My Life Changing Event

This was originally published at The Bang Switch in 2013, and then appeared on the blog at Full 30 in 2016.  However, since I recently wrote about my “Paid Vacation” some folks asked about this piece because they could not find it.  I am republishing it here on my website so it does not disappear again should something happen to Full 30.

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There have been a few mentions in other articles here (on The Bang Switch) about my having been involved in a shooting. During my career, I have been involved directly in two, and indirectly in quite a few more. The more recent one in which I was directly involved was a much different event that has caused me to make many changes in the way I do things, both at work and at home. As the two year anniversary approaches, naturally I find myself contemplating it. I find writing this out to be somewhat therapeutic, but this is a long one so, if you choose to read it, please hang in there.

Also, as this is my story, some of my personal views may come out. Take those for what they’re worth, but please don’t try and lecture me about my opinions if they happen to differ with yours.

I have been a Deputy Sheriff for just over 17 years. I work in a very wide spread, mostly urban, metropolitan area that includes six incorporated cities, plus the unincorporated part of the county. The unincorporated parts of the county vary greatly, from tightly packed residential neighborhoods with lots of low income housing complexes, to large rural areas that are sparsely populated. My department provides service to the unincorporated parts of the county, in which about 560,000 people live.

The last 15 years of my career have been (were) spent working patrol on swing shift (3pm-1am). I love swings, both because of the volume and variety of calls, but because the hours best fit my life outside of work. My department utilizes a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and we all have computers in our cars. The cars are also equipped with a GPS locator system that is tied into the CAD, which has a mapping system that allows us to zoom in all the way to specific addresses, including the corresponding lot lines (similar to Google maps, but not as pretty).

It was a hot 100 degree early July night two years ago. That particular night, I was working our north central area, which is mostly residential housing, commercial properties and lots of low income apartments. It is a very small but diverse district, which routinely has the highest volume of calls for any of the patrol districts. It was almost 9pm and I had just finished dinner when I got sent to an incomplete 911 phone call at a local Motel 6. The caller said nothing and hung up. I told the dispatcher that I would handle the call solo because it sounded rather innocuous. While driving to that call, I got an update that on callback, the handicapped female in the room was asking for the fire department to assist her in getting dressed. The fire department advised us that deputies were not needed.

I began exchanging silly comments about that call with my dispatcher via the CAD messaging system. I have known my dispatcher for about 15 years and we have always been friendly. A few moments later, she dispatched me to another incomplete 911 call. This one said that a disturbance could be heard in the background and that someone had hung up. As a rule, when a disturbance is heard, the call takers will not call back. Initially when I was dispatched, I was sent by myself because no other units were available.

One of our canine units offered to cover me. He has a similar number or years of service with our department, but he and I had only recently begun working the same area and prior to this call, I think I had only been on maybe one or two other calls with him. Since as a canine unit, he covers the entire north part of the county, I had no idea where he was coming from. As I drove to the call, which was located in a fairly nice residential neighborhood, I continued to joke with the dispatcher about my previous call, asking how I could request a fire truck loaded with hot women to come get me dressed. She had similar concerns, but was instead looking for the calendar model type firemen instead. As I got within about a mile or two of my call, I decided to look at the CAD map and see about how far off my cover unit was. He appeared to about the same distance from the call as I was, perhaps a little further away. Since I had the map pulled up at this point, I zoomed it in to see where on the street the house I was going to was located.

As I got close to the call, I pulled to the side of the road around the corner from the call location to await my cover unit. That placed me a little more than two houses from the call location. I blacked my lights out and I cracked both windows a few inches so I would be able to hear if anything was going on. I advised my cover unit where I was waiting for him and then I closed my computer lid to avoid illuminating myself inside my dark car.

As I sat waiting for cover, I heard a male voice yelling and it sounded like it was coming from the area of my call. I could hear the yelling, but could not make out what was being said. My car was positioned so I could just see the corner of the front yard of the target house. It was fairly dark and there were no street lights near the house, but there was a light on at the front porch. In that dim light, I thought I saw some movement so I decided I needed to approach to see what was going on. I figured my cover had to be pretty close by now.

(Very similar setup to our cars, but this is not one of my department’s vehicles.)

I put the car in drive, turned the corner onto the street, crossed the street and drove south against the left sidewalk (wrong side of the street). As I slowly approached the house, I saw a male walking from the north corner of the garage, down the short driveway, and south away from me on the sidewalk. It was poor lighting, but he appeared to be carrying a rifle. It looked to me like a rifle with a wood stock and what appeared to be a white sling. As previously mentioned, I am a gun nut, and the first thing that came to my mind was a presentation or parade type rifle, like an ‘03 Springfield or a Garand with a white patent leather sling.

