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Brutal But Necessary

Brutal But Necessary

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What is being described as a “brutal takedown” by police caught on video is drawing criticism from witnesses who said the officer went too far.

The encounter occurred Friday afternoon when police responded to a 911 call claiming a man was acting “crazy” at a gas station in Vallejo, California, CBS San Francisco reports.

The first arriving officer chased the suspect for several minutes until the suspect finally stopped and sat down in the middle of the street.  Unfortunately, stopping did not mean that he was “giving up.”

The officer attempted to gain control of the suspect on the ground and tried to place him in handcuffs, but the suspect continued to struggle.

The video shows the officer using body strikes and his flashlight to areas of the suspect’s body that would not significantly injure the suspect.

The suspect continues to struggle and says “I am God, I am God.”

The crowd and subsequent witnesses to the local media that claimed police brutality are continued examples of why some in our society will never understand why police use the force and techniques that they do in tense situations that could get them killed in an instance.

While I admit, to a novice, the video can be troubling, I see nothing with the contact of the suspect that is remotely close to excessive force.  The police officer arrives to a 911 call of a man acting “crazy” and then runs from the officer.  Just because the man stops, the officer has no idea what he is about to encounter.

He does know some things.  The man was acting in a way that solicited a 911 call and the man ran from police.  When the officer caught up to the suspect, he did not surrender but rather kept struggling and moving his hands about.  If you don’t think this is a problem for the officer, try subduing anyone, including a small child, that is waving their hands around in defiance.  Getting anyone under control in that matter will not look pretty and that’s not even taken into consideration someone acting “crazy” and running from  cops.

In short, while untrained witnesses may see some innocent person surrendering to law enforcement, there is no reason the officer in foot pursuit of the suspect should believe that.

The hands are the problems and until the suspect is handcuffed, no officer should back down at this point.  Now, the suspect could have easily rolled on his stomach and placed his hands behind his back to be handcuffed but he doesn’t so what options does the officer have in closed quarters with a man struggling with his hands moving?

The only option, as I see it, is exactly what the officer does.  He uses strikes to the body in areas of the body that would not severely injure the suspect but it is designed for pain compliance to get the suspect into custody.

The techniques are how we are trained and are much less invasive than TASER or OC Spray.  We simply don’t see the officer doing things that could significantly damage the suspect and in fact the strikes were not even of a hard nature but rather to get compliance rather than injure.

Nathan Mendes is an Arrest/Control Instructor and co-founder of the Law Enforcement Combative Course taught across the country.  He says that “it is easy for anyone to jump to conclusions about what they see in the video.” Mendes related that “like most people I am also watching it from the comfort of my own home.  I was not involved in a foot pursuit or a struggle with the suspect in the median of a busy road; all the while having a crowd surround me.”

Mendes told us that based on what he sees from the video, “the officer used a reasonable amount of force to gain control of the suspect.  The use of striking as a means of distracting the suspect and gaining compliance through pain is consistent with modern police training.  The officer also utilized top control of the suspect to prevent him from escaping and risking both parties from being struck by a passing vehicle.  In this instance, compliance must be gained quickly to prevent further injury to either party.”

Yes, what is seen in camera may look bad and it may even look “brutal” as some witnesses said, but what the officer uses are techniques that are absolutely appropriate for the situation and trained in every police academy in this country.

No one ever said that police use of force would look pretty and I can guarantee you that running after a man claiming to be God that then struggles is the last thing this police officer wanted to do on this shift.

I don’t understand everything that medical doctors do and sometimes they do things that simply don’t look right to me but I don’t question it because I have no training in their techniques.  Law enforcement will never be given this kind of latitude and while I have no problem with citizens questioning our actions, there should be some understanding, in most cases, that what the citizen is watching is through a lens that is untrained to make specific determinations of what they are seeing.

In this case, the officer will be cleared because what he did was designed to take the suspect into custody with the most appropriate amount of force in that particular situation.  The officer did just that and the suspect retained no injuries.

Those can be difficult concepts for the layman to understand and while it would be my hope that our citizens would try, that simply will not be the case with everyone.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/TuE4JeawjYk”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

About The Author

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Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. His Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates has a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for SAFETAC Training.

