21 Aug 2014

St. Louis Powell Shooting: Police Story versus Video

Big Brother, Police 119 Comments

See how much you guys think the video matches up with how the police initially described the shooting of Powell:

UPDATE: Well, it’s restricted. You can watch the video directly here.

119 Responses to “St. Louis Powell Shooting: Police Story versus Video”

  1. Enopoletus Harding says:

    This is what i see.

  2. Ivan Jankovic says:

    Bob, you are now trying to judge the particulars of the case although you don;t know the particulars. Nobody knows at this moment. All we now know for certain is that we have one among dozens of cases of police shootings of blacks, that media breathlessly portrayed as racially inspired, in many cases instigating riots and looting and violence, ALL of which eventually turned out to be very different, and not motivated by racism but rather by self-defense. (see under Trevor Martin)

    We still don’t know if this case is the same, but this sad history of media disinformation and race baiting should make you pause before rushing to judgment and swallowing their version of the events before you know all the facts.

    • Dan says:

      You do realise that this isn’t about Mike Brown’s killing, right?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Ivan, I agree that there was media misinformation in this case. The media reported how the police initially described the shooting, and that clearly misinformed the public.

      • Enopoletus Harding says:

        How did it clearly misinform the public?

        • Dan says:

          Did you not see where the police chief admitted that his initial story wasn’t accurate? Or do you believe when the media presented his inaccurate story that nobody was misinformed?

          • Enopoletus Harding says:

            Nope; didn’t see that. Where?

            • Dan says:

              “St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that both of the officers opened fire on Powell when he came within a three or four feet of them holding a knife “in an overhand grip.”

              But the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets.

              The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released the video and 911 calls, telling St. Louis Public Radio that it plans to act transparently.

              The shooting death occurred less than four miles from where Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in the suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9.

              The St. Louis Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

              Dotson defended the officers in a television appearance later Wednesday, acknowledging the discrepancies between his Tuesday account and what the video revealed. Though Powell’s hands were down by his sides, Dotson told CNN, he was moving toward the officer with a knife.”

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Dan, I was trying to tell but couldn’t be sure: Did the cops have their guns drawn when they first got out of the car? If so, that would be another important discrepancy.

              • Dan says:

                Yeah, if you watch the video at the bottom of the HuffPost article, they got out with their guns drawn. It’s near the 1:30 mark in the video.

              • Gamble says:

                Hi Bob,

                Police had guns drawn as the exited vehicle. Even guy taking video says, Oh *hit man, they got their guns out.

          • Enopoletus Harding says:

            Yeah, it looks like the detail about the cops not having their guns drawn out was incorrect. But that actually makes the police more justified in opening fire: why would a man approach the police with (apparently) a knife when they’ve got their guns drawn out? That’s just irrational and indicative of a motivation to attack the cops.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Enop. Harding wrote:

              Yeah, it looks like the detail about the cops not having their guns drawn out was incorrect. But that actually makes the police more justified in opening fire:

              EH and the fact that he was 7 or 8 feet away, not 3 or 4, makes me trust the cops more. That knife must have been really long if they shot him from that distance.

              • Enopoletus Harding says:

                The depth of my bathroom is 8 and 1/2 ft. It would have been irrational to not shoot from that distance. Besides, it’s difficult to tell the exact distance you shot a person from if that person was still moving while being shot. If the cops waited until the man shot was 3 or 4 feet away, his head would have landed in one of their chests.

              • Grane Peer says:

                Kajieme should have told the cops to treat him like a human being instead of telling them to shoot him. Then this would have played out very differently. They would have cuffed him before they shot him. Remember when Dalton took over security at the Double Deuce and he fired the head bouncer? not because he wasn’t tough enough but because he didn’t have the temperament for the job.

            • Dan says:

              What kind of twisted logic is that? According to your way of thinking, police should walk around with guns drawn at all times. That way if anyone threatens them in anyway it will make them more justified in shooting the person. Why try to de-escalate a situation when drawing your gun and pointing it at a person behaving erratically, threatening to shoot them, makes their actions more justifiable?

              • Ken B says:

                No, you are missing his point, which is about the dead man’s state of mind. And EH actually has a point. The fact he advanced in face of the guns shows he had a goal of some sort in mind. Now it need not have been to attack them, it might be because he is trying to provoke them. But it does suggest a purpose.

  3. Ivan Jankovic says:

    Yes, of course, but I thought Bob meant this is as another illustration of why the police version must be wrong or suspect in the Brown case. Apologize if he did not.

