• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

When should police shoot fleeing suspects?

Craig234

DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
20,801
Reaction score
7,823
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.
 

Exquisitor

Educator
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
6,875
Reaction score
998
Location
UP of Michigan
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

I know I won't ever walk away from a police officer again.
 

Phys251

Anti-vax rhetoric threatens our liberty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Messages
42,688
Reaction score
24,844
Location
Georgia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

About the only time that shooting a suspect in the back is if they are an active shooter. "Resisting arrest" is NEVER an excuse by itself to summarily execute someone.
 

AmNat

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Messages
5,780
Reaction score
1,509
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

It should be that any fleeing felon can be shot by the police if necessary for capture. Presently they can only shoot if the felon has inflicted or threatened serious injury, or has escaped from custody (after being successfully arrested).

Of course, most (all?) of the criminals who’ve been celebrated by the left were attacking police rather than trying to flee, so this is a moot point as far as current events go.
 

ttwtt78640

Sometimes wrong
DP Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
71,321
Reaction score
40,588
Location
Uhland, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

It seems to be currently left up to the individual police officer(s) as to when deadly force may (should?) be used during an arrest attempt. Since the following video shows what was deemed a "good shoot", it is unclear who poses a "credible threat" to the officer(s) and/or the general public.

 

Phys251

Anti-vax rhetoric threatens our liberty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Messages
42,688
Reaction score
24,844
Location
Georgia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
It should be that any fleeing felon can be shot by the police if necessary for capture.

Tennessee v. Garner says otherwise.
 

Ikari

Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
81,560
Reaction score
49,801
Location
Colorado
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

The moment they get a clear shot of the suspects back. Or mostly clear, I mean, bystanders knew the risk when they went out into public.
 

less right

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
2,210
Location
Northern Utah
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It seems to be currently left up to the individual police officer(s) as to when deadly force may (should?) be used during an arrest attempt. Since the following video shows what was deemed a "good shoot", it is unclear who poses a "credible threat" to the officer(s) and/or the general public.


That guy ended up getting shot? What did he do, get up and run towards the police? All I saw was a guy doing his best to follow instructions.
 

ttwtt78640

Sometimes wrong
DP Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
71,321
Reaction score
40,588
Location
Uhland, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
That guy ended up getting shot? What did he do, get up and run towards the police? All I saw was a guy doing his best to follow instructions.

The unarmed (and likely intoxicated) suspect reached to pull up his sagging shorts - a fatal mistake in that officer's "expert" opinion of what constituted a deadly threat.
 

lwf

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
10,999
Reaction score
6,214
Location
PNW
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

The cost of not shooting a fleeing suspect who is not an immediate danger to the officers or the public should always be lower to the officer than the cost of shooting him or her. And outstanding warrants, even for violent offenses, do not make a fleeing suspect an immediate danger to the public.

A fleeing suspect armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon who has shown an immediate intention to use it is a threat and shooting him or her is justified.
 
Last edited:

Simpletruther

DP Veteran
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
5,370
Reaction score
843
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

This question doesnt seem very relevant to current events. .. it’s not happening expect as an extreme rarity.

But I think legally only when it’s a felon and a reasonable threat to others is present.
 

The Old Soul

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
933
Reaction score
429
Location
PHX
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Private
Police should be required to watch the circa 1970 cop show 1-Adam12 as training media. Sure, some busts are sugar coated, but for the most part, they are accurate as to how policing used to be. My Stepfather is a retired policeman, and has stated that in most cases, 1-Adam12 is accurate as to his own policing methods, which have been largely abandoned as of late.

They (Reed and Miloy) do get to shoot (and kill) the occasional perp when warranted, but for the most part they use common sense and compassion making life-and-death decisions, and don't treat suspects as an instant life-threat.
 

Lutherf

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
40,906
Reaction score
47,296
Location
Tucson, AZ
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
It seems to be currently left up to the individual police officer(s) as to when deadly force may (should?) be used during an arrest attempt. Since the following video shows what was deemed a "good shoot", it is unclear who poses a "credible threat" to the officer(s) and/or the general public.


Since this video has come up a lot and has been referred to as "a good shoot" I would like to note for the record that the decision is that it was a "lawful" shoot. That isn't the same thing as "a good shoot". All it means is that the cop was able to articulate a reasonable belief that he was in imminent fear of great bodily harm of death at the time he shot.

Furthermore, as will all the other incidents we talk about, the video does not give the complete context of what was happening. In this situation the cops were called to the hotel because someone complained that an individual in one of the rooms was pointing a gun out the window. They had to assume that anyone coming out of that room was armed. There are also reasons that they called the suspects to them instead of approached the suspects but there is no sense in getting into the weeds about this.

Bottom line, there is a difference between a lawful use of deadly force and a "good shoot".
 

ttwtt78640

Sometimes wrong
DP Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
71,321
Reaction score
40,588
Location
Uhland, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Since this video has come up a lot and has been referred to as "a good shoot" I would like to note for the record that the decision is that it was a "lawful" shoot. That isn't the same thing as "a good shoot". All it means is that the cop was able to articulate a reasonable belief that he was in imminent fear of great bodily harm of death at the time he shot.