When I saw him holding the rifle, I decided that it would not be prudent for me to go to a rifle fight with my pistol, so I hit the lock on my rifle rack and pulled my personal 14.7” LWRC M6A1-S from the rack. I charged it and put the forward vertical grip in my left hand. Since he was walking toward a parked car, I decided I would wait to see if he was just going to place his rifles in the trunk of the car. He did not. In fact he walked past the car and then started across the street heading deeper into the neighborhood and towards a very dark, unlit area. Open carry is not legal in my state, and we were responding to an unknown disturbance call in which this man was likely involved, so I could not let him just wander off into the darkness toting a rifle. I decided I would hit my lights and using my PA, tell him to put the gun down. I rested my rifle’s forend on the steering wheel, I hit the high beam switch first, then turned the lights on with my left hand and using my right hand, grabbed my PA mic and told him to put the rifle down and turn around with his hands up. At this time, he was approximately 40 yards from the front of my car.

Apparently, this man I had never once met, had other plans. As soon as I told him to drop his gun, he turned around, shouldered the rifle and fired a shot. I saw the muzzle flash, heard the report, saw sparks near the front of my car and heard the round impact my car. Still seated in my car, I shouldered my rifle and brought it up. I immediately noticed that in the stress of the moment, I had neglected to turn on my EOTech (why I switched to the Aimpoint PRO), but since my rifle has a fixed front sight, I decided to use the EOTech as a very large rear sight aperture. Of course, that whole thought process took about 1/8th of a second. I dropped the safety and clicked off several rounds directly through my windshield. I looked up and he was still standing and had the rifle still shouldered. Not knowing if the windshield was affecting my shots, or if the lack of having my EOTech on was causing me to miss, I decided I needed to move (another ½ second thought process).

I stuck the car in reverse and began backing out. This is the point that my in-car camera begins recording. In watching the video, this man can be seen firing two more rounds at me as I back my car out onto the adjacent street. Since the street I had been parked on previously is a four lane street that often has heavy traffic, I checked the oncoming lanes as I backed into the intersection. I cranked the wheel and backed across the road at an angle getting myself out of the direct line of fire. I activated my light bar, which is what activated my in car camera system, and the 30 second buffer is what captured the shots fired as I am backing. I grabbed my radio mic and voiced that I had exchanged gunfire, that the suspect was still armed and that I needed additional units.

I placed the mic back in the holder and exited my car with my rifle. It was at this point that I turned my EOTech on. I stayed on the driver side of my car, near the driver door, keeping the hood, and subsequently the engine, between me and the suspect. About 5-10 seconds later, my cover unit pulled up and stopped on my right and just slightly back from me placing his front bumper at about my front doors. He exited his car with his department issued 16” barreled Colt AR-15, equipped with nothing but iron sights. He saw the rather large hole in my windshield and asked if I was ok. I told him I was fine, I gave him a brief suspect description and pointed to the direction in which I last saw him.

About 2 seconds after the canine handler arrived, one of our CSI units pulled up to the left of my patrol car. Our CSI units are sworn deputies who have completed patrol training. Additionally, the one who showed up has several years patrol experience in one of our contract cities. He exited his truck and had to dig his rifle out of the back of the extended cab.

The CSI officer had just got his rifle out when we saw the suspect approaching us, only now he was armed with a handgun. He was walking at a very rapid pace. I looked past him and saw another male, who appeared to be wearing a black tank top and a pair of dark colored shorts, standing directly in our line of fire. I yelled at him to go back in his home, and thankfully he listened. I redirected my attention back to the suspect. At this time, he was about 40 yards from me and was holding the handgun down at his right side. He was still walking directly at us at a very brisk pace.

Both the canine officer and I began directing him to drop the gun and stop where he was. He repeatedly said “That’s not going to happen”. He kept approaching us at the same brisk pace, holding the gun down at his side. I recall having drawn an imaginary line on the street in the back of my head, and he was not going to come past that line because that would put him within range to easily hit us with his handgun. When he got to that line, I fired, as did the canine officer.

I remember thinking this as it happened, it was the weirdest thing. It was like my brain was controlling two guns. The canine officer and I both fired the same number of times, and almost in perfect unison. Thankfully, the CSI officer used his better judgment and did not fire. He was behind and between the canine officer and me, and if he had fired, he could very well have struck either of us.

Upon being shot, the suspect dropped immediately and began bleeding out very rapidly. I walked past my car with my gun still on him. As I arced around him, to get a better view of his hands, I could see that he was no longer holding the gun. I advised the other officers his hands were clear and then I got on the radio and requested the fire department for medical aid. The canine officer began looking for the handgun and the CSI officer was helping him.

About this time, a motor unit arrived. Since we had not yet contacted the house from which the 911 call had come, that was still a possible threat or a location with other possible victims. I grabbed the motor officer and we covered the front of that home until other units arrived and one of my coworkers relieved me at my position.

