More On York County Cop Shooting Of Seventy Year Old Man

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 2 months 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.


  1. On March 17, 2014 at 7:53 am, Paul B said:

    Definitely a growing problem. The only ones mantra needs to go bye bye.

  2. On March 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm, robscottw said:

    The sherriff only wants the DL manual changed so that he would have absolute cover for this in the future.
    And, he is trying to shift blame right now to the victim.

  3. On March 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm, SteveP said:

    The cop did a lot wrong. He panicked and “shot first and asked questions later”. The shooting was an act of cowardice on the officer’s part, caused by training that makes cops pathologically paranoid.

  4. On March 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm, Josh said:

    Going home at the end of the shift should never, ever be the most important thing to a police officer when dealing with a citizen that has not given the officer any cause. Foot chases involving felons and routine interactions with the populace are NOT the same thing, yet are treated as such.

    Better training, a paradigm shift within the LEO community, ceasing almost all no-knock raids and perhaps most important of all: wearable cameras on all officers, federal and local, immediately. There is no excuse – the technology and funds are there, as the influx of DHS hardware proves.

  5. On March 18, 2014 at 4:29 am, Frank Szabo said:

    Be ready to defend one’s self from either a thug or a cop if possible. After a few of these bad cops get caught on their video and the citizen’s defense is ruled a good shoot, THEN their attitude may change.

  6. On March 18, 2014 at 10:34 am, tonyII said:

    Police state growing by leaps and bounds

  7. On March 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm, Pat Hines said:

    If cops are shooting first, it’s because we’re permitting them to do so by failing to react to their actions. If they put their hand on a weapon, that’s assault and can be answered with force that may be lethal.

  8. On March 19, 2014 at 7:31 am, TexTopCat said:

    Police are protected by unions that are way too powerful. Need find ways to limit government workers unions.

  9. On April 7, 2014 at 9:49 am, Heyoka said:

    Here is my part.
    Law Enforcement are agents of the people. They have their jobs because of the taxpayers and get hired by other agents of the people. they have no more right than the individual humanbeing who is a citizen. They have been hired to represent the people in the areas of law enforcement so we are not all out doing that for ourselves. This is called a “Republican Form of Government”. Please refer to Article IV Section 4 of the United States Constitution.
    The right to be armed is no greater than the people or it is NOT a Republican Form of Government. Lets get this nasty element out of the way right now because herein lies all the problems we are encountering. If the police don’t have any more right than we do they will not be overstepping their right and killing people randomly because they did not exercise due diligence. They have less safety concerns than the Citizen because they knew the job has certain risks involved in being a police officer; Those who live by the sword will die by the sword”. It is also called assumption of risk. If this bozo is not aware enough to know that there is risk involved that is greater than the average citizen walking around out in public then I damned sure don’t want him carrying a gun and wearing a badge and acting on my behalf, being a danger to the rest of the citizens and him or herself.
    So if I stopped and some fella gets out of his car and reaches in the back of his truck and I mistake his cane for a gun and shoot him who gets in trouble. Me of the poor SOB I just shot??? Well we all know the answer to that riddle now don’t we???
    Are you beging to get the point or shall I go on????/
    15 years ago the cop would have been is serious trouble. Nnow it the citizens fault because he didn’t follow procedure…. ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EVERLOVING MIND???? And since when did department policy replace the law. Is the sheriff some new legislative office or did I totally miss what sheriff means? If the policy violates the law then the policy is illegal.
    What kind of double speak backward A$$ thought process is this. No Knock killings of citizens, wrong house killings, shootings and killing pets… All of this junk is from going down this road of totalitarianism…. They have or will have total control if we do not stop this headlong rush down the road of rationalization which has been perpetrated upon the minds of the citizenst that presupposes we need to bend to the will of our servants.
    My life and safety should not depend upon some dumb a$$es job and how safe they feel. Their safety does not trump mine, it is the otherway around. Are you people stupid??? If they don’t like the damned job they can quit. I do not work and live so they can live off me, it is the otherway around and this is the fundamental issue with all tyrannical steps to serfdom.
    Issiah says the the whole world is upside down… NFS!
    Well there is my rant for the day.

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You are currently reading "More On York County Cop Shooting Of Seventy Year Old Man", entry #12018 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published March 16th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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