killing

There are at least a half-dozen ways for a police officer to stop a knife-wielding subject, rather than employing lethal force with a firearm. All too often, however, as The Free Thought Project has faithfully reported, officers choose the latter, rather than attempt to resolve a knife encounter peacefully. That’s because they know all they have to say is “I was in fear for my life” and they will likely be exonerated for killing a knife-wielding suspect. Fortunately, the following story has a happy ending.

Miami-Dade police officers responded to a 911 call on November 15th. The mentally disturbed man was the one who actually called the emergency line and promised he would “hurt officers” upon their arrival. But fortunately, the two officers who arrived on the scene were not cowards, neither were they uneducated or untrained. The police officers pleaded with the man to put down the knife, even though he again threatened them if they tased him he would hurt them.

“Come on, buddy. Come on, don’t do this. I don’t want to hurt you, I don’t want to hurt you, put it down,” the officer said. The other officer on scene also warned the bystanders to clear out of the way just in case they were forced to shoot the man. “Cross fire! Get out of the way!” he yelled. “Listen dude, relax, relax, just come on, drop it,” the other patrolman said. “Listen to me. Come on, talk to me brother. Look at me,” he continued trying to make a connection with the man, who at one point identified himself as a “father.”

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After talking their way closer to the subject, the two unidentified officers were able to get within tasing distance, and deployed the less-than-lethal immobilization device. The man dropped like a rock, he was subsequently disarmed, and transported in police custody to a local mental health facility where he received treatment for his depression. He’s reportedly a Marine veteran.

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The incident preceded a similar incident in Houston this week when Houston police officers resorted to shooting a knife-wielding suspect with a bean bag round, subduing the man completely, who dropped like a rock, as seen by witness’ cell phone footage.

There are ways to disarm a many with a knife. One brave officer could attempt to take the knife away in a hand-to-hand experience. That method requires a high-level of training not normally acquired by a police training academy. Another way a knife could be taken away from a suspect is with a baton strike to the hand holding the knife. Still another method is with a sniper round to the hand holding the knife. All of which takes time, forethought, and careful planning.

Friend of the Free Thought Project and a brave whistleblower cop, Dominick Izzo, was also honored for disarming a mentally ill man with a knife — without killing him.

Last year, Izzo was awarded Round Lake Park’s Exceptional Duty medal for the way he handled an extremely dangerous situation.

On April 19, 2015, Izzo was confronted by an aggressive and distraught man armed with a knife — a situation in which other cops would almost instantly resort to deadly force. But not Izzo.

When Izzo attempted to calm the man down, the man pulled a knife and approached him in a threatening manner. Instead of killing him, Izzo courageously disarmed the man without injury to either of them. A true hero indeed.

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We at The Free Thought Project salute and applaud the two officers involved in the incident above. We’re pleased that we aren’t, once again, writing an article about a trigger-happy cop who had to kill a man because he “felt threatened.”

All too often, scenarios such as those end in the death of someone who is going through a hard time in life, is medicated on psych medicines, or simply has no one to talk to. We think your behavior as officers serves as a model for the rest of the country. Going straight to the lethal means is the coward’s way out.

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Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine