Mike S wrote:I would encourage everyone who has commented to re-visit the link provided by the OP. The original video on the (activist) reporter's Twitter feed that was embedded into the Newsweek article is now showing almost 6 minutes of body cam footage. The original video (at least when I watched it on my phone yesterday morning) was only a fraction of the actual encounter (lots of yelling; pleading by the young man to not shoot him; and a seemingly compliant subject getting shot five times for adjusting his sweat pants).
This extended version demonstrates that the young man was very drunk (not belligerent; he seemed willing to comply, but unable to do so based on his state of mind), and had already been warned several times to not put his hands down/reach into his waistband/behind his back.
This extended version also shows that the police sergeant in control of the scene wasn't yelling commands the entire time; he was doing what first responders aught to do; Get Control. He yelled commands, & they both complied and got down on the floor. When they were compliant, he stopped barking commands & used a clear & even tone. He explained the gravity of following commands; he had the female subject crawl towards the officers, and in an even tone directed an officer (off camera) to secure & search her (even correcting the officer when he announced "Clear" prior to her being frisked [yes, this could be a training deficiency; I don't know how much training a non-SWAT officer receives in their basic academy for working in a dynamic team environment. It could also indicate the high stress level of the responding officers based on the call of someone having a rifle on the 5th floor window/balcony...).
When the subjects were not compliant, his tone raised & he re-asserted control. Again, this may be rude in the context of day to day life, but not in the context of exerting control over a subject who may be a threat (or, for the greater crowd on this great forum: if you ever have to exert control over an attacker who is no longer a threat of death/serious bodily injury, but needs to be controlled until first responders arrive. Use your command voice!).
Why did he command them to crawl towards the officers, rather than officers approaching to handcuff/search them? As OlBill indicated, this was in a hotel; they had just exited the door where someone had reported someone with rifle. In the extended version you see how close the room door is to where the subjects were proned out on the floor. Rifle rounds (as well as pistol rounds) will go thru most doors & walls.
Was it a justifiable use of deadly force? According to the jury who declined to convict, I'm guessing it wasn't 2nd Degree Murder. It's called the Subject's Actions + the Totality of the Circumstances. Someone called the police to report a person/people with a rifle on a 5th floor window/balcony/whatever. Officers stacked in the hallway, & subjects came out of the room. The male subject wasn't able to comply with commands, put his hands behind his back on at least one occasion prior to being shot, and made jerky erratic movement at other times. When he crawled (on command) towards the officers, he made a movement towards his waist, behind his back (I'm thinking he was pulling up his sweat pants, but I wasn't the one there).
Why didn't the other officers shoot? I assume they didn't process the young man's actions as a threat, whereas one officer did process the movement as a threat. It could be that the other officers are more seasoned, better able to handle the stressors of the job, or had a better overall assessment of the situation. It could also be that the officer that did shoot had a bad attitude or lack of professionalism [solely going there based on what TAM reported of the obscenity engraved on the dust cover of the AR-15].
Would I have taken the shot? Not likely, unless I actually saw a weapon. But I've likely trained more, been shot at a couple times more, and [generally] was able to keep my cool under stress while deployed. Not that I'm perfect; I assure you I'm not.
In the end, I'd be very cautious in making judgments based on a short video excerpt posted by someone with an agenda. Even the almost 6-minute version omits the overall background situation (or Totality of the Circumstances).