When I saw that Dan had posted “Less Lethal Rounds do the job. Eventually. Sometimes” to TTAG I thought he might have scooped me on this story I found last night. Turns out there have been a couple of incidents this weekend where police had the luxury of time and numbers to attempt to take down a knife wielding suspect without resorting to lethal force. As we have mentioned on many occasions, if an officer does not have backup present (less-lethal munitions are not always effective), or if the officer and suspect were already in close proximity when a weapon is presented, I am willing to grant the officer much greater latitude.
In Dan’s case, a perp in Lubbock, TX had attacked a WalMart employee with a knife and a baseball bat. In the case I found last night out of Spokane, Washington a man was reported to be brandishing a knife and ended up in a standoff with police. As you can see in the video, the perp was struck by several beanbags before capitulating.
“He’s going to be taken to the hospital. Obviously, looked at, he’s got some bruising from the impact weapons that were used to take him into custody, as well as get him the mental health that he needs,” said Spokane Police Lieutenant Tom Hendren.”
There are plenty of situations where police use of lethal force might be legal at the time that the trigger is actually pulled. However, if there is a way to avoid a lethal encounter through cautious approach and assessment of a situation it is obviously a good thing.