This is outside of my normal post but near and dear to my heart. Let me explain. When I was young man I often had to escort patrons of the bar I worked outside. Often they did not willingly go. I had to call the cops at time for an assist but back then cops did not have tasers in their arsenal. The only non-lethal weapons the cops had at the time was their version of club (a type of tongfa) and mace.
Back then if you did not follow the cop’s directions – they had to get up close to you to use non-lethal weapons. This did not always go well for the cops as in the case of Sagon Penn. In that highly charged San Diego incident where a suspect allegedly was being treated bad – the suspect did not allow himself to be arrested, grabbed the cops gun and shot the officer and civilian. So in that context I will talk about how dangerous a cop’s job is from a self defense point of view and explore the current use of tasers.
I used to think that being a police officer would be a great job and although I heard it was dangerous – I assumed because police carried guns – it really was safe. Then as a teenager I studied karate and was amazed at the damage a trained fighter could do in a short amount of time. I started to fight tournaments and work the door as a bouncer and finally realized how lucky I was that no police agency ever hired me.
Lessons I learned:
- There is no for sure safe and legal way one officer and take one non-compliant person into custody.
- Inside of critical distance – the first one that moves and piles on – is usually the winner.
- Cops are taught to treat people fairly and legally.
- The only safe way (to the cop) to take someone into custody is to incapacitate them (knock them out, zap them, group attack them).
- It is safer to have multiple cops on scene to arrest a suspect so if something goes wrong – they can all help out.
So what would I do if I was a cop and had to put cuffs on a uncooperative suspect? At the very least before I got close to them I would have them lie on the pavement face down – arms behind their head. I’d have a couple of cops one hand to grab the suspect so he could not do anything while I was trying to cuff him.
Failing that I would knock the suspect out and then cuff him. Here is the thing that most people do not realize – being a cop is not easy. Not only do you have to deal with bad people – you have to be fair at all times if one ever wants to win a court case and put the criminals in jail.
So cops cannot generally use their clubs, pepper spray, and tasers on suspects that comply (or the cops would catch hell with the public and juries).
But these non-lethal weapons are not always 100% safe. One can accidentally maim or kill a person with a club. One can have an allergic reaction to mace or pepper spray. One can also die from a taser.
The non-lethal weapons are preferable to shooting a non-compliant suspect and generally all will go well with the non-lethal weapons in most cases. Sometimes a suspect will get hurt or die with these non-lethal weapons.
So what is the solution? I don’t think there is a way to keep some non-compliant suspects from getting injured as they get taken into custody.
I don’t think it is fair to expect cops to risk their lives by allowing themselves to get beat up or worse if their suspect happens to be a trained fighter (or smoked angel dust).
We already ask cops to risk their lives on our behalf to get criminals off of the street. Sometimes criminals don’t go easily and fight back. I would rather any criminals that fight back risk their lives!
Here is my solution. If a cop tries to arrest you… GIVE UP!!! Go peacefully! If you disagree – hire a good lawyer but Don’t Fight Back!
I found this article that really upset me here.
The article seems to be reporting how cops and taser manufacturers have updated their methods and guidance. But they do not point out the need for weapons of this type.
The article points to a criminal (18 year old) that spray paints (tagging) public property. While I would agree that tagging is not what we think of a violent felony – attacking the police is a violent felony. The man did not submit to being arrested and charged the cops.
What should the cops have done? Let the guy go? Beat the guy with their night sticks? What the cops did do was to taser him. The cops were put in a bad situation.
What should the suspect have done? Give up!
So as sad as it is seeing people get hurt or expire while getting taken into custody – I would much rather see the criminals get hurt then the cops.
So if you have criminal tendencies or know some one that has – Give them this secret: If you get caught in the commission of a crime – give up. Its not worth your life or the cops life because you want to break the law.
I am so thankful that our cops go out in to the neighborhoods every day and try to hold society together.