  4. Ivan Jankovic says:

    I was reasoning from his previous post about how there are not only few bad apples among cops etc.

  5. Gamble says:

    1 shot to the leg would have stopped this guy in his tracks, so obviously the cops were trying to accomplish something other than stopping an immediate threat.

    South Park explains this police/government phenomenon better than I ever could.

    Watch, learn and most of all, enjoy! 1:18 seconds is all it takes.


    • Enopoletus Harding says:

      1 shot to the leg would have stopped this guy in his tracks

      -Not really. He could have thrown the knife.

      • Dan says:

        The cops could’ve stood behind their car, or backed off. If unloading nine shots into this guy 15 seconds after arriving, killing him, was their best solution, then perhaps they shouldn’t be in charge of handling situations like this.

        • Enopoletus Harding says:

          The cops could’ve stood behind their car, or backed off.

          -That couldn’t possibly have prevented a very conceivable case of a slashed throat or two.

          • Gamble says:

            You are being silly. The cop could have easily stayed behind the car and fired 1 into his leg. Then this guy could have thrown his knife(maybe) and it would have hit the police car, probably handle first.

            • Enopoletus Harding says:

              You are being silly. The cop could have easily stayed behind the car and fired 1 into his leg.

              -If one’s head is behind a car, how can one fire into someone’s leg on the other side of the car?!

              • Gamble says:

                With drivers door open, stand behind door and reach over windshield or top of vehicle.

                So you would have very little exposure.

                I guess some of these guys are probably not this agile or have ability to maneuver.

            • Enopoletus Harding says:

              Gamble, were one in that position, one would not find it easy to aim at the lower part of someone’s body.

              • Anonymous says:

                Depends how far away person is. In this case, person was on elevated platform

                But why are we talking about shooting somebody as soon as the car stops the way these employees did.

                What is the rush. Does this city prohibit non lethal options?

          • Dan says:

            Uh? How does backing away or using their vehicle for protection mean people are going to get their throats slashed? You honestly believe unloading nine shots into a guy with a small knife 15 seconds after you encounter him was the best way to handle that situation? There was nothing they could’ve done to disarm the guy without killing him? Or do you think anytime a crazy person has a small knife in their hands an execution is in order?

            • Enopoletus Harding says:

              You honestly believe unloading nine shots into a guy with a small knife 15 seconds after you encounter him was the best way to handle that situation?

              -Got any better realistic ideas?

              Or do you think anytime a crazy person has a small knife in their hands an execution is in order?

              -When that crazy person is approaching someone pointing a gun at him/her, then I think using the gun pointed at that crazy person is justifiable.
              As the other Dan pointed out, this was no execution.

              • Dan says:

                “-Got any better realistic ideas?”

                Yes. Park further away from the guy. Walk up cautiously, and calming without drawing your weapon. Attempt to talk to the person like a human being capable of showing compassion. Stay a good distance away, allowing yourself enough time to draw your weapon if he bumrushes you, and giving backup time to arrive. Anything other than menacingly approaching the guy at close range with guns immediately drawn and screaming at him like a madman, and then killing him within 15 seconds. It’s crazy, to me, that you believe this was the best possible course of action in this scenario.

      • Gamble says:


        He would have ignored the intense pain, all the blood, and then thrown a knife that may or may not be a balanced throwing knife, with pinpoint accuracy. Not to mention the police vehicle obstacle.

        This guy is like right out of the movies.

    • Grane Peer says:

      Gamble, there is a reason cops are trained to target center mass and it’s not to ensure a kill. The kid in the apartment scene in Pulp Fiction is a better shot than most police. If these merry andrews start trying to aim at narrow limbs the collateral death toll will go through the roof. I think the public at large would be much safer with Ed-209’s running around.

      • Tel says:

        That was the official justification for New South Wales police switching from steel jacket ammunition over to dum-dum bullets (of the type banned on the battlefield). They argued that the steel jacket round puts a small hole through several people, while the dum-dum puts a large hole in one person. By the way, body armour is illegal here, except for government workers.

        • Grane Peer says:

          I heard that the reason the troops aren’t all carrying 50 cal machine guns is that an injured soldier will have to be attended to, thus taking multiple soldiers out of the fight and diverting resources to the care of injured.

          • Tel says:

            Yeah, could well be true on the battlefield, but there really was a convention to outlaw dum-dums.

            At any rate, the local cops aren’t known for leaving any wounded.

  6. Philippe says:

    I can’t see from the video whether the person was holding a knife, though it looks like he was holding something.

    Other than that, the cop’s description seems to be quite accurate, though it looks like the guy was more than 4 ft away from the officer when they opened fire.

