From the first video it was apparent that officers shouted to get on the ground before firing a taser and then tackling him. I doubt any rational person is complaining about that. What does have people upset is that while the officers had him on the ground, they shot him. So I have taken the time to carefully go through frame by frame to determine what happened after the officers got him on the ground.
- Officers shouted “He’s got a gun” BEFORE drawing their firearms. This is significant because it indicates they properly used escalation of force protocols and didn’t resort to lethal force until the suspect was found to have a lethal weapon.
- The officer gave a verbal warning “Hey brofus you fucking move I swear to God”. While he didn’t say “Don’t move or I’ll shoot” it was very apparent what he meant with the statement.
- Alton Sterling shouted “Thanks for the free gun” as he ignored the verbal warning and pulled one of the officers down on top of him. It was at this point the first shots were fired.
- Alton Sterling began rolling over on top of one of the officers shouting “You’re Dead” as the camera turns away.
- We can’t see what is happening, but an officer gives another verbal warning to get on the ground before firing again.
I was in the Military Police for 9 months in the Marines and this fits with what I was trained. It appears as though the escalation of force continuum was properly applied up to deadly force. And all 3 requirements for the application of deadly force were present, although any 2 of the 3 together will suffice.
- Subject had the ability. He had a gun and was close enough to take an officer’s weapon.
- Subject had the intent. This is established by him shouting “thanks for the free gun” and “you’re dead”
- Subject made the attempt. By going for the officer’s weapon and pulling him down then trying to roll on top of him.
In my professional opinion these officers acted appropriately according to typical police training and made every attempt to control the situation before resorting to deadly force. I think Alton Sterling was endangering their lives through his actions and they were totally justified in shooting him.
But watch the video and make up your own mind.
Here is a link to the original video by Baton Rouge Crime on YouTube.
Comrade Turner wishes to express his condolences to Alton Sterling’s family, and the police officers and their families who will no doubt be targeted by hate over this incident. Follow Comrade Turner on twitter @WrongThinkBlog.