Monday, October 25, 2010

Use of Deadly Force: Pre-Shooting Conduct and the 21 Foot Rule

A circumstance that officers often face is the suicidal individual who, in essence, holds him or herself hostage. These are difficult cases. While such cases require a police response, officers sometimes are caught between a rock and hard place. Much has been written about the concept of “suicide by cop” but the fact remains that officers are often called to deal with these situations and are expected to prevent the suicide without causing injury or death. At times this is an impossible task. A common denominator that runs through this type of case is an attack on the officer’s tactics in approaching the individual. While at the moment the officer shot, he or she was in danger, the theory is that the officer did something that was tactically incorrect in the approach that contributed to the need to use deadly force.

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