    As gamble says however, shooting the guy dead seems totally unnecessary, as a baton hit, taser, or a shot to the legs could probably have incapacitated him if that’s what they wanted to do.

    • Philippe says:

      when I say it seems totally unnecessary, I only add the qualifier ‘seems’ because I don’t know anything about the case.

    • Enopoletus Harding says:

      Yeah, looks more like 7 ft.

      • Philippe says:

        in countries with very restrictive gun laws, cops in a similar situation would not have been carrying guns. If they weren’t adequately armed, they would have backed off and called for armed support – i.e. for people who are highly trained in the use of firearms and don’t just shoot at the drop of a hat.

        • Philippe says:

          a cop shooting a gun is a big deal in some other western countries.

        • Enopoletus Harding says:


          very restrictive gun laws

          are precisely what most of the U.S. don’t have.

        • Tel says:

          That’s rubbish, Australia has very restrictive gun laws, and the cops are always armed.

          They wouldn’t have shot him so many times over here, just once or twice, but he would have been equally dead.

  7. Kevin L says:

    Is anyone here actually willing to defend unloading a handgun into a guy holding a knife? Was he brash and stupid? Sure. But if that’s a capital offense, Lord help us all. If someone other than a cop were to repeatedly fire at a man armed with a knife, he would be deservedly upbraided in the press. Police should be held to the same standard.

    • Gamble says:

      *Christians* tell me all authority is ordained by God, therefore unquestionably justified and righteous. LOL.

      • Kevin L says:

        The Bible does say everyone in authority is there by God’s design (just as all things, by definition, happen by God’s design), but it never claims that rulers are thereby always just and righteous, which would have been an obviously false claim in the 1st century. Paul does write that believers should “pray for [authorities] so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life.” Sounds like a pretty liberal hope for society.

    • Enopoletus Harding says:

      he would be deservedly upbraided in the press.

      -Certainly not in most of the pro-gun press, where he would be praised as a “good guy with a gun”.

  8. GeePonder says:

    I don’t know if the overall confrontation was justified or not.

    That said, once it got this far, there is no such thing as a “magical” one shot to the leg. There are a few reasons for that. One is, unless you are Matt Dillon, most people aren’t that good a shot under pressure. A second reason is there is also no “magical” one shot stops the threat. Each situation is different but one can not count on any one shot stop, to the leg or anywhere else.

    If, and I mean IF he had a knife in his hand, yes that is a deadly weapon. Police style weapons combat training would typically teach that one should not allow someone with a knife within 21 feet of you. If you think he was 7ft away from the officer that is WAY too close. They have done tests and drills, and a guy with a knife can cover even 21 feet remarkably quickly, and of course 7 feet EXTREMELY quickly. Given that there is no such thing as a “magical” one shot stop that can be relied upon, and a knife wound can be quite fatal, it is amazing that they let him get that close.

    I am not a fan of violence, or police violence, and as stated I have know idea if the original confrontation was justified or not, but here you have a guy with a knife confronting two costumed individuals who are both pointing a gun at him saying drop the knife. Instead this guy screams “shoot me now, just shoot me now” and approaches the costumed crusaders. Even if he didn’t have a knife, at this point one must assume he is not in his right mind. WITH a knife (if it was so), then you have a very dangerous situation.

    I’m not commenting on the police’s original story, but from the video, I am not surprised that they shot, that they shot multiple times, and I’m surprised they let him approach the costumed passenger-side dude as close as they did.

    All that said, it is still a tragedy.


    • Gamble says:

      “most people aren’t that good a shot under pressure.” I guess all the training is worthless. Where did the billions go.

      “Police style weapons combat training would typically teach that one should not allow someone with a knife within 21 feet of you.” Guess the training worked after all. Billions well spent.

      Remind me again, what is it we are training police officers to do?

      I had this naïve notion America was all about due process.

    • Gamble says:

      Cops are the people who chose to close the distance to less than 21 feet. They could have parked 100 feet back. They could have stayed in vehicle with windows rolled up.

      Geesh those little Swiss army knives sure are scary.

      • Mark Geoffriau says:

        You may or may not have a valid point, but it’s completely obfuscated by your sarcasm.

