Itchy Trigger Fingers: A Look at Phoenix-Area Police Shootings in 2013
Tex Texin via Flickr
Last week, the trial started for former Phoenix police officer Richard Chrisman, who's accused of killing Daniel Rodriguez for no apparent reason. Chrisman shot the man dead in his mother's trailer, and the ex-cop's partner has even said there was no threat to his life, and therefore no reason to kill.
It's got us thinking about use of deadly force.
Officers are allowed to shoot to protect themselves and others when they perceive their lives, or the lives of others, to be at risk.
They're allowed to kill a suspect to prevent the escape of someone who the officer believes could cause the "infliction or threat of serious physical injury or death, and is likely to endanger human life" if allowed to flee, according to Phoenix police policy.
There are many guidelines, some obscured more than others in the vagary of official jargon. You can read Phoenix's here (page 32).
We know not all officer shootings are avoidable or unjustified. In many cases, we're glad cops carry guns, because thugs do, too (and because this is Arizona, nearly everyone does). But it would appear that in some of the following situations, firing at the suspect could have been avoided.
As you read these -- a few examples from this year, placed in no particular order -- keep this in mind:
"Deadly force is utilized as a last resort when other measures are not practical
under the existing circumstances."