Through the investigation, it was found that I initially fired four rounds through my windshield and six rounds in the second engagement. The canine officer also fired six rounds during the second engagement. The investigators determined that one of my first four rounds struck the suspect in his right side causing a large laceration, but not hitting anything vital. They told me they were able to determine that because there was windshield safety glass embedded in his shirt at the location of that wound.

It was also found that what precipitated this event was that the 44 year old suspect, a man who had battled bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia his entire life, had just gotten into an argument with his elderly parents, with whom he lived. He told them he was going to kill himself which was why they called 911. When he heard that 911 had been called, he told them he was going to go out in a shootout with the cops.

I firmly believe, and after mentioning this theory to the canine officer, so does he, that the suspect was walking away from his home to set up an ambush for us, and that my early arrival may have very well saved our lives. The suspect was leaving the home with a loaded Mosin Nagant M44 bolt action rifle (coincidentally, I own the identical rifle), for which he was carrying spare ammo. What I saw that I thought was a white patent leather sling was actually a section of white rope he was using for a sling. He was crossing the street and heading to the darkest area on the street, which has an excellent view of his front doorstep providing him an excellent place from which to ambush us.

(Not the actual gun)

When I began replaying the incident in my head that night, something stood out in my mind as not adding up. When he fired his first shot at me, I remembered seeing sparks at about the same time as I heard the impact, but jacketed lead bullets don’t spark when they hit a plastic front bumper cover or plastic grill. I began examining the front of my car and was not able to find any holes, which further stumped me, until I heard what type of gun he was using. An examination of the ammo he had revealed it was steel core Russian surplus. What had happened was his elevation was off significantly. His first shot hit the street about eight feet in front of my car, causing the sparks when the steel hit the asphalt. That round ricocheted up and struck a frame member directly under my driver seat, leaving a ½” deep dent in the steel frame.

Some of the work related things this incident taught me consist of:

1) Had I relied on my department to issue me my gear, I would have been carrying a department rifle instead of my personal gun, and this incident would have played out very differently. At the time, our department issued 40 year old military surplus M16A1 rifles, with iron sights. It is not because they don’t care, but the budget is just not there to purchase 300 new rifles for every patrol deputy. The guns we got were free, and any long gun is better than no long gun. Since my shooting, I have tried to shoulder that full length rifle in my patrol car, and even with the seat back all the way (which is where I have it anyway since I am 6’3” tall), it would not have been possible to return fire from inside my car. My LWRC is significantly shorter in overall length and was easy to maneuver inside the cramped confines of my patrol car.

2) I am thankful that I have always taken range training serious, and that I have always practiced as if it were a real gunfight. I will continue to do so, and will make every effort to ensure others take their range time seriously as well.

3) I made some changes to what I carry on my gun belt, and I added a way to carry a spare AR magazine at all times (Blade-Tech Double Pistol & Rifle Combo Mag Pouch). I always had multiple spare mags in the trunk, but in case of a rapid deployment, like this incident was, I want to have a spare on me just in the off chance that it could turn into a prolonged firefight.

4) I retired my beloved, personally owned, blinged out Sig P220, and got a department issued P226 in 9mm. With the purchase of three 18 round flush fitting Mec-Gar mags, and with one of the issued 15 round Sig mags, I more than doubled the amount of pistol ammo I am carrying (from 25 to 70). Plus, I have the other two issued 15 round Sig mags as spares in my tac vest, along with my other 6 spare AR mags. Taking fire really made me paranoid about the possibility of running out of ammo. I do not plan on ever letting that happen.

5) I have played multiplayer first person shooter video games for many years (much to the amusement of my beat partners), but have always tried to play with a realistic mindset. I honestly think that the 80,000+/- simulated firefights I have been in on the computer helped me think very quickly when the real one happened. I never froze or stopped to think once during the incident. Firing through the windshield, backing the car out to get to a better place to engage him, staying behind cover, etc. All of that came naturally since those are things that I do when I play video games. Granted, video games don’t help with all the physical aspects of shooting a gun, but I feel they can definitely play a role in training your mind to react quicker when you are confronted with a real world gunfight, plus their just plain fun.

I made some changes in my personal life after this incident also:

1) I make sure my wife and kids know that I do not take them for granted. I make sure I tell them how much I love them every day, usually several times a day, and especially every day before leaving for work. As much as having coworkers killed in the line of duty over the years (7 on my agency during my career, 1 was a personal friend) has made me reflect on this, nothing drives it home like being involved in your own incident firsthand.

