Footage from a police body cam released by the Sacramento Police Department shows why cops at times are quick to shoot. In the following video, police stopped a driver who had been followed by an unmarked squad car. The driver was suspected of a double homicide so officers believed he was armed. The date is September 7, 2017.
Seen in the following video, Sacramento Police arrive in force and stop the vehicle. They carefully position themselves and order the driver to toss the keys and get out of the truck.
Shootout in Sacramento, CA with Police Leaves Suspect Dead, Two Officers Wounded
The suspect does so and immediately opens fire on the police. Sacramento Police officers return fire, striking the suspect. Two officers are hit: One in the body and one in the leg.
The Sacramento Police Officer who takes the body hit was protected by his vest. The other will likely be out for a time. Note first that the suspect lay on the ground for a few minutes while officers take care of their wounded, getting them out of harms way.
The video above shows the event from four cameras. The upper right is from the police cruiser dash cam. The upper left view shows the front line vehicles and officers engaging the suspect. Note that the officer who shielded himself with the police cruiser door is the one hit in the abdomen. He could have just as well been hit in the head or neck. He was lucky.
Now take a closer look at the larger dash cam footage. Clearly, the Sacramento Police were justified in using deadly force against this suspect. But see if you can tell the point at which police should have responded to the threat. How long between seeing a weapon and recognizing it was to be used did police have before deciding to use deadly force?
Note that the time from exiting the vehicle to the time the suspect begins shooting is one second. At time frame :58 the suspect opens the car and by time frame :59 he is already firing.
Officer-Involved Shootings and Use of Deadly Force
To be sure, there are too many officer-involved shootings/use of deadly force in America. The fact is, police officers MUST be quick to respond to a threat because they never know from where a threat will emerge.
In this case, the threat was clear from the start. But note that even after the suspect lay on the ground, the Sacramento Police Officers were cautious. Why?
Did you see the passenger in the side of the truck?
No. No passenger, but just the thought gave you pause. Some even looked back at the video briefly.
The point is, there COULD have been someone in hiding in the truck. Never know.
Police around America face situations like this and very different from this every day. Some cost lax Police Officers their lives, some cost the lives of officers on the alert. It only takes a second for a situation to go from controlled to deadly.
That is why police at times are quick to shoot. They must.
This does not excuse situations where someone is fleeing and surely, some police do use excessive force. It happens. But most are just trying to do the best job they can in circumstances which may be difficult to read.
Each situation is different, but each can be deadly. Speed plays a key role in the job and until guilty persons stopped by police stop reacting as did this one, there will be innocent persons who also die.
That is not an excuse. It is simply a fact.