  • Shark

    To the Ohio chief. F YOU MONKEY FACE

  • Shark

    There was another black man shouting. “Shoot Me! Shoot me” when the officer pointed his gun. Come 2 steps closer than there would be a dead black man on the ground. Stupid negro witness has to throw his 2 cents in when an officer is trying to control this a hole. BLACK LIVES DO NOT MATTER. The average life span of a black man in the city is 19 years old. KEEP KILLING EACH OTHER PLEASE

  • ahaz

    It’s always interesting to hear the purveyors of violence, who are given legal authority to use violence, justify it. The guy was crazy, let’s beat the hell out of him. There was traffic, it’s important that I beat the hell out of the suspect to keep him out of traffic, never mind that the officer’s very actions could have carried them both into traffic. And BTW, still have time to reach for a firearm to threaten citizens who were very concerned about the person who was getting the plummeted. Try better next time. It’s an interesting perspective that police have thinking that punches, hitting a person with flashlights and other weapons are a means to gain compliance, whereas in every video I have seen, actually causes the victim to naturally defend and protect themselves, in fact escalating danger to both suspect and officer. By no means do I say that violence isn’t sometimes required or even justified, but in this case, the suspect had sat down and was immediately jumped and pummled by the officer. The public has every reason to question this officer’s behavior.

    • Law Officer

      AHAZ- We have been patient with you because, while we often disagree with you, you remain professional and articulate but to call law enforcement “purveyors of violence” is a low blow even for you. You do show your ignorance of police practice and tactics when you say he was beaten to “hell.” It was quite the opposite and while you may not have liked what you saw, I can guarantee you that the suspect had no injuries…hardly “beaten to hell” as you describe.

      • ahaz

        Actually, you are correct. I will retract that line as it was inflammatory. I admit, I sometimes lose my patience with the justifications put forth on this site and others. This was one of them. However, I stand by my original statements that this officer may have used unnecessary force to subdue this subject. In this case, the officer imitated and escalated the violence exposing subject and officer to unnecessary danger. And certainly the actions of the officer, angered the public that witnessed the event. Which leads me to the problem that I have with the use of force standards used by every police department. That they get to define what is appropriate instead of the public. Because we have allowed police to define what is appropriate, via Conner V Graham and others SCOTUS rulings, we see force used as a first resort in too many cases and certainly deadly force used too much in this country. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s fact. I think police departments need to rethink their interactions with the public and certainly redefine use of force polices. The public is increasingly dissatisfied with the way our police use force. This isn’t hyperbole either, it’s fact. In fact the CATO institute publish a survey on public attitudes toward police. It isn’t pretty and the saddest part of the survey is that attitudes haven’t changed much in over 50 years. So we’ve had the same attitudes and now that video is readily available, I doubt improvement until police in this country understand that fundamental change is needed in order to remain relevant as an integral and trusted part of the community.

        • Law Officer

          Is it the police that need to understand and change or the public that needs to understand and change perception? We call it like we see it and we often call out poor leadership and poor training but until the United States Supreme Court changes their standards, then it is unfair to continually blame cops for many problems that have nothing to do with the police. This country has a violence and a mental health problem. Study the Washington Post data and you will see that about 900 out of 950 shootings, the suspects had weapons and in one-fourth the suspects also had some sort of mental health issue. Cops are not super heroes that get the luxury of knowing someone’s medical history upon contact. Your mind is made up and we aren’t trying to change it but a little understanding and patience with what our men and women behind the badge are facing could help you. Conservatively, there are 12 million arrests made a year and millions more contacts. Almost all of them you will never hear about. Policing today is as professional as it has ever been. We are here to push that professionalism further. We are not about status quo but we also aren’t going to jump on the political bandwagon and blame cops for everything. It’s a tough job that you have the luxury to sit back and analyze before you comment.

  • Timothy Walters

    Should of gave him 50,000 volts and not break a sweat. Much cleaner for the camera’s and more importantly not risk getting hurt. Public will never be happy. I learned something from the video, thanks.

  • My question.

    Why is the automatic resort to violence necessary?

    Could the LEO not have talked the guy down?

    The guy on the ground is obviously mentally unstable. I’ve talked violent soldiers down without beating them down like that. Some of these soldiers were on drugs or intoxicated beyond belief.

    Why do Cops automatically jump to violence?

    Because the guy ran from him? Make a Cop run and suffer the consequences?

    The guy was nuts but I’ve heard no one say that he had acted violently. Could the LEO not have talked him down.

    Why is violence always THE preferred method of dealing with the Citizen?

    Doesn’t help that they LEO looks like a skinhead. lol

    • mrsleep

      The guy was running from the police.
      I hope, in your town, the cops stop chasing people who run from them.

