooter incidents, cops and citizens in civilian clothing were shot by cops more than 50% of the time due to misidentification. Approaching a cop while you have a gun visible could be a death sentance for you.
- Citizen is a citizen, not a cop. Don't try to do our job. We are wearing body armor, we have the spare mags, we have the duty to fight, we have the radios and the backup. You don't. Observe and report later. Be a good witness in case it's needed.

There was an incident a while back where a citizen popped a suspect from a ways back while the suspect and cop were fighting it out. That was an extenuating circumstance and should be looked at as an anomale. I have significantly more training than the average citizen, and I know what training my partners have. I know what training officers in surrounding agencies have. The last thing I want is a citizen who has unknown training jeapordizing my life, my safety, or my operations. Sorry to say this, but 90% of shooters are nowhere near as good as they think they are. This includes cops, military and feds. The difference is that professionals train on these scenarios, while citizens don't. That bit of training makes up for the fact that shooting skill may be lacking. I can work with tactics, but I can't work with Ed the plumber who thinks he's all of a sudden a commando knight in shining armor there to save the day. Sorry, but this is reality.
In this case, the citizen was obviously not needed, and certainly not wanted.
Point of all this being, if you are carrying as a private citizen, remember that you are not a cop and don't insert yourself into a scenario unless solicited, or unless it's that one single extenuating circumstance where you know for a fact that you are really truly needed.

Then, at the end you see a guy running across the street and then straight at the incident. He is obviously a citizen. If this is you, turn around and LEAVE!!! If the suspect is down, we will get medics on the way. If the suspect is alive, he's still a threat. If the suspect is dead, we will have the coroner respond. Whatever the case, that area is a crime scene and we don't need anyone contaminating it.
Additionally, don't give medical aide to a downed suspect. Don't insist on it, don't even offer it if you aren't a doctor. If you do, and you are told "NO", LEAVE. If you disregard police order, you will be arrested. I have arrested people for attemtping to give medical aide to people against my orders. I control the scene, you don't. When something happens and I call medics, paramedics know that they can't go in to give treatment until police "clear them in". They have policies in place that prevent them from entering a scene without permission from police. This is for their safety first and foremost, and secondarily for security reasons.
Now, I will say this: people are far too curious, and too many people try to insert themselves into every situation. For every medical in public, EVERYONE is magically a nurse or doctor in their own head, despite them knowing nothing. I have had death scenes on a highway where people have stopped their cars in traffic to flag me over to ask me what is going on. Obviously, that is followed by me either ticketing them for stopping on a highway, or me yelling at them and calling them a moron. Yes, people are far too curious and far too "helpful" when it is not appropriate.

Additionally, if you are ever in an active shooter scenario and the police show up, lay down on the ground and hide your gun the instant you know police are there. Don't do anything to paint yourself as a potential suspect. Assume that you WILL get shot if don't do this.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:50 AM   #2
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solid advice.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:21 AM   #3
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Thanks for the write up Reedo, as always!

I couldn't help but think in the back of my head though: is this not that obvious? Do people actually try to lend a helping hand in the midst of a firefight?? I can shoot and everything, but seriously?
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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I tend to agre with absolutely everything you said Reedo. I have no wish to put an officer's life in jeopardy while he's trying to concentrate and fight for his life by either making him think about if I'm a threat or having to come to my aid. And I certainly have no wish to have extra holes or go home in a wooden box.

However, if I was to witness this, I don't know that in all good conscience I could sit there and watch the officers die without getting in the fight. If I got shot for it, so be it. This is me playing devils advocate as I always do.



The videos indicates there were two officers killed in this firefight. Against one guy with a Garrand or other form of military rifle. Surely three guns trained on the suspect creates better angles for law enforcement and the civilian to have a competitive advantage?

In the video you posted, the guy is an idiot to come running in there like Rambo, especially after the suspect is down. However, I'd be very surprise to hear either officer complain of him coming to their aid if they were very seriously wounded after the firefight as to be incapacitated. Better to let the officers bleed out of the ground than potentially stem the loss of blood? Or does that create too much confusion for responding backup to see two of their officers down and a man hovering over the top of them?