2) I used to be reserved when it came to sharing my opinion on matters of politics, but no more. I have become much more involved in the entire political process because one thing my career has taught me, is that the liberal policies that rule the state in which I live and work have bred an entire population of people for whom I spend 40 hours a week acting as their parent or babysitter. We need a society that promotes self-sufficiency, not dependency, and I am doing everything I can to spread that message. If you disagree with that assessment, you are entitled to your opinion, but I challenge you to spend a few shifts on a ride-along with a law enforcement agency in a large metropolitan city and experience the fruits of those policies firsthand. It was this unwillingness to be quiet that lead me to writing political commentary, which landed me a writing gig for Joe The Plumber, which in turn lead me to writing here, at The Bang Switch!

Three other cops were killed in the line of duty that very same night across the country. Two were killed in car accidents (one of which was a pursuit), and the third was shot to death. As the anniversary of this incident nears, I find myself thinking about them and how I could have easily been number four. The fact that I was not added to that list makes me very grateful for everything I have, and makes me appreciate even the smaller things much more.

Thanks for bearing with me during this very long account. Remember to take some time each day to appreciate the little things in your life, and lets all stay safe out there!
Matt


To address some things brought up in past discussions:
– No, I did not get a 72 hour “calming” period before talking to investigators. I was interviewed by the Homicide investigators that night, about 90 minutes after the shooting, after they finished their initial walk through at the crime scene. Prior to them, I had to tell my story to the deputy handling the main portion of the report and to several different supervisors each time a new one arrived.

– Yes, I had an attorney there but she only asked a couple of clarifying questions after the interview was over. As a cop, I cannot plead the fifth and must cooperate with the investigation if I hope to keep my job. Coincidentally, that is exactly what I would do anyway since I had nothing to hide.

– Yes, I was automatically put on paid administrative leave for the next five days, which was most definitely not a vacation like everyone seems to think. I finally fell asleep at about 5pm the next day after the adrenaline dump finally wore off, the following day I had to go to the range to get a loaner rifle since mine was now residing in the crime lab (shooting at a target of a man pointing a gun at you takes on a whole new meaning), the next day I got to go sit down with a shrink (oooh, yay!), the next day I had to go to the critical incident stress debriefing and talk about how the incident made me feel (because you know, cops really like sharing their feelings with their coworkers), and on the fifth day, I finally got to sit down with my wife and kids and try, very unsuccessfully to forget about the whole thing.

Inevitable Result of the War On Cops: An Innocent Life Lost

Congratulations to all the anti-cop protesters out there, this woman’s death is the direct result of your actions!

First, before I go any further, I feel horrible for the family and friends of Elizabeth Tollison, the innocent woman who was killed.  I offer my sincere condolences for your loss. My comments that will follow are not remotely meant to belittle her loss, but rather to address what caused it.

Elizabeth Tollison died because, thanks to all the violent anti-cop protests across the nation over the last 4+ years, cops are now afraid to do their jobs. Had this incident occurred 6 years ago, that suspect never would have gotten close enough to that poor old lady to injure her, let alone have her become a hostage. Those cops would have dropped him before he could get that close, and rightfully so, because when you don’t, this is exactly what happens.

Here we have a “brown skinned” man, clearly armed, with a violent history, on parole, who cops were called on because he was violent and attacked his girlfriend, and several white cops who, arguably rightfully so, don’t want to shoot him lest they become the next face of the rallying cry against law enforcement. After all, “he only had a knife…”

We have been saying this was going to happen.

We have watched proactive cop work practically cease.

This is just another example of the Ferguson Effect.

Congratulations Black Lives Matter! Congratulations Barack Obama! This innocent woman’s death is the direct result of your actions.
-Matt

Media Ignoring Facts They Reported To Make Cops Look Bad

Fox40

On February 25, 2017, three police officers from the small city of Rocklin, CA shot and killed a man in an absolutely justified shooting.  The district attorney just officially confirmed the same when they announced that no charges will be filed on the officers because the shooting was justified.  And that is where the story should end.

BUT the anti-cop media and Black Lies Matter will not let it go as they seem to be contending that the cops shot Lorenzo Cruz for no reason, and then are covering it up.  After all, look at the poor young man in the tuxedo, he would not do anything wrong… (seriously, I searched via google and the ONLY pictures I can find of Lorenzo Cruz are this one, in the tux)

Rocklin police officers who shot and killed a man after a February confrontation have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

The Placer County District’s Attorney’s office announced their decision not to pursue any charges against the officers Thursday.

However, the matter is far from resolved, according to activists who showed up at the Rocklin Police Department with a list of demands.”  

Those are the first three lines from that story about the outcome of the shooting.  To those who have been following this shooting, this was the expected outcome because it was a textbook case of a justified shooting.  However, to the media and their favorite trouble makers, Black Lives Matter (henceforth referred to as Black Lies Matter), it is far from over.

