Why didn’t the police just talk the distressed aggressor into submission?

As a society we feel sympathy for those who are mentally impaired or in crisis. We may even wish to intervene to assist them, or to give them the benefit of the doubt when they behave erratically. Conditions like that don’t render an aggressor harmless. In fact, influences that make people less predictable often make them more dangerous.

Intoxication or mental impairment may make a person very strong or reluctant to communicate or to follow instructions. Intoxicated aggressors are often insulated from pain, so that non-lethal weapons are ineffective in stopping them. The law enforcement response must always be based on the actions of the aggressor and the context in which they occur.

When police respond to a threat, they must ensure public safety, their own safety, and, if possible, the aggressor’s safety. Crisis intervention will often be attempted and many officers have been trained to slow crisis situations down, when possible. Those techniques have limits, and the pace of an encounter and its outcome are ultimately within the control of the aggressor.

Show All Answers

1. Time is on the side of the police, right? They are trained for these types of encounters, aren’t they?
2. Why didn’t the police just talk the distressed aggressor into submission?
3. The subject only had a knife. Why didn’t the officer just disarm the subject, rather than shooting him?
4. Why not just shoot the gun or knife out of the aggressor’s hand? Why not just shoot to wound the subject?
5. Why didn’t the officer use non-lethal tools, such as bean bag or sponge rounds from a shotgun?
6. The suspect was shot in the back. He must have been retreating, right?
7. Why was the assailant shot so many times? Doesn’t that mean the officer overreacted?
8. Why won’t video from a police camera or a bystander’s camera tell the whole story?