        Whether you like it or not, the following facts are true:

        1. It is extremely difficult to train for situations that involve adrenaline levels way above normal.
        2. As a result of this, the vast majority of people shoot much more poorly under extreme stress (and this includes police officers).
        3. Even if 1. and 2. were not a factor, shooting someone in the leg often will not stop them. In fact, shooting someone center mass in the vitals often doesn’t stop them. Even multiple hits to center mass doesn’t always stop a determined, psychotic, or drugged assailant.
        4. The 21 foot rule doesn’t quite apply here, as the officers already had their pistols unholstered and ready. The general principle applies, however — at close range, an attacker can often reach and strike you before you can get off an aimed shot.
        5. If you think a Swiss Army Knife won’t hurt or kill you because it only has a 3 inch blade, then go Google some images of the results of prison stabbing and slashing victims. A razor blade or shiv can do deadly damage.

        I’m not defending these cops or how they handled the situation (and I’m certainly not defending the department not getting the story right). But sarcastically trying to deny widely-accepted rules of thumb with regard to violent encounters is not a good way to approach the issue.

        • Gamble says:

          Yeah a little knife can kill, so can a 16 penny nails. I get it.

          Point is, cops have guns, tazers. pepper spray, protective gear, vehicles, shot guns, assault rifles and back up. Lots of back up. Lots and lots and lots of back up. Nearly infinite.

          Why all the adrenaline?

          I think there is more to this than adrenaline. I think the undercurrent is about perceived pride , authority and demanding respect rather than earing respect. Also maybe some simple mob mentality, government being the mob.

          • Philippe says:

            oh right. ‘No government’ would solve the problem.


            • Enopoletus Harding says:

              Agreed, Philippe.

            • Gamble says:

              That is a cheap tactic. You falsely paint me into the 100% no government category. You are trying to turn this on me and lie in the process.

              How about this, the police union and municipal governments show some dignity and terminate relations with trigger happy employees.


              • Philippe says:

                sounds like a reasonable suggestion, gamble. I was a bit too quick there, sorry.

              • GeePonder says:


              • GeePonder says:

                Oops. I was agreeing with Gamble that trigger happy employees be terminated.

            • Major.Freedom says:

              You haven’t shown it is “delusional.”

              You know what is actually delusional? Your and EH’s tortured, desperate, and depraved apologizing and “moderating” of government police murdering people because you are so scared of fundamental criticism of the state lest you contradict everything you’ve said here.

              You say below that Gamble has a “reasonable” solution ONLY because it is a solution that sanctions the state. That is your primary motivation.

          • Enopoletus Harding says:

            Gamble, are you a minarchist or anarchist?

            • Major.Freedom says:

              EH, would you shoot me if all I did was disagree with who I pay for my protection and security, and acted on that dosagreement by voluntarily opting out of paying who you want to pay for your protection?

              If no, then you’re anarchist.

            • Gamble says:


              False dichotomy.

          • Ken B says:

            I am interested in the number of shots from BOTH officers. It seems they feel entitled to fire a lot of shots once they decide, or any one of them decides, to take action. So a single shot in the leg becomes IMPOSSIBLE. If every cop will fire off several rounds a limited response is impossible. That all by itself is a problem. Even if the first cop is justified in firing this is a problem.

            • Gamble says:

              Sounded like 10 total.

              10 shots from a 10mm at 3-4 feet ( actually more like 15 feet) could drop an elephant.

              • Ken B says:

                10 is shoot to kill, unambiguously.

        • Tel says:

          . If you think a Swiss Army Knife won’t hurt or kill you because it only has a 3 inch blade, then go Google some images of the results of prison stabbing and slashing victims. A razor blade or shiv can do deadly damage.

          Striking someone with an open hand can quite easily kill as well, so you are saying that cops should shoot anyone with hands.

          Then again, self defense applies equally to all people so everyone should supposedly shoot at cops, in self defense, knowing there’s a plausible chance the cops might shoot them at a later date.

          Everyone should kill everyone else, just in case he was going to kill them first, right? I mean, that’s essentially where it ends up at. That’s why we have a justice system, to prevent that, so people who escalate violence will be held to account… equally regardless of who they are, or what their job is. The crime is the unnecessary escalation, and no “Just in case” is not an acceptable excuse as far as I’m concerned.

    • Kevin L says:

      The problem I have with this situation is that both cops fired at him repeatedly, even after he was down. That’s not reluctantly protecting yourself from a fellow citizen. That’s making sure an enemy doesn’t pose a threat to you or your comrades ever again.

  9. Philippe says:

    if you’re going to have a system where every police officer carries a gun, or in which every patrol car is loaded with firearms, couldn’t it be possible to provide officers with the option of using guns loaded with plastic or rubber bullets, or similar non- or less lethal firearms? If these cops had shot plastic bullets, the likelihood is that the guy would have been badly injured, but not dead.