”‘He’s a compassionate person, he’s never stolen anything, never been in trouble with the law, it doesn’t make since that he’d go from not doing anything wrong to breaking into someone’s house at 10 in the morning,’ said Faison.”

Let’s just take a quick look at that pile of horse shit being shoveled by Faison, the Black Lies Matter representative.  I will refute her statement with information that has long been available to the public, via the media, and none of it has been denied.

“Police first encountered Cruz when they attempted to stop his vehicle for expired registration, according to the District Attorney’s letter. Cruz drove off at high speed. (Expired Registration – I, Evading Police – M/F) Officers determined a pursuit would cause too much risk to motorists and other people in the area, but they obtained a description of the vehicle and the license plate number.” –Sacramento Bee

Having personal knowledge of Rocklin PD’s pursuit policy, it would have been a clear violation of their policy to pursue Cruz in this situation.  That said, it can very well be argued that had they pursued him and apprehended him, NONE of the things that occurred later in the day, culminating in Cruz being shot, may not have ever occurred.  I would argue that the very restrictive pursuit policies, like Rocklin’s, those very policies that are pushed by liberal, anti-cop politicians, are the very reason more people are victims of crime, like the people who were victimized by Cruz later that day.

Continuing on with Cruz’s crime spree that day…

“Police later received a 911 call from a resident reporting that the same man was behaving in a bizarre manner and had rammed his vehicle into a gate in a residential neighborhood. (Felony Vandalism – F, Hit & Run crash – M) Witnesses reported that they were confronted by the man, and described him as angry and aggressive.

One witness reported that Cruz first attempted to enter his home through a sliding glass door, then broke a glass laundry room door and entered the home. Cruz reportedly retreated when the homeowner confronted him with a weapon. (Burglary – F)

Cruz then got into a neighbor’s vehicle and attempted to flee (Attempted Vehicle Theft – F), but was confronted by the three Rocklin police officers.”

Thus far, at a minimum we have documented one infraction, two misdemeanors (one which could possibly have been a felony), and three felonies.  But yeah, I can see how if I was a Black Lies Matter person, that could totally be seen as “not doing anything wrong.”  But hey, we aren’t done yet.

“When officers located Cruz and ordered him to surrender, he failed to comply and officers saw he had what appeared to be a firearm. Cruz was shot when he pointed the weapon at one of the officers. (Brandishing a Weapon – M)

Police later determined that the gun was a replica firearm that had been painted silver to look like a real gun, according to police.”

So, we can add two more crimes, a misdemeanor for brandishing a weapon and one which resulted in his being shot, felony stupid (the act of doing something so stupid it gets you killed – not a real crime).

Now that the DA has made their announcement, Black Lies Matter stepped in and presented a list of utterly moronic demands.  Personally, I am sick and tired of these juvenile, petulant idiots who completely ignore the culpability a person has in their own demise in order to put ALL the fault on the cops.

“Thursday, Black Lives Matter presented a list of demands to the Rocklin Police Department including: release of the police report and all video of the incident, charges brought against the officers involved, a community investigation, monetary compensation for Cruz’s family, and an apology from city officials.”

The proper response to those requests is “pound sand,” but in the politically correct world in which we live, where elected officials more often than not bend to the will of those who scream the loudest, I suspect we will see some capitulation.

Look, I feel for the family and friends of Cruz.  Sometimes we really don’t know the people we think we know.  I’ve been in those shoes.  A man I spent months working with, in the same car, a man I’d known 20 years, a man I called a friend, was arrested on very serious charges.  I get being upset, I get being blindsided.  I get being confused and angry.  I really do.

BUT, don’t blame the cops; blame the person who did the acts, blame the person who deceived you.

In the case of Cruz, friends, family and Black Lies Matter would have you believe that not only are the rotten, evil police lying to cover up their shooting of “another innocent POC” (person of color), but the cops also successfully convinced numerous private citizens to aid them by manufacturing all the incidents that lead up to Cruz’s shooting.  Oh yeah, the cops also apparently mastered time travel and successfully went back in time to create the original failed contact / pursuit in an attempt to bolster their story.

Seriously, what version of this makes more sense?  That friends and family of Cruz either did not know about his criminal behavior, or that they are ignoring it OR  that the cops shot Cruz and are covering it up?

It is long past time for the public to start demanding honesty from our “news” sources.  They have all turned into tabloids, running whatever story will get the most traffic.  They push known lies for the sake of the story and they give a voice to people who are blatantly lying because doing so makes them money.  None of that is acceptable.

DA Says Cops Were Justified – Mayor is a Bloviating Ass!

