Cincinnati, OH — A video released by the Cincinnati police department this week has gone viral after it shows a murder suspect attempt to grab a police officer’s pistol.
On Tuesday, according to the police, Thomas Robinson, 23, was having his handcuffs transferred by officer James Ball. Robinson, who was being questioned in relation to the shooting of a 17-year-old in Westwood, got into a scuffle with Ball after he tried to grab the officer’s weapon.
Almost immediately, officers rushed into the room with tasers as Robinson yelled “kill me,” and as soon as it started, it was over.
The video was released by Cincinnati Police on Friday with CPD Lieutenant Steve Saunders saying the officers showed “great restraint” by tasing Robinson instead of using “lethal force,” according to Cincinnati.com.
“They handled themselves extremely well in a very difficult and trying circumstance,” said Saunders to WLWT.
“As a police officer, that’s probably one of the worst nightmares you can play out in your head is somebody struggling with you over your gun,” he added.
Ball was reportedly struck in the face during the struggle and Robinson is now facing additional charges including assault on a police officer.
Despite obtaining a clear and undeterred grip on the pistol, Robinson was unsuccessful in his attempt to steal the weapon. Even after applying all of his weight while yanking at the pistol, Robinson failed to even remove it from the holster. Why was that?
Police holsters are designed to prevent anyone but the officer from removing the weapon.
As the assassination attempt on Donald Trump proved earlier this month, it is virtually impossible to take a cop’s gun.
The reason a police officer’s weapon is so hard to take is due to the multiple safety checks built into the holsters. It appears from the video that the type of holster that this officer was wearing, and that the majority of police officers wear, is a Dual Retention Hooded Holster, with optional hood guard.
The “hood” of the holster, or the strap that holds the weapon in the hard plastic holster, must be pushed down from a particular angle and then pushed forward, prior to exposing the back of the weapon.
During a struggle, it is possible that the hood could be pulled down, exposing the back of the gun. However, there is yet another line of defense. The hood guard adds another entirely new level of pistol retention as it is specially designed to prevent an assailant from pushing down the hood.
Even if the hood guard was removed and the hood was pushed back, there is yet another fail safe. The third line of retention in this holster does not allow for the pistol to be removed, nor the slide pulled back, without knowing exactly how to lift it out of the holster.
These holsters usually have a tension screw in place that allows for its users to set the desired level of friction needed to remove the pistol. However, if someone tries to pull the pistol out of the holster in any direction other than the officer’s set preference, the slide will not rack, nor will the pistol come out.
Knowing the function of police holsters and the multiple lines of retention built into them, the claim of “he went for my gun,” seems more like a reason to justify deadly force after the fact than a reason for actually needing deadly force.
Of course, it is a highly stressful situation when a criminal or anyone is attempting to grab an officer’s weapon from the holster. But, as the police in the video above illustrated — it is not always a reason to end someone’s life.
Following the shooting of a homeless man in LA’s Skid Row last year, controversy arose over why the three LAPD officers pulled their triggers.
Chief Charlie Beck said that the video showed ‘Africa,’ the man killed by police, reach for a rookie officers gun. The rookie, who was just short of completing his probationary period, can be heard yelling out, “He has my gun. He Has my gun.”
The reason that a human life was ended that day by the LAPD had everything to do with the rookie yelling out those fateful words. But as the video above and the video below illustrate, this claim holds very little water.
Police accountability activist and friend to the Free Thought Project, Tom Zebra, conducted a similar investigation into the officer’s holster last year. Below is the well-made video by Zebra illustrating the holster’s retention properties.