    • K.P. says:

      They’re not as effective or reliable as lead, so an officer could still be harmed or killed even if he hit his target. I don’t think rubber or plastic bullets can stop automobiles either.

      I’d just assume disarm the officers altogether (at least of pistols) if we’re still willing to go that far though.

      • Philippe says:

        problem is that guns are so widespread that taking them away from cops probably wouldn’t make sense. In countries where guns are rare, it makes sense that most of the police don’t carry guns.

        • Philippe says:

          I was saying that plastic or rubber bullet guns could be an available weapon in the arsenal they carry around in those patrol cars.

          • K.P. says:

            Rubber and plastic bullets are pretty widely available for cops and they frequently use them for crowd control. I don’t about whether they carry them in their squad cars but I can’t see what difference that’d make unless there was a change in protocol. I don’t think many are going to willingly increase any safety risk unless they must.

            • Philippe says:

              “unless there was a change in protocol”

              that might be required.

              I don’t think immediately shooting people dead because they come towards you with a knife and apparent intent is protocol though.

              • K.P. says:

                “I don’t think immediately shooting people dead because they come towards you with a knife and apparent intent is protocol though.”

                The law in Missouri is pretty broad, even if he didn’t have a knife the cop’s actions look pretty defensible.


                I’ll say disarming the police would be much simpler than coherently narrowing “reasonable belief”. May be much more difficult politically though.

              • Philippe says:

                I’m not sure disarming the police would be simple at all. Especially if you don’t intend to severely reduce the amount of guns out there in the population.

              • K.P. says:

                Hence my last sentence.

              • Philippe says:

                “reasonable belief”

                if they have or had other means at their disposal to neutralize or contain someone wielding a knife, then I don’t think shooting them dead is a a particularly reasonable response.

              • K.P. says:

                You don’t, sure. Cop says otherwise: using the gun was the only way to ensure that he wouldn’t be harmed (endanger life or inflict serious physical injury)

                That’s about as far as “reasonable belief” takes you.

              • Philippe says:

                in such cases there should presumably be some sort of inquiry or trial to determine whether it was reasonable or lawful.

              • Philippe says:

                I certainly don’t think that ancapism provides any real solutions to such problems.

              • K.P. says:

                “in such cases there should presumably be some sort of inquiry or trial to determine whether it was reasonable or lawful.”

                Indeed. But you can surely see how much problems that arise with such vagueness.

                “I certainly don’t think that ancapism provides any real solutions to such problems.”

                Meh. I don’t think anything can solve the problem of vagueness (and maybe at some level vagueness is necessary). Having more jurisdictions would lessen the impact and allow for more trial and error and greater cultural honing than the present system allows though. (For better or for worse)

            • Gamble says:

              I have actually watched a suicidal person at a grade school get shot with 1 bean bag from police shotgun. Buckled him like a sack of potatoes.

              I was sitting in a Barbers chair directly across small 2 lane street. It was surreal to watch police rush in and fire. The 3 of us though it was a real shotgun, until later we learned it was bean bag.

        • Enopoletus Harding says:

          Exactly, Philippe. Police in the U.K. hardly ever use firearms because hardly anyone has firearms.

          • Harold says:

            But there are shooting incidents – and they do lead to riots.
            It is pretty rare. Police opened fire only 5 times in 2011/2012. That is from 12,550 incidents where armed police were deployed and authorised to shoot.

            The incident filmed would have been extremely unlikely to have ended up with killing if it occurred in the UK.

  10. Dan (DD5) says:

    To the libertarians calling this an execution. Here is what an execution means:

    From wikipedia: “An execution-style murder, also known as Chicago-style murder and execution-style killing, is an act of criminal murder where the perpetrator kills at close range a conscious victim who is under the complete physical control of the assailant and who has been left with no course of resistance or escape. ”

    I think the above is an accurate description of what is usually meant by an execution. It is obvious beyond any doubt that what has take place is NOT an execution. It might be murder of some degree, but not an execution. If he had a knife (which is hard to tell from the video), it might not even be murder but manslaughter of some degree. If the cop was better trained and could have waited for the kid to approach even closer it might have even been an act of self-defense. I don’t justify the actions taken by the cop even one bit. I am just saying that it is quite a stretch to call this an execution.

    Yes, we have a serious police problem. We have a State problem!

  11. Josiah says:

    This video is disturbing to me on two levels.

    First, from my perspective, it looks like the cops just gun the guy down without cause.

