FORCED TO SHOOT UNARMED THREAT

Note To Readers: The following is reprinted from the Use…

Note To Readers: The following is reprinted from the Use of Force Journal published by ILEETA (the International Association of Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers), where the author has served on the advisory board since the organization’s inception.

The use of lethal force against unarmed suspects is incorrectly seen as unjustified by “the average man,” perhaps because TV and movies have conditioned the public to a false ethos that forbids good guys to “use more force” than bad guys. It’s similar to the equally false ethos that says you’re supposed to let the other guy shoot at you first before returning fire.
American law has long understood the concept of Disparity of Force. It covers situations in which the ostensibly unarmed criminal’s attack on his victim – in this case, a police officer – is so likely to cause death or great bodily harm that this physical advantage becomes the equivalent of a deadly weapon. This in turn warrants the victim officer’s recourse to a per se deadly weapon, usually a service firearm.

Force of numbers is an element that creates lethal force ability on the part of those attacking the victim officer. More often than not, a male violently attacking a female can constitute Disparity of Force. While this would not necessarily hold true for a female heavyweight kickboxing champion fighting Casper Milquetoast, the courts understand that males generally have much greater upper body strength than even females their own height and weight, and that the average male is taller, heavier, and stronger than the average female of our species.

A great disparity in size and strength can also constitute Disparity of Force.

(When you testify for your officer in such a case, mention to the jury that this is why Heavyweights are forbidden to fight Flyweights in boxing matches and most other forms of “sport-fighting.”) An adult violently attacking a child is certainly another category of Disparity of Force, which a police officer might find need to apply in a rescue situation. Extremely high skill in unarmed fighting is another well-established example of Disparity of Force, but the officer will have to be able to articulate that he either knew that the man he or she shot was a black belt, professional fighter, etc., or show that such skill was obviously inferable from the opponent’s actions. For example, the officer has just seen the suspect sidekick two brother cops through a plate glass window.

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  • Mr. K

    Pulled over for speeding and got punched in the face? The question is what did your dad do to get an officer to punch him in the face? Secondly, 6 police officers on scene and not one of them had a gun… doubt it unless your not in America. If that is the account your dad is telling you, I say there is a lot he left out.

  • Eric

    May I ask why the officer struck your dad?

  • Mr.T

    My dads a kickboxing expert, he got pulled over for speeding, which he was doing… There were six policemen, one punched him in the face, and the others sheepishly tried to cover it up. He coulda taken that guy out, he might have even been able to take all of them out. But he didnt. He still got a ticket.
    Its just a good thing they didnt have guns.

    Justice delayed is justice betrayed.