It's all well and good for us to simply remove ourselves entirely from the situation. But then we have to live with the fact that we might watch an officer who is a husband and father with 3 young kids bleed out in the street or be engaged by more suspects than he can possibly fight against die and know that we might have been able to make a difference. That would be something really tough to live with.

So it comes down to an extenuating circumstance. Ok, how are civilians supposed to make that judgment on the fly like that and not irk the police officer? My natural reaction if I was in position to help and it looked like the officer(s) were overpowered and nearing defeat would be to use my AR from 50+ yards away to take one or more suspects out. I realize that paints me as a potential third suspect and relies on he fact I'm properly positioned and actually have my AR. But should we really sit by and watch an officer die and the suspect leave for the mere reason that we might distract an officer in a fight and we too might be identified as an aggressor?
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #5
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On January 28, 2000, the suspect was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death two days later.
gotta love swift justice
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:46 PM   #6
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^
gotta love swift justice
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On January 28, 2000, the suspect was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death two days later.
...where he remained on death row for 20 years at a taxpayer cost of 30 million while he filed his 11 appeals...
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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...where he remained on death row for 20 years at a taxpayer cost of 30 million while he filed his 11 appeals...
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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I definitely agree that civilians should not interfere, but the officer was heavily outgunned. In most cases the officer probably would have been hit. If the officer was fine and returned fire and hit the suspect. I would stay out of the way, but have my weapon ready. I cannot hear what the civilian or officer are saying. Did the civilian fire any shots?
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:53 PM   #9
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I tend to agre with absolutely everything you said Reedo. I have no wish to put an officer's life in jeopardy while he's trying to concentrate and fight for his life by either making him think about if I'm a threat or having to come to my aid. And I certainly have no wish to have extra holes or go home in a wooden box.

However, if I was to witness this, I don't know that in all good conscience I could sit there and watch the officers die without getting in the fight. If I got shot for it, so be it. This is me playing devils advocate as I always do.



The videos indicates there were two officers killed in this firefight. Against one guy with a Garrand or other form of military rifle. Surely three guns trained on the suspect creates better angles for law enforcement and the civilian to have a competitive advantage?

In the video you posted, the guy is an idiot to come running in there like Rambo, especially after the suspect is down. However, I'd be very surprise to hear either officer complain of him coming to their aid if they were very seriously wounded after the firefight as to be incapacitated. Better to let the officers bleed out of the ground than potentially stem the loss of blood? Or does that create too much confusion for responding backup to see two of their officers down and a man hovering over the top of them?

It's all well and good for us to simply remove ourselves entirely from the situation. But then we have to live with the fact that we might watch an officer who is a husband and father with 3 young kids bleed out in the street or be engaged by more suspects than he can possibly fight against die and know that we might have been able to make a difference. That would be something really tough to live with.

So it comes down to an extenuating circumstance. Ok, how are civilians supposed to make that judgment on the fly like that and not irk the police officer? My natural reaction if I was in position to help and it looked like the officer(s) were overpowered and nearing defeat would be to use my AR from 50+ yards away to take one or more suspects out. I realize that paints me as a potential third suspect and relies on he fact I'm properly positioned and actually have my AR. But should we really sit by and watch an officer die and the suspect leave for the mere reason that we might distract an officer in a fight and we too might be identified as an aggressor?
that video was really hard to watch. officer should have wasted him the second he saw the gun.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:55 PM   #10
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that video was really hard to watch. officer should have wasted him the second he saw the gun.
Agreed. I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6 any day.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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I

?
Jesus Christ that's hard to watch....

...Then I saw this one after that... read the follow up too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotat...&v=Q8jaf_taALE
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:44 PM   #12
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David, the extenuating circumstance for intervention would obviously be different for every situation. In this case, the officer on the driver's side was still able-bodied. Where I would insert the need for outside intervention would be if the officer was down and on the ground bleeding. Intervene when it is obvious. In this case, the "good samaritan" had every reason to see the two officers still crouching behind the car doors. The lead officer on the driver's side was reloading, and then unloaded a whole 17rd mag at the perp. These actions do not necessitate outside intervention from the average citizen with a pistol.