    That is quite disturbing. But equally disturbing is the fact that other people watch the same video and conclude it was justifiable. This includes folks like Antonio French who are not exactly police apologists.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Josiah, ironically, I am not outraged at people thinking the cops were justified in shooting the guy. (I disagree of course, but I’m not flipping out about it.) What I can’t believe is that a bunch of people (e.g. on Twitter and FB where I also posted this) didn’t even seem fazed by the fact that the initial police description of the shooting had at least 3 VERY significant details wrong.

      • Enopoletus Harding says:

        Hey, it’s not like humans have a video camera constantly rolling tape inside their heads.

        • Philippe says:

          I had to give a witness statement recently when I saw a man slash someone across the face with a knife. I was shocked and couldn’t really remember much about the guy with any degree of accuracy.

          • Philippe says:

            I think I got a load of things wrong, or was just backfilling my memory with my imagination or something. I really couldn’t tell whether my recollection was true or not!

            • Philippe says:

              btw the guy is in jail now, and I wasn’t asked to go to court.

      • Dan says:

        I’m concerned about people who believe the police were not only justified in killing him, but that they handled it in the best possible way. That is completely outrageous, IMO.

      • Gamble says:

        “didn’t even seem fazed by the fact that the initial police description of the shooting had at least 3 VERY significant details wrong.”

        If it is okay for police to murder then it is more okay for police to lie.

        The lying police chief does not surprise me. I was fighting taxes in my small town and the police chief started a smear campaign against me. The nonsense did not stop until I got the fiscally conservative DA involved. So yes police and other bureaucrats do lie, often if I may add.

        The firs thing people need to realize is that elected officials and government employees are people, not heroes, not saints.
        Second thing to realize is these people get paid to not understand commonly accepted truths. They feed their family’s with lies.

        IT is a tough situation for any of us to be in, I bet you would do the same if you were on the other side of reality. Lie to feed yourself, keep your job. Keep the tax machine fed and oiled.

  12. Dan Lind says:


    The above clip is a longer version of the clip Bob posted. It adds a few minutes to the beginning of Bob’s clip.

    The longer clip doesn’t add to how the event unfolded from the police point of view.

    It does add context to a bystander’s point of view.

    My knee-jerk reaction, for what it’s worth, was that this is what you’d expect to happen in an occupation. There’s a sense of nonchalance => man acts weird, he has a knife in his hand, shoot him.

    • Dan Lind says:

      If you were the owner of the store that the dead guy robbed and the cops were employees of a private security company you’d hired, would you be pleased with the performance?

      • Gamble says:

        That is a good question Dan. The most difficult part of your question is that there would be other changes than just private versus public security. So you are asking me to answer 1 hypothetical when in reality it would be part of a much larger package of hypotheticals.

        With that being said, I would probably hire the security force that was reputable for middle of the road prices, minimum clean up, zero lawsuits after the fact and if possible, a kill free policy.

        • Dan Lind says:

          No need to over think it. Would you be satisfied?

          In a sense the store owner DID hire ’em, social contract and all that.

      • Tel says:

        No. The objective of security is to prevent a robbery, not to allow the robbery and then murder the perpetrators in revenge.

        • Dan Lind says:

          And if the security firm murders the perpetrator the community may well get royally pissed off at .. you, the store owner, for hiring a racist/trigger-happy/murderous security firm.

          The store owner is boycotted, loses his business.

          The security firm loses its contracts, goes out of business.

          Accountability driven by individual choices begins to click into place.

    • Ken B says:

      That video is an interview with a rapper.

    • Dan Lind says:


      This should be the right clip.. My apologies.

      • Ken B says:

        Thanks for the link. It looks like he wanted to provoke a police reaction. Whether to prove a point or “suicide by cop”. I think his “shoot me” was a taunt, a theatrical way of making a point, not a suicide try, but YMMV.
        Did the officer clearing the pavement reach towards a gun at one point?

  13. Ken B says:

    I cannot see either a knife or gun directly but the motions of the driver indicate he had his gun out before coming out from behind the open car door. He is aiming at the man almost immediately. I have a similar impression of the other cop but he might have been drawing his weapon while out of the car but still behind the door. I see no grounds to doubt the voice on the tape asserting both have their guns out immediately.
    I would say the distance was 6 feet or more, not 3 to 4. He did not look to be charging at the moment he was shot, but rather walking. I did not see a raised arm holding a knife.
    Thus I believe the video shows material differences from what the police spokesman said.

    • Enopoletus Harding says:

      Yeah, the arm definitely wasn’t raised. But “overhand grip” doesn’t mean “raised”. The visual impression was a bit confusing, though.
      “When they got out of the car they did not initially have their weapons drawn.” is, if true, only true for a split-second.

