1 month, 1 week ago
We’ve covered how a York County cop assumed that a slow moving seventy year old man was sweeping around and picking up a long gun to shoot him. He shot the elderly man, who as far as I know lives today.
There is more from The State:
YORK COUNTY, SC — The York County Sheriff’s deputy who shot a 70-year-old man reaching for his cane during a traffic stop last month wept and begged God to forgive him after he fired about six shots at the man, according to the deputy’s dash cam video released Wednesday afternoon.
During a news conference at the York County Detention Center, Sheriff Bruce Bryant said deputies reviewed video of the incident “time and time and time again” and feel that Deputy Terrance Knox did nothing wrong when he fired his service weapon during a traffic stop on U.S. 321 in Clover at about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25. He also said he does not believe the victim, Bobby Canipe of Lincolnton, N.C., did anything “intentionally” wrong when he stepped out his car and began walking toward Knox while grabbing his walking cane.
Still, Bryant said he plans to speak with the state General Assembly and state Sheriff’s Association and push for legislation requiring state and even federal highway officials to add instructions in driver’s manuals on what to do when motorists are stopped by police officers.
“We’re not making excuses in anything we’ve done,” Bryant said, “but if you’re out at night … and you’re out there by yourselves (on traffic stops), you’ve got to realize that these officers must act to protect their own safety. You do not exit your vehicle and go meet the police officer. You do not do that.”
I can remember when this was not standard procedure or regular protocol. I can recall a time when it was the expectation that you exit your car. I am not at all certain and it isn’t at all apparent to me that it’s safer for the LEO for you to sit in your car when stopped. But whether this is better than what was once the expectation, the elderly man probably remembered an earlier and simpler time when he was pulled for some minor traffic violation and was asked to exit the car – or did so as routine.
Putting something about this in the driver’s manual means next to nothing as far as I’m concerned. If LEOs and their departments can leave the bubble of their own jobs for just an instance and learn from someone else, as a professional engineer the first thing that crosses my mind for any design, piece of work, procedure or operation is “What does a failure mode and effects analysis tell us?”
To Sheriff Bryant, if it’s standard procedure that motorists stay in their vehicle, assume that it doesn’t happen. Always. Never assume that things go according to your own plans. No one cares about your plans or your training or even your expectations. If you haven’t prepared your officers for failure of motorists to follow your procedures because they don’t know them, you are failing your officers.
Let’s also observe that not only are departments failing their officers in basic schooling, they are failing officers in the very culture being encouraged within the department. Once again we find Sheriff Bryant claiming that nothing wrong was done by the officer who shot he elderly man, and the tape makes it clear that this was a trigger happy, less than thoughtful officer who was later told by his colleague that “You done what you had to to!”
See the comments in the first article on this subject, but it simply isn’t service to society or anyone else when an officer removes his own risk by placing it on innocent people around him. We see this all across America every day, from SWAT teams who bust down doors pointing rifles at women and children and screaming obscenities at them, to large city cops who unload 80-100 rounds at a time at assumed perpetrators, hitting innocent victims, windows, doors, and other things in the process. We saw it recently in, of all places, Alabama, where an innocent man was gut-shot by an officer because be was carrying his wallet to the officer.
Mature, thinking men and women have been replaced by “tacticool operators” on police forces across America, using rules of engagement more liberal than what our Soldiers and Marines labored under in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the result that law enforcement is losing what Mike Vanderboegh calls the mandate of heaven. We have more and more laws, more and more procedures, more and more “blue walls” protecting officers, and less and less respect from the people who have a healthy fear of LEOs, wondering when some frightened cop is going to unload a weapon in their direction.
To claim that the officer was merely protecting himself denies that their lives are analogous and equivalent to our own in two distinct ways. First, it places officer safety above that of everyone around them. Second, it ignores the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee versus Garner where the Supreme Court emphatically ruled that LEOs can shoot in self defense only, just like ordinary citizens. But as an ordinary citizen and concealed (or here in North Carolina, open) carrier, if I unloaded my weapon at a man who was picking up his walking stick, I would be charged with (and found guilty of) second degree murder. End of story. This dual standard is immoral and weighs heavily on the American people.
And the sad part is that it doesn’t really have to be this way. Becoming a law enforcement officer really can be a service to the community. For that to happen, though, requires a complete paradigm shift in operating philosophy, management, training, and expectations, and much higher qualifications for becoming a LEO in the first place.
Don’t hold your breath for any of that to happen.