Now, if there was a citizen 50yds away with a clear shot with a rifle, and they had the rifle, that's an entirely different story. The problem here is that with a pistol very few people could pop off rounds effectively at 50yds with a pistol, and when fighting against a guy with a rifle, you are making yourself a huge target. Citizens need to be aware of making themselves targets when they don't need to. It's a safety issue all-around.


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I definitely agree that civilians should not interfere, but the officer was heavily outgunned. In most cases the officer probably would have been hit. If the officer was fine and returned fire and hit the suspect. I would stay out of the way, but have my weapon ready. I cannot hear what the civilian or officer are saying. Did the civilian fire any shots?
The civilian did not fire any shots.
There were actually two officers. The driver was the senior officer and was a field training officer. The passenger was a female rookie cop being trained in. There were two cops in the shooting. One was hit in the arm and one was hit in the leg. Neither were out of the fight or incapacitated in any way.
Part of the stress involved was the FTO trying to direct his trainee. This was mentioned because he had to make sure the trainee was actually doing something. The trainee made some major mistakes, but it was mistakes that many rookies make.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:15 PM   #13
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Backup can wait... Shoot back!
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:08 PM   #14
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I just pray I never am caught in that position and have to make that sort of choice.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:25 PM   #15
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I just pray I never am caught in that position and have to make that sort of choice.
Rookie told her FTO (field training officer) to "cover" cover the guy while she radioed in. The guy was still up on his knees. You don't cover jack shit. You shoot the motherfucker to the ground to where he can't fight back. The FTO was reloading at the time, disregarded what she was saying, and just unloaded on the perp. He was a true gunfighter in this, no doubt. The rookie- She wasn't shooting back like she should have been.

It's a pretty common mistake for rookies to rely on their radios. They are taught so much about communication and the need for it that they fall back on it any time anything happens. I have seen rookies holding onto someone with one hand and then go for the radio with the other. Um...backup is already here, we don't need to know if you're fighting, we see it.

We also see that they often are not very aggressive. Rookies are apprehensive and rarely go hands-on, and when they do, they use too little force. This is also indicative of a poor firearms training program that does not teach officer to shoot the suspect ot the ground. The rookie was still new, so it's not unreasonable for her to lack the aggression and to resort to the radio. What is unreasonable is the firearms training program. I personally consider the firearms training of 95% of LE agencies to be unsat. And yes, mine is included in that.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:07 AM   #16
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clearly both civies were morons in this case. I could not believe what I heard when that civilian was attempting to talk to the officer in the middle of all this AND also state that he had a gun. OMG what an asshole. Then the other guy running toward the scene after all that, another effin moron. It's really sad that asshat civilians make serious situations such as this much more complicated for the officers.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:50 PM   #17
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Hard to hear. Did she says she was hit? Also, the baddie was screaming "kill me!" ??
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:10 AM   #18
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Yeah, he was yelling "kill me". I'm still having trouble getting how many times he was hit. The "rookie" sounds like she wasn't a rookie, but just junior to the driver and he was senior officer. He wasn't a field training officer.
Either way, they both fought it out and won. Unfortunately the female, Erin Thomas, lost a finger and still hasn't returned to duty. They found something like 400rds of ammo loaded into mags in this guy's car, along with a Go-Bag and numerous manuals on anti-government and sovereign ideology.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:14 AM   #19
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Yeah, he was yelling "kill me". I'm still having trouble getting how many times he was hit. The "rookie" sounds like she wasn't a rookie, but just junior to the driver and he was senior officer. He wasn't a field training officer.
Either way, they both fought it out and won. Unfortunately the female, Erin Thomas, lost a finger and still hasn't returned to duty. They found something like 400rds of ammo loaded into mags in this guy's car, along with a Go-Bag and numerous manuals on anti-government and sovereign ideology.
Ah c'mon, most of us have mags with that much ammo loaded . Granted, I don have all of them loaded into my car with the rifle and a bunch of books on anarchy, but still.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:06 AM   #20
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I'd have to agree with most of that.
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