      • Gamble says:

        He lied about the distance, hands raised, weapon, direction of travel. He also tried to lie about shots fired. At first he said shot, then he changed to shots from both officers but he still neglected to mention 10 shots. Another lie if only by omission.

        In my state, most governments have PR agents who troll the internet, it does not surprise me that this mouthpiece also lies, it is in their best interest to lie ( at least short term).

        The thing that gets me, is I pay taxes to be lied to and spoon fed propaganda. They should at least have to generate advertising revenue from customers. Really weird arrangement.

        • Enopoletus Harding says:

          He couldn’t have lied about hands raised because he didn’t say hands raised, Gamble. Are you listening? The description of the direction of travel was accurate enough. How did he lie about the weapon?! As Philippe and I pointed out above, people don’t have their memories on tape.

          Gamble, I’ve been reading Bob Murphy’s blog since the time he was writing his PIG to the Great Depression. Trying to paint me as a police shill (was Rothbard working for the LAPD?) does your credibility no favors.

        • Ken B says:

          I cannot see a knife, but cannot see a definite absence. I assume a knife was found. How do you know different?
          He did not say arm raised, he described the grip with his own arm raised. Misleading perhaps but he was not there, so it is hard to call this deliberately misleading, much less a lie.
          Direction? Seems accurate. Distance? I agree it was further.
          So I agree what he said is wrong in some important ways. I cannot say he was lying. I do not see a basis for you to, based on your claims here.

          • Tel says:

            He did not say arm raised, he described the grip with his own arm raised. Misleading perhaps but he was not there, so it is hard to call this deliberately misleading, much less a lie.

            You have got to be kidding me. Of course it is a lie, the intention of the communication is clear, and the impression conveyed is unambiguous.

            Imagine someone tried getting away with that in court under oath.

            • Ken B says:

              A lie is a deliberate attempt to deceive. You have no evidence the chief knew the dead man never raised his arm. A simple explanation is that got it wrong. Or maybe he was lied to himself. Or maybe some witness got it wrong. Early reports often get stuff wrong. I read about hundreds drowned by Katrina in NO. Jumping to strong conclusions, like you are doing, clouds thinking and inhibits careful consideration when more facts come to light.

  14. Anonymous says:

    *Based on the released videos* I see NOTHING wrong with what these two cops did there.

    Yes, I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist who adheres to the NVP, I rather have private defense forces and not state at all, but… I don’t take reflexive anti-cop stances at every time no matter what.

    The guy is clearly disturbed, is armed with a knife, is walking towards the cops shouting “shoot me, shoot me”. Even further, is suspect of shoplifting (which later on was shown to be true). Come on get a grip, if nothing more this is al least self-defense.

    – It doesn’t matter if there were 3 ft, 8 ft, or 12 ft between them. If the guy sprints the gap will be closed almost instantly in any of those distances.
    – No, you do not shoot the leg of anybody. First, it’s far from guaranteeing to stop the assailant, furthermore you may as well pique him and enrage him. Second, contrary to your intentions sever his femoral and good luck surviving that.
    – No, there were not to many bullets fired. In self-defense you don’t shoot people to hurt them or scare them off, you shoot to kill. Ugly and nasty, yes. That’s why you only shoot people if you think it’s your life or theirs. It’s not only self-defense, it’s self-defense and you’re certain of your death. So, they shot him X times, they shot him when lying in the floor,… really, who cares? what difference does it make?
    – They should have talk him down, they should have backed off, they should have hide behind the patrol, they should have tazered him first, and so on… Yeah, they should have had this magic weapon that shoots a bubble surrounding and lifting him up in the air while injecting sleeping gas. Get real.

    The guy was psyched up, the guy was armed, and the guy KEPT WALKING TOWARDS the cops. What else do you need? give me a break.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oops, it’s NAP. The NVP is a new one Rothbard would surely had loved to hear from

    • Gamble says:

      “Yeah, they should have had this magic weapon that shoots a bubble surrounding and lifting him up in the air while injecting sleeping gas. Get real.”

      That sounds like a great idea, when will the free market deliver this solution?

      Regarding shoplifting. To understand and respect anti shoplifting laws/mentality, you first have to understand/respect private property. Pretty sure public education and public policy teaches the near opposite. You also have to subscribe to the theory persons are also private property, therefore keep your hands to yourself. Once again, pretty sure we are teaching the opposite.

    • Gamble says:

      Regarding self defense. Do police have the luxury of following common concepts of self defense? Do police and courts reciprocate to average citizens?

