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Thread: "Least Amount of Force"

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    Default "Least Amount of Force"

    Just saw this misconception AGAIN. I really wish people – especially people who should know better – would stop putting this out there. I put it up on the blog but since this idea is so ingrained it probably needs more outing here...

    If you are a civilian, your jurisdiction *may* require you to use the “least amount of force” in a self defense situation. You also may be required to retreat, or explain why you did not before you use force.

    It is up to you to determine what your local laws say and act accordingly.

    It is up to your instructor, whomever you choose, to either a) know that about your jurisdiction or b) admit they DON’ T KNOW and tell you to do that legwork yourself.

    Why is that? Not only because that standard is not workable, it is also not required in all places….most places only expect you to use force that you “reasonably believe is necessary.” This is a VERY different thing, and is indeed the law enforcement standard.

    If you are law enforcement officer you are SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED that you DO NOT NEED TO USE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF FORCE in a force encounter. This is so stated by the 9th Circuit Court, famous throughout the land as the “most liberal” court out there, in analyzing all use of force under the 4th Amendment appropos the Supreme Court of the land’s decision in Graham v. Connor.

    You are required to use force that is REASONABLE. A lot goes into that “fact bound morass” that will determine what is or is not reasonable in that particular set of circumstances, and you are not by any means expected to be superhuman and understand what ”least intrusive” quantum of force will work.

    If a least intrusive option is available, you have time to consider it, and think it will work, then by all means. This does not apply to all situations, and you are also not required to engage in “force experimentation” that means you try the least amount, then go a little more, then a little more until it works- this unnecessarily prolongs an encounter and might in fact lead to more force ultimately being used – unnecessarily. That is a problem.

    This is also the reason that Force Continuums, by ANY name, are unworkable, not required by law, and ill-advised. It is why the federal courts have never required them (though - we can thank the 9th Circuit for some chilling language in the Glenn case out of Oregon that tends toward that direction....).It is why some have wondered why law enforcement even uses them, and why places like the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center recommends you get rid of them if your agency has them.

    Get it? I hope so because people are out there teaching that DON’T.

    Doesn’t seem to stop them from continuing to promulgate half-understandings in the name of making a name and dollar for themselves, and adding to the indecision and hesitation on the part of their students because they themselves don’t understand the very concept they are teaching, have reacted badly themselves during their own uses of force, both unwittingly and with foreknowledge brag about it (incredibly stupid from both a professional and personal standpoint), and pull the wool over the eyes of those that do not have the frame of reference to know the truth.
    Last edited by Hissho; 4th January 2012 at 07:12.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Objective reasonableness baby! There is a good summary on Graham v. Connor for both students and instructors alike on wikipedia:

    Graham V. Connor Case Law

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Default temp

    Perhaps a bit of thread drift, but a concrete example of the consequences of lack of skills in the realm we are talking about here:

    http://www.policeone.com/close-quart...cop-goes-viral


    Notable Points:

    Lack of zanshin both individually and in tandem (contact-cover). Totally understandable in such a complex situation but may have been mitigated by more confident skills and communication.

    Lack of effective control ability of a resistive, but not aggressive/combative subject.

    Loss of initiative with the second subject's attack, which brought officer to the ground, on the bottom.

    Lack of any effective ground fighting manuever or tactics: reliance on foul tactics (eye gouging/hooking) that were ineffectual due to position.

    Lack of any effective response (anything really at all) on the part of the second officer. I think he was so far outside his stress envelope he was shutting down.

    How a decisive use of force - in this case striking a downed threat - can turn things around.


    And hopefully a recognition of how these very things could have made this very different.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    nevermind, if you don't have anything nice to say... lol
    Last edited by Kendoguy9; 7th January 2012 at 20:34. Reason: shouldn't have posted what I did
    Christopher Covington

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    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Wow, that was just plain hard to watch. Imagine if that officer had been working by himself, like most agencies? He wouldn't have gone home that day. The whole clip is basically a whole lot of bad, from so many angles I don't want to get myself worked up describing them all here.

    But maybe they are brand new? I hope they get a lot better, a lot quicker...
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Damn you sort of forced me to say something. That is Baltimore City PD. They do work one to a car but on most calls two or three backup units show up pretty quick. Stuff like that is pretty common there...
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    Wow, that was just plain hard to watch. Imagine if that officer had been working by himself, like most agencies? He wouldn't have gone home that day. The whole clip is basically a whole lot of bad, from so many angles I don't want to get myself worked up describing them all here.