Furthermore, as will all the other incidents we talk about, the video does not give the complete context of what was happening. In this situation the cops were called to the hotel because someone complained that an individual in one of the rooms was pointing a gun out the window. They had to assume that anyone coming out of that room was armed. There are also reasons that they called the suspects to them instead of approached the suspects but there is no sense in getting into the weeds about this.

Bottom line, there is a difference between a lawful use of deadly force and a "good shoot".

The citizen complaint, resulting in the police response, was about seeing a rifle (which turned out to be an air gun) - the idea that it had been successfully concealed in the man's shorts is a bit short of credible, IMHO.
 

keeping it real

New member
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
I firmly believe what most police training demands, that a fleeing suspect can be shot ONLY when the lives of the police pursuing him/her is in imminent danger or allowing the suspect to get away might cause injury or death to innocent civilians. Btw, shooting at a fleeing suspect also puts in danger bystanders if the police shots go awry. However, if a confirmed murderer, rapist or serial killer is fleeing, the police should be allowed to shoot that suspect if there is no other way to apprehend or subdue him/her.
 

Lutherf

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
40,906
Reaction score
47,296
Location
Tucson, AZ
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The citizen complaint, resulting in the police response, was about seeing a rifle (which turned out to be an air gun) - the idea that it had been successfully concealed in the man's shorts is a bit short of credible, IMHO.

Just because someone says "rifle" doesn't mean it's a rifle. To you and I that term has a specific meaning but to a panicked caller it is very possible that it merely means "gun". Furthermore, as a responding officer, it is prudent in responding any call regarding firearms that the reported issue isn't the only issue. It is not the least bit unreasonable to presume that someone armed with a rifle might ALSO be armed with a handgun.

As I said, this was "lawful" and that term means that certain statutory criteria have been met. Whether it was "good" or not is entirely subjective.
 

d0gbreath

Yellow Dog Democrat
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
15,690
Reaction score
4,979
Location
Denton, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Communist
That guy ended up getting shot? What did he do, get up and run towards the police? All I saw was a guy doing his best to follow instructions.

LEOs have a group that they don't talk about, except among themselves. They are the 'killed a man in the line of duty' officers. The big problem is that those not in that group find it somewhat prestigious, and want to become a member.

I suppose that it's just human nature and there's not really anything that can be done about it.
 

ttwtt78640

Sometimes wrong
DP Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
71,321
Reaction score
40,588
Location
Uhland, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Just because someone says "rifle" doesn't mean it's a rifle. To you and I that term has a specific meaning but to a panicked caller it is very possible that it merely means "gun". Furthermore, as a responding officer, it is prudent in responding any call regarding firearms that the reported issue isn't the only issue. It is not the least bit unreasonable to presume that someone armed with a rifle might ALSO be armed with a handgun.

As I said, this was "lawful" and that term means that certain statutory criteria have been met. Whether it was "good" or not is entirely subjective.

The bottom line is that this shooting of an unarmed person was deemed non-criminal, thus was acceptable behavior during the arrest process. This example does not fit the OP perfectly, since it did not involve an attempt to flee, escape or evade arrest/capture, but does illustrate the significant leeway granted to what a police officer may consider to be a (deadly?) threat to their safety by a criminal suspect.
 

Crovax

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
13,968
Reaction score
7,793
Location
South Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Again and again, suspects fleeing police are shot.

The situation I understand is when a suspect is viewed as an 'active shooter', and it's believed that not shooting them creates a large risk to innocent people being killed by them. So let's put that to the side, and talk about other situations, such as someone with warrants fleeing.

When is it justified as a policy?

It's not easy for police to catch a lot of fleeing suspects. Many can outrun police. So, there's a cost to not shooting them - people guilty of crimes can escape punishment, possible for a time, possibly forever, if they run and escape.

On the other hand, there is a price to shooting them, also. Suddenly, a person with a warrant for unpaid child support is executed for running from police to escape that punishment.

There are real tradeoffs, practical issues, moral issues on such policies - just as there are on when police should 'reward' criminals who try to escape in vehicles at high speed, when they put the public safety from the chase ahead of the interest in trying to catch the person.

Disclaimer: I have a bias for guilty people to be caught.

I support things that help them get caught that reduce the price. For example, in the high speed chase situation, things like a strong helicopter resource and/or city camera system might help catch them instead.

The police should shoot them before they flee
 

Craig234

DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
20,801
Reaction score
7,823
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
LEOs have a group that they don't talk about, except among themselves. They are the 'killed a man in the line of duty' officers. The big problem is that those not in that group find it somewhat prestigious, and want to become a member.

I suppose that it's just human nature and there's not really anything that can be done about it.

Plenty can be done about it.

It's about culture, training, laws, investigations, systems like body cameras, and incentives.
 
Top Bottom