Better Firearms Training, Less Lethal Force, Fewer Lethal Police Shootings

police training, firearms training, police firearms training, firearms, police shootings, lethal police shootings, police, poli ce brutality, excessive police force.,
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Police Shooting Black Men and Boys

During police firearms training, why not teach officers to aim for the shoulder or leg? There would be decidedly fewer lethal police shootings if cops didn’t have the license to use lethal force every time they felt threatened.

police training, firearms training, police firearms training, firearms, police shootings, lethal police shootings, police, poli ce brutality, excessive police force., (12-10-2014, updated 07-14-2018)  In my opinion the police license to use lethal force any time they feel threatened needs to be reevaluated.  The notion that any time someone reaches in their pocket, officers can empty their clips into that person is just ridiculous. In cases when they feel that using their gun is the only way to prevent further danger, why can’t they aim for the shoulders or legs?

I would suggest that an officer can use lethal force only if a person is actually aiming a gun straight at them, or at least in the process of aiming it at them. Otherwise it should be possible to stop someone by shooting their arm or leg, at least long enough to then overpower them by other means and put them in handcuffs.

After all lethal police shootings, there should be investigations later to see if that was the officer’s only option in the situation. The notion that we shouldn’t question an officer afterward because it will make them think twice before using lethal force next time is absurd. We should do exactly that.

Police racism is hard to combat, as is their general attitude of being in attack mode in any and all interactions with the public instead of treating people with common decency, but if the police don’t have this rather open license to kill, at least it would save some lives. That would be a beginning. Lethal police shootings are occurring too often. Something has to change. And considering how much time is spent on police firearms training already, training to aim at shoulders or legs instead of emptying one’s entire clip into the target would be a relatively easy measure.

This post is Part 4 in the series Police Shooting Black Men and Boys. Here is the next one.

(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “Revoke the License to Kill and Reduce Lethal Police Shootings”, 12-10-2014)

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5 thoughts on “Better Firearms Training, Less Lethal Force, Fewer Lethal Police Shootings

  1. I actually think we should look to countries where not all police officers are armed as a matter of course. My grandfather was a homicide detective in Russia from the late 1940’s through the 1960’s — the time and place where you’d expect the police to be armed to the teeth. In fact, he almost never carried a gun. Even during planned arrests of murderers, typically only one or two out of a group of police officers would be armed — if anyone. He did have a weapon assigned to him, but it was kept in a safe at the station. To sign it out, he had to articulate a reason why he needed it that particular time.
    I think it’s basically like Chekhov’s Gun. The more you arm the police, the greater the chances that innocent people will be killed, and the higher the casualties. Cops are civilians. Increasingly, people in this country seem not to realize that.

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