      Me thinks government monopolies of force must adjust their playbook and look outside the “self defense” paradigm.

      Really, according to self defense, this guy was the one who was attacked, Think about it. 2 armed people charged in towards him with vehicle and guns. Who is defending what?

    • Ken B says:

      I need for them to not shoot quite so many times.

  15. TheDjinni says:

    “As officers arrived, the suspect turned towards the officers and started to walk towards them clutching his waistband.”


    “He then pulled out a knife in what was described as an over-hand grip.”

    Unclear from the video whether he possessed a knife. He certainly appears to have been pulling something out of his pocket. An over-hand grip is one where the hand rests above the blade and not below (that is, the knife is inverted); it is entirely possible that he was holding a knife in such a manner.

    “And told the officers ‘shoot me now’, ‘kill me now’.”

    Not exactly, but a reasonable paraphrase of what he was saying.

    “As he walked towards the officers, the officers began giving him verbal commands to drop the knife.”

    Assuming this isn’t meant to be an exact sequential narration and this was happening at the same time as he was screaming “shoot me now”, this is also true.

    “At which point the suspect stopped approaching the driver and turned his attention towards the passenger.”

    True. He stops walking towards the front of the vehicle in the direction of the officer who was driving, and turned to look at the passenger. He climbed up on the wall and began circling around towards the officer who had been the passenger.

    “Both officers are now out of the car; when they initially got out of their car they did not have their weapons drawn. When the suspect displayed his knife, they drew their weapons.”

    Partially true. The driver exited the vehicle first with his gun out before the suspect appears to be drawing his knife, but the passenger had not completely exited the vehicle by this time. He could have intended to not draw his gun as he was leaving, then drew it as he saw the knife, and relayed both of this to the police chief. Neither of them may have had perfect recollection of the events; they may have not intended to draw their guns as they slowed their car to a stop and began leaving, but reacted at some point to his hostile demeanor and drew their guns.

    “Suspect moved towards the officer who was in the passenger seat of the vehicle, at which time he came within three to four feet of the officer.”

    Somewhat true. After circling around towards him and climbing onto the median, he approached the passenger side officer. After falling to the floor, he landed about a foot away from the officer he was approaching; they evidently judged the distance poorly.

    “And the officer shot – both officers fired their weapons, striking the suspect – and the suspect is deceased.”


    Looks like a pretty accurate description, given that it went down in about 15 seconds. How much detail do you think you could have given? So, yeah RPM, I didn’t spot much inconsistency, and all of it was well within the realm of faulty human memory. Nothing appeared to have been a clear attempt at lying.

    Now, whether you want to argue about the morality of the situation is another question. All I know, is that if I was open-carrying and someone approached me with a knife, I wouldn’t wait until he was on me before firing. Someone can sprint 15 feet in a few seconds, let alone 5. I would have reacted same as these officers, drawing my gun almost immediately and insisting that he drop the knife, before firing at about that distance, if not from farther away.

    • Reece says:

      On the overhand grip: From his actions in the video, he clearly did not mean just having the hand above the blade; he brought his hand up, as if the knife was actually pointing toward the officers. This would obviously be much more threatening.

      “Both officers are now out of the car; when they initially got out of their car they did not have their weapons drawn.” They did have their weapons drawn when they got out of the car, so the second sentence is clearly false. Arguing over intentions is irrelevant to what they actually did, and what they said they did afterward.

      “they evidently judged the distance poorly.” Yes, they did. That means this is false.

      “And the officer shot – both officers fired their weapons, striking the suspect” This is misleading. They both seemed to fire multiple times, while anyone listening to this statement would probably think they only fired once each.

      They were wrong three times in their statement, and were misleading in another. This is pretty bad for such a short statement – if they weren’t sure on some things, they should have left it out until they got an accurate description. Note also that all of their inconsistencies just happened to put the police in a better light. Faulty memory is a possibility, but what are the chances that in every instance they didn’t remember clearly, their statements made them look better?

      I tend not to shoot people (even if armed) that aren’t threatening me, especially not multiple times in areas that are likely to kill the person. Would you shoot someone open-carrying, because there is a possibility he would pull out his gun and shoot you in a few seconds? That seems more dangerous than a knife.

      • Ken B says:

        Re your question about faulty memory. The chances are pretty good actually. Between faulty memory and confusions people tend to select the version that favors them, unconsciously.
        Your other point, he should say I don’t know, until he has better knowledge is quite right. In the later retraction he said he relied on witnesses, not the cops’ reports. He should have either made that clear or kept quiet.

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