KeyframeMannoption2

Several months ago, on July 11, 2016, the Sacramento Police Department was called to a neighborhood by multiple 911 callers regarding a crazy guy running around threatening people with a weapon.  Some callers said he had a knife, and at least one thought he had a gun.  Officers arrived and engaged the man, who continued acting crazy, brandished a knife at the officers and threatened them.  This went on for a while, during which the subject charged at officers and innocent bystanders several times.  The subject would not cooperate, would not drop the knife, would not stop running around, thereby not only putting the officers in danger, but also the general, unsuspecting public in the area.  Officers eventually stopped the threat by shooting the man.  The entire incident was captured on video from multiple sources.  The man was a transient with a long history of mental issues and drug abuse.

Family members, who had ignored their mentally ill homeless family member for years, suddenly came out of the woodwork demanding to know why the cops shot their much beloved (albeit totally ignored) family member.  As one has come to expect, they immediately sought the assistance of an attorney rather than wait for the investigation to be completed, or for the district attorney to render a decision on whether or not charges would be filed.

Family members and their dutiful attorney demanded the video be released.  The video showed exactly what the cops said it would show, but the family and liberal politicians had a conniption when they listened to the in-car video of the officers who ended up shooting the suspect.  As the officers were nearing the scene, one of them said they should hit the suspect with their car.

OH MY GOD!!!!  What did they just say?  Hold the phone, stop the presses, yell and scream like a lunatic while waving your arms in the air…  Hit him with a car?????

Yes, hit him with the freaking car!

Lethal force is lethal force.  If lethal force is justified, it matters not whether it with a gun, a knife or the front bumper of a patrol car.  In fact, as an EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) instructor, our California POST provided driver training simulator includes a scenario where the student is encouraged to use their vehicle to stop an armed, fleeing felon who is shooting at them.  Yes, we actually train the academy recruits and anyone who takes the simulator class to run over an armed subject with their patrol car.  And that simulator scenario is a California POST approved scenario.

Now here we are, nearly seven months later, the investigation is completed and today, the District Attorney’s office released their decision: lethal force was legally justified and the cops will face no criminal charges.  In fact, they DA released their entire report, including a very long statement of all of the facts.  You can read the whole thing here, but the following excerpt sums it up nicely.

There is no doubt that Officers Tennis and Lozoya were dealing with a very dangerous individual who posed an immediate threat to the officers and the public. Joseph Mann was acting aggressively while under the influence of methamphetamine. He exhibited a deadly weapon in a rude and angry manner at multiple civilians and appeared to them to also be carrying a firearm. He slashed his knife in the direction of officers and threatened to use it to cause them bodily harm. He ran aggressively at an officer holding his knife in a threatening manner. He repeatedly refused commands to stop and disarm himself. While attempting to escape from pursuing officers, he ran directly in front of multiple businesses into which he could have easily entered and harmed others. When he finally stopped, he was holding his knife in a menacing manner and turned directly towards officers who were in close proximity trying to disarm and arrest him. Considering the totality of these circumstances, and the rapid decision the officers were forced to make because of the immediate danger to themselves and the public that Mann presented, Officers Tennis and Lozoya acted lawfully in using deadly force.

CONCLUSION
Officers Tennis and Lozoya were justified in shooting Mann to defend themselves and each other, to protect the public from imminent harm, and to prevent the escape of a suspected felon who posed a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to others. Their conduct under these circumstances was lawful. Accordingly, we will take no further action in this matter.

If you have a different opinion, I highly encourage you to read the entire report, and then put yourself in those officer’s shoes.

After the DA’s office released their report, ultra liberal democrat Darrell Steinberg, the recently elected mayor of Sacramento, the city where this shooting occurred, released a statement that just proves what a bloviating jackass he is.  Notice how he starts by saying how much he appreciates and respects the cops, BUT then goes on at length to say how he disagrees with them and how they are bad.

“I have enormous respect for the men and women of the Sacramento Police Department. But  what unfolded with Joseph Mann is extremely tragic, unacceptable, and we are  reminded of that again today with the District Attorney’s decision.

As Mayor, I  am committed to ensuring we leave no stone unturned as we look back on what  happened. It is why I will be laser focused on the results of the ongoing  internal investigation. If the internal investigation concludes officers were  following policy, then it is past time for us to change those policies. There  must be accountability.

What else  can we do to take responsibility – to show a demonstrable difference – to  reconcile outdated policies and practices with where the true heart and culture  of our police department and City stands with our community?

This is one  of my top priorities and why City Council voted unanimously to pay for 40 hours  of comprehensive crisis intervention training for our entire police department  during our third meeting.

It is our  responsibility and moral imperative to have the best trained, equipped and  supported community police to protect all of our citizens and community at  large. We should accept nothing less and I will work to ensure we are a city  that supports the men and women in uniform so they can support all of us.”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “everything before the BUT is bullshit?”   This is a quick read and it explains why Steinberg’s public statement shows he has ZERO respect for his own police force, or for the legal decisions rendered by the District Attorney’s office, but would you expect anything different from a democrat politician, especially one in California?