  • Mike Klarman

    Oh My God!!!!!! He dropped the “F” bomb twice. For the love of God. How could he???If I heard that I would be traumatized and need counseling. Are u f***ing kidding me??? Kids in kindergarten are using the “F” bomb these days. In the grand scheme of things who cares? This guy had psychiatric issues. I work in hospital security and let me tell you they are downright dangerous. Even a criminal that is resisting can come to realize when they are outmatched and give up. Not these people. Some of the common “tools of the trade” will be ineffective as well and may cause them to get even more violent. Add in some of the drugs available on the street these days and it can be a disaster. Kudos to the officer in this case!

  • docbobbyk

    Did the man break any law? Is “acting crazy” something you arrest someone for? Is this for the man’s protection? Do you beat a man into submission “for his own protection?” It seems there have been many of these encounters where the officer(s) look like they are no better than trained attack dogs, with one single mode: violence.

    • mrsleep

      So, you think people should just be allowed to run from the police?

      • Shane Bond

        Dude probably mentally ill. They should not be immediately beaten for “being crazy” unless they physically attack an officer.

    • Katrina

      There was a reason police were called in the first place. Perhaps if you ever feel the need to call police, you should stop and just handle the situation yourself since you Think you could do better.

      • docbobbyk

        I think a good many people will now think twice (well, they already do) before calling the cops for anything. And that’s a shame. Think of the father who called the police for help with his mentally disturbed son, only to see the cops kill his son and an innocent bystander neighbor. People who panic easily, lose their cool, should not be cops, period.

        • Katrina

          Easy to Monday Morning Quarterback when we weren’t there, isn’t it? Just how would you handle someone coming at you with a baseball bat? That was not panic, it was simple self defense. Someone as mentally disturbed as that man isn’t safe to be in society. Where is the blame for the doctor who allowed that? Why wasn’t he the one called? Police are expected to be experts in so many things it is humanly impossible, yet they are criticized by a public who couldn’t do half of what they do.
          If we think we could do the job better, we should go through an academy and try it. Otherwise, stop with the MMQ criticism.

        • ahaz

          The statistics prove that the worst thing anyone can do for a family member suffering a mental episode is call the police.

    • Billca

      Police are called to INVESTIGATE a man “acting crazy” (erratic, odd behavior, possibly on drugs, etc.). Once the officer shows up the guy runs from police. Why do most people run from the cops? Because, generally, they’ve done something wrong or they have something to hide (drugs, warrants, weapons). None of those things bodes well for the officer’s safety.

      Erratic people do all sorts of “crazy” things. Just because he sits down doesn’t reduce the danger. Once he runs the officer has no idea how desperate he’ll be so the S.O.P. is to handcuff him until things get sorted out.

      If the guy is resisting being handcuffed the officer doesn’t know what he might have access to on his person. A knife, a gun, even a sharpened pencil can be dangerous. The sooner he’s in cuffs the safer the scene will be. And most people tend to calm down once they’re cuffed too.

  • Jen

    He dropped the “F” bomb twice….Seriously. He was fighting a suspect, by himself, with an uncooperative crowd around him. Trust me, I’d have dropped the “F” bomb more than once and the rest of my vocabulary would have been quite colorful. It’s the heat of the moment and most criminal, etc do not respond to “please”!

  • Samuel Fivey

    Just caught a Bay Area news broadcast, nothing was mentioned about the event that I noticed.
    Breathless reporting on the video about the officer swearing, I mean “dropped the F-bomb.” While the Pew survey indicated the public doesn’t like swearing (77%), there are times when the use of profanity can be necessary. Surrounding an officer fighting an un-restrained suspect on the ground might well be one.
    Anyway, at first glance, it does appear reasonable. Two things that would be interesting … suspect’s statements when the officer caught up to him and injuries, if any, from the impact weapon strikes as they did not appear forceful enough.

    • LEO are public servants. Using profanity AT the public isn’t really accomplishing that, now is it.

      I swear profusely. However, I don’t swear at people on the job. LEO in public ARE ON THE JOB.

      • Katrina

        Have you ever let bad language slip while under extreme stress, struggling to get an uncooperative person under control? I doubt Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette was a priority to the Officer at the moment. If whoever was offended by the language was close enough to hear it, why didn’t they give the officer a hand getting the guy under control rather than criticizing him?

      • Billca

        There are some criminal elements that literally don’t think your commands are serious unless they hear the F-Word or other curse words. I’ve seen it happen twice where the suspect ignores commands to get on the ground to put up their hands until the officer uses profanity. It’s almost as if they interpret it to mean the cop is up to his “last nerve” with the guy and about to do some real damage, so they comply. Mostly.

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