    But maybe they are brand new? I hope they get a lot better, a lot quicker...

    Both officers have been far too nice while attempting to handcuff the guy who already was on the ground, they did lose a precious time. The second attacker seems to be in a rather weird condition, he looks like he is drunk or worse, he does not seem to react to the eye gouge. He actually reacts after the stomp which was a vicious one.

    This is really a hard job, officers must somehow follow the "rules" when arresting someone, Officers are not supposed to engage in wild fights, or injure people while on duty. In the meantime, aggressors have no limits and do not have much more to lose.

    May be they should have called for some support before handcuffing the guy, I'm not saying I would have done much better tough.
    Deception is one of Kenpo´s best technique.

    Väck ej björnen som sover


    Raphael Deutsch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raff View Post

    This is really a hard job, officers must somehow follow the "rules" when arresting someone, Officers are not supposed to engage in wild fights, or injure people while on duty. In the meantime, aggressors have no limits and do not have much more to lose.
    Yes, U.S> officers have certain rules to follow here, Raff, but it is not true that they are not supposed to injure people. If the force is justified the injury is justified. At least in the U.S.

    FEAR of this very thing, and agency and public reaction to it and the liability management (settlements versus going to court) are the far more prevalent drivers here, ones that have no doubt cost officers their lives due to hesitation, but they are not in fact the actual "rules."

    And if a suspect is coming after you with "no limits" and "nothing to lose" then the officer justifiably has no limits and nothing to lose, either, until the suspect ceases to be a threat or capitulates.

    But that is a topic for another thread - maybe Nathan can do Moderator magic and move the video and commentary on it to the Least Amount of Force thread in Personal Protection??
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Yes, U.S> officers have certain rules to follow here, Raff, but it is not true that they are not supposed to injure people. If the force is justified the injury is justified. At least in the U.S.

    FEAR of this very thing, and agency and public reaction to it and the liability management (settlements versus going to court) are the far more prevalent drivers here, ones that have no doubt cost officers their lives due to hesitation, but they are not in fact the actual "rules."

    And if a suspect is coming after you with "no limits" and "nothing to lose" then the officer justifiably has no limits and nothing to lose, either, until the suspect ceases to be a threat or capitulates.

    But that is a topic for another thread - maybe Nathan can do Moderator magic and move the video and commentary on it to the Least Amount of Force thread in Personal Protection??
    That sounds about right. Not being a LEO, I'd like to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between those officers and their supervising/training officer after this video surfaced. This, by the way is reminiscent of a cops episode I vaguely remember, I wonder if it's the same... Perhaps from a different camera.

    I have my own thoughts, but they aren't particularly valuable. If this thread moves, I'll be watching to see what those with actual insight have to say.
    Last edited by jdostie; 8th January 2012 at 19:09.
    Joseph Dostie

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    I've actually been in that situation a number of times, though without the actual lynching attempt. When the angry crowd starts forming and closing in, i usually throw the suspect in the back of my car and drive a block or so away, then deal with the him again once I'm in a better place. If I can't move the suspect easily, then I pin them with one hand or my body, and keep heads up until backup arrives.

    If things start looking really aggressive, and you're by yourself, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to justify a warning shot either. Like Kit says, job number one is you and your partner going home safe. Number two is worrying about Department policy and civil law suits.

    Regards,

    Nathan Scott
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    For some additional, succinct reading:

    Force Continuums:

    http://www.fletc.gov/training/progra...anscript.html/

    Minimal Force/Least Intrusive:

    http://www.fletc.gov/training/progra...ranscript.html


    I think this stuff is as relevant as the physical tactics we have been talking about since keeping the legal issues in mind is to me a product of maintaining zanshin during a force event. It is another factor why I think practical, truly martial training should be a part of the ongoing development of the LEO.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post

    Lack of any effective ground fighting manuever or tactics: reliance on foul tactics (eye gouging/hooking) that were ineffectual due to position.
    Kit-I think I know what you mean by "foul tactics" but please alliterate.

    Mr. Scott-Not a fan of warning shots. If you need to shoot someone shoot them. Wasting ammo during what may be a gunfight is a bad idea. Sending bullets off in a crowded urban enviroment also a bad idea.
    Be sure of your target and make sure you have a safe backstop.
    Only aim your weapon at things you're are authorized to shoot.

    Will be training with John Bostain for the next two days. Use of Force Instructor Update through the Rural Policing Institute.

    Duane
    Last edited by Duanew; 9th January 2012 at 10:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Yes, U.S> officers have certain rules to follow here, Raff, but it is not true that they are not supposed to injure people. If the force is justified the injury is justified. At least in the U.S.