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“Cops Murder Unarmed Black Man,” Or Did They?

Sadly, a couple of days ago, on Friday September 16, 20016, an Oklahoma cop shot and killed an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher. There is absolutely no denying that, because that is what happened. But that is where the honesty in the discussion taking place on social media and in teh mainstream media ends.

Yes, the cops shot him, but does that mean they “murdered” him? If you were to search the hashtag #TerenceCrutcher on just about any social media platform, you will likely be inundated by comment after comment proclaiming the cops murdered him, or worse.

Yesterday, numerous people were tweeting out this screen grab of the official police statement, while calling the statement a lie (wording used varied by commenter).

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I’ve watched a couple of the videos (helicopter and 1st responding officer’s dash cam – both videos linked here) and I will admit that the dash cam looks really bad, mainly because we can’t see anything past the officers. On the other hand, the video from the helicopter provides us a much better view of what happened, but neither of those videos can be taken as the sole piece of evidence.

(Helicopter video above)

(Dash cam video from 1st responding officer above)

Now, based on those videos, I can say, without any doubt in my mind, that the police statement is absolutely 100% correct. Just to clarify, agreeing that the official police statement is accurate does not necessarily mean that I am saying the shooting is justified. More on that later.


Slightly off topic, but one thing worth noting here because far too many people are making a huge stink about it online: the comment in the helicopter video where one officer says “that looks like a bad dude” is not something that went out on the radio.  That was recorded via the helicopter’s communication system that allows the pilot and observer to speak to each other.  If you don’t believe me, watch the in-car video again and listen to the police radio traffic in the background.   


 

First, we have the mainstream media spreading lies. Take this headline (below) from the ABC News main website (not a local station, this is ABC corporate). Half true, half incendiary lies. Yes, Crutcher had no gun; no his hands were most definitely NOT up when he was shot. ABC was not by any means the only mainstream “news” station to have a similar headline.  What is this, Mike Brown all over again?  Can we at least stick to the truth?

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Then there are the countless morons drawing the false comparison between Terence Crutcher and Ahmad Khan Rahami (the NYC & NJ terrorist bombing suspect), saying the cops killed Crutcher because he was black, but they only arrested Rahami.


I guess, you know, because cops like Muslim terrorists who shoot at them better than they do black men? I mean, that is what these idiots are insinuating, is it not?

The fact of the matter is the cops fired numerous rounds at Rahami, and struck him and unknown number of times (I’ve 1-2 times). Yes, the cops shot both men. Sadly, the ONE SINGLE round that was fired at Mr. Crutcher clearly (from the helicopter video) struck, at minimum, some vital organs, if not an artery, which is evidenced by the extreme about of blood visible almost instantly. Both men were rushed to the hospital after being shot, one of them survived.

There are many other morons out there, including Shaun king (the crazy white guy who thinks and pretends he is black) who the liberals at the NY Daily News have seen fit to give a large platform to, preaching that the cops had no reason to have their guns drawn and had no reason to even put Crutcher in handcuffs (because many people have asked why they didn’t cuff him) because he had not committed a crime. Well Shaun, your legal expertise is severely lacking. It is not necessary that someone have actually committed a crime in order for cops to handcuff them, or point guns at them. If the cops suspect they may have committed a crime, they can be detained, in handcuffs even. If they are refusing to cooperate, force can be used. More on that later.

Yet another thing far too many people are hung up on is that Crutcher “was unarmed.” Yes, he was, but in the beginning of this incident, Crutcher and only a single officer were involved in the encounter. None of us knows what transpired during that encounter, but we do know that whatever it was, it was tense enough that the female officer, who was much smaller than Crutcher, got on the radio and requested Code 3 cover, and it was enough to cause her to draw her weapon and point it at Crutcher. You see, while Crutcher may not have been a bad guy (I have no idea if he has a criminal history or not), there is no way for a responding cop to know that, and in order for cops to avoid being hurt or killed, we automatically assume everyone is a bad guy until we figure out otherwise, less something like this happen:

Further expanding on the irrelevance of the whole unarmed argument, Crutcher began ignoring the officer’s commands, he turned and walked back to his vehicle. As he walked, his hands were in the air, but they were only in the air until he got to his driver’s door. At that point, his hands dropped and he began digging in the car, still ignoring the officer’s commands. Honestly, when watching this video, it immediately made me think of a video EVERY cop has seen in training, and I would be willing to bet it was going through those cops’ minds too. The shooting death of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller.

When examining any police use of force, from a simple twist lock all the way up to deadly force, there is one thing that must be considered, and that is whether the cop’s actions were “objectively reasonable.”  That phrase and concept come to us via a US Supreme Court Case that was heard in 1989, Graham v. Connor.  The court ruled that only the information known to the cop at the time of the encounter (not facts later discovered), in conjunction with that cop’s training and experience, would lead another equally trained/experienced officer to make a similar decision.  In other words, were the cop’s actions objectively reasonable with the information they had at the time.

