Oceanside cops don’t shoot knife-wielding suspect

Seal_of_Oceanside,_CaliforniaIt is my editorial position that bad public policy (i.e. the Drug War, Civil Forfeiture/Policing for Profit ala Ferguson, MO), has led to an “Us vs. Them” institutional mindset within many police departments. Combined with lax civilian oversight, this has led to many civilian deaths which could likely have been avoided. Add a significant amount of political pandering and media sensationalism to the mix, and cops have needlessly been shot in “revenge” killings by sociopathic individuals who have no defense or justification whatsoever. It becomes even harder to ask police to show restraint.

I am not saying that the vast majority of officers involved in shootings were not acting legally at the moment they fired their weapon, rather that in many instances the need for deadly force could have been avoided. A prime example is the St. Louis shooting of a knife-wielding man shortly after the Ferguson situation blew up.

In that example, the video clearly shows that the officer was justified at the point he pulled the trigger. However, he rolled in extremely close to a volatile situation. He did not allow himself time to really understand the situation, or having pulled in too close could have attempted to shield himself with his vehicle and attempted to use a less-lethal option. Contrast that with this recent example from NM.

Another new example of admirable restraint has emerged from Oceanside, CA. From UTSanDiego:

“about 4:30 p.m., a rookie and training officer told a 47-year-old man he couldn’t loiter behind a business on South Oceanside Boulevard near Interstate 5, police Lt. Leonard Cosby said.

Cosby said the training officer was standing back to watch the rookie handle things until the man stood up holding a knife with a 6-inch blade. The man approached the officers saying, “I’m going to kill you,” Cosby said.

Both officers drew their guns, but instead of firing they backed away, out of range, Cosby said. He said the man did not comply with their orders to drop the knife. They radioed for help and a third officer got there and fired a Taser at the man. He was taken into custody, treated at a hospital, then jailed on suspicion of felony assault on an officer and assault with a deadly weapon, Cosby said.

“All of the officers used commendable restraint in seeking a less lethal resolution to the incident,” Cosby said in a statement.”

When backup is available, I believe that a taser should be attempted when a suspect does not have a ranged weapon. Not every situation requires a SWAT team response, and not every unstable individual needs to end up a spot on the pavement.


  1. cmeat says:

    i’ll bet he was almost dead. waving a big knife around and making death threats to two or three guys with guns is pretty close to suicidal. big time good on these gentlemen for their restraint. must have been obvious some down time was needed.
    that’s a tough job. i’d grow tired of being lied to constantly.

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Oceanside cops don’t shoot knife-wielding suspect

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