    FEAR of this very thing, and agency and public reaction to it and the liability management (settlements versus going to court) are the far more prevalent drivers here, ones that have no doubt cost officers their lives due to hesitation, but they are not in fact the actual "rules."

    And if a suspect is coming after you with "no limits" and "nothing to lose" then the officer justifiably has no limits and nothing to lose, either, until the suspect ceases to be a threat or capitulates.

    But that is a topic for another thread - maybe Nathan can do Moderator magic and move the video and commentary on it to the Least Amount of Force thread in Personal Protection??
    The power of magic!!! I could not find the thread at the first place and was wondering what happened.

    What I meant by rules are actually the tuition we get from our administration, when at school you do learn some tactics and moves which are mostly chosen by people who are NEVER in the outfield and who NEVER had a single experience in arresting somebody. It sounds crazy but this is often the case.

    So, you are expected to perform the techniques the way they are taught to you and not based on your personal skills/experience. The video shows clearly that someone came from the crowd to assault an officer from behind.

    Nowadays, people do not hesitate to sue a police officer for taking shots during an intervention, this is happening quite often. A colleague has been recently sued for breaking somebody's fingers with his baton. I'm not saying he is going to lose the case or his job, but this is always a hard time for any officer. Waiting for the court decision, hiring a lawyer and having to justify yourself.

    Another colleague of mine nearly lost his job after punching a bit hard a guy who ran into a couple a police cars, the suspect had an important amount of "magic pills" in his car and refused to comply. My colleague went after him driving at a very high speed inside the city which is, of course, very dangerous, both for the officers and the citizens, after 20 minutes or so, and after seriously damaging a couple of cars, the guy was finally arrested, my colleague lost somehow patience and did punch the guy a bit more than necessary. He got a broken nose and bruises in the face. He then sued my colleague who got into trouble for using unnecessary force.

    It really looks like officers in the US get more support from their Hierarchy than we sometimes do.

    EDIT: by the way, a warning shot is out of the question as well, you would probably get suspended and your weapon would be taken away from you.
    Deception is one of Kenpo´s best technique.

    Väck ej björnen som sover


    Raphael Deutsch

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    Raff - we (U.S.) call it "out in the field." When we are talking "in the outfield" we mean baseball!!!

    That punch story does sound over the top/unnecessary. That being said not knowing the totality of the circumstances as to what was occurring immediately before the punches were thrown I'd hesitate to comment on it.

    Warning shots - almost always prohibited by policy. It is actually not mentioned in the LAW, as it is not actually a Use of Force. Certainly you may have negligence or recklessness with the discharge of a firearm, but a warning shot is not a use of force against a person.

    Thankfully our policy changed and they are now "strongly discouraged" rather than prohibited. Why? Never say never and sometimes they might make perfect sense. We had an officer use one to get a charging police K-9 to disengage from him, after it had somehow keyed on him. He was reluctant to shoot the dog, was in a field, and directed the shot into the ground away from any people but close enough to the dog to "wake it up," so to speak. Sadly, once the dog did find the suspect, it got stabbed and later died.

    Duane - the training sounds great, maybe come back with some more for us!

    By "Foul Tactics" I mean eye gouges, fishhooks, "titty twisters," and a lot of pressure point tactics. Even biting. Many people literally rely on these things "if they ever get taken to the ground" rather than developing positional escapes. Unfortunately they are rarely effective against truly committed assailants/resistors - more useful as distractions that might be capitalized upon if you have the ability in the control and positional aspects.
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Hi guys,

    Yeah, I'm not a big fan of warning shots either, and they are "generally" discouraged where I work as well. However, the case of a crowd attempting to lynch a suspect is the classic example of when such a tactic may prove effective and appropriate. As restricted as we are where I work, a warning shot - in theory - would be justified if explained correctly. Background and placement would be the big considerations as to whether the warning shot would be deemed reasonably safe.

    In LA, our clients here are not scared at having guns unholstered or pointed at them, because they know we won't shoot without justification. However, discharging a firearm in front of them is not something they are used to seeing, and sends a message that the next shot fired might be at the next person who attacks.

    Obviously, if you have justification to shoot someone specifically instead, then shooting someone would be a more appropriate use for a firearm.

    And BTW, the situation in the above video wouldn't have warranted a warning shot. There would have to be rocks and bottles thrown, and/or additional attackers.

    Policies and opinions may differ,
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 9th January 2012 at 20:23.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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