One last thing that we need to clear up before I delve into my opinions on this shooting; murder, by legal definition, is the unlawful, intentional killing of a human being.

Later

Ok, so now that we’ve got the lies and half-truths addressed, let me offer my own opinion, however limited.

As I said, I’ve watched the videos. From other reports, whether or not they were accurate, it appears the first officer encountered Crutcher while driving to another, unrelated call. Per those reports, Crutcher was not cooperative from the onset. While we do not see the beginning of the encounter, we do see that he is not cooperative from the time he is on camera. As soon as they have him in camera view, he is turned away from the solo, much smaller female officer, who has her gun drawn, and Crutcher is walking away from her. Crutcher continues to walk away, ignoring commands, and walks to his car and begins reaching inside the car. Crutcher is shot while still reaching in the car, falls to the ground and does not move again.

  1. What I can assume based on the facts is that the encounter between Crutcher and the female officer is confrontational at a minimum. If it was not, she would not have requested code 3 cover. If the encounter is going bad enough that you are requesting code 3 cover, it is reasonable to have your gun drawn.
  2. Cops have every legal right to detain Crutcher at the onset of this encounter. His car, which they have no way of knowing it is even his, is stopped in the middle of the street, and is actually on the wrong side of the road. According to the reports, he approached the cop and was immediately confrontational. That is two things that are not normal, which should lead anyone to wonder what is going on. Since it is the cops job to investigate situations like this, and the cops are present, it is legal and reasonable to detain those who are involved. If the subjects are cooperative, handcuffs may not be used, but if the subject is uncooperative, as Crutcher clearly (from the video) is, handcuffing him would be normal (once sufficient cops were on scene to do so).  So yes Shaun King, the cops could very well have legally detained Crutcher in handcuffs.
  3. As cops encounter any situation, we have no magical way of knowing who is a good guy and who is a bad guy. The first thing that gives us an inclination of which side of the spectrum they fall on is their behavior. Crutcher, at the earliest point we see him in the video, is most definitely not acting like a good guy. Acting in a confrontational manner, and refusing to follow lawful commands, only serves to put the cops more on edge, and put you in more danger.
  4. Crutcher walks all the way to the driver’s door of the vehicle and begins reaching through the open window, doing something that the cops cannot see. This is yet another red flag to the cops, and any cop in that situation is going to be assuming the worst.
  5. We have no idea what was said between Crutcher and the initial officer. Depending on what Crutcher told her, she could have had very real concerns that Crutcher might be planning on taking offensive actions towards her or the other cops. For all we know, he could have said “I’m going to grab my registration from inside the car” or just as easily, he could have said “I’m getting my gun and am going to kill you.” The fact of the matter is, none of us knows what was said, and none of us should assume one way or the other.

So, the million dollar question is, did those cops “murder” Terence Crutcher? The shooting appears to have been intentional, so half of that murder question is a yes, but was it unlawful? We do not have enough information to make that call. Granted, lacking any knowledge of cop work, and looking at the videos, especially the in-car camera, it looks bad, but we cannot judge the incident only on what we see.

With that said, I suspect it will be found to be a lawful shooting, based on everything going on here. I think the objective reasonableness standard will be found to have been met in this case.

Would I have fired? Damn, tough call. Some cases are a slam dunk “absolutely!” This is not one of those cases. I wish I knew what was said, and what transpired before the cameras were on scene.  With what we have available, I don’t know.

However, one thing I can say without a shred of doubt in my mind, if Terence Crutcher had cooperated, if he had followed the lawful commands he was given, he would be alive today.  Folks, this is not about skin color, none of it is.  It is about not doing stupid stuff when the cops are pointing a gun at you.


All of the above is the opinion of me, Matt, an actively employed deputy with 20 years on the job.  I realize some folks might dismiss my opinions because I’m one of those evil cops.  For another opinion, one from a man who is not a cop, read this article by Bob Owens at Bearing Arms.


** Updated 9-20-16 / 1245 hours Pacific **

Latest Update to this who situation is that not only did the female officer who first contacted Crutcher say that he was acting as if he was on PCP, but the cops located PCP in his car when they conducted a search of it.  This does not mean he was necessarily high at the time.  We will have to wait for the autopsy and blood tests to determine that.


** Updated 9-20-16 / 1400 hours Pacific **

The Tulsa Police have released two different 911 calls that they received from citizens regarding Crutcher’s behavior and his car.  These calls were made prior to the officer contacting Crutcher.  So, it now appears that the cops were not the only people who thought he was acting as if he were high.