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You Decide

By Patrick Van Roy On June 15th, 2020

The following video contains the Bodycams of the incident in Atlanta with detailed analysis.

38 Responses to “You Decide”

  1. That’s the third time I’ve seen the video, the first time was the NYT with a timeline of events as they unfolded. I don’t see what’s to be decided, Brooks turns to attempt to use a non deadly weapon on a cop who had used the same non deadly weapon on Brooks moments before and the cop shoots him dead for it.

    Use of deadly force absolutely wasn’t warranted.

  2. I gave my briefly detailed analysis on this matter on the ‘Atlanta Burns’ thread , and I haven’t changed my view. This wasn’t a racist act of harrassment and brutality, or a methodical act of prolonged brutality like the George Floyd case, but I do agree that the circumstances did not rise to the level where deadly force was essential . At the moment of shooting he was running away. Shooting and seriously risking his life as the chosen option rather than letting him (temporarily) run away was the wrong call.

  3. So he should have been allowed to run away with the taser.

    Maybe in some world that makes sense, but you are asking that the police ( who had been fired at with the taser ) disregard all their training.

    I agree that police training needs to be honestly looked at – it’s inadequate – but those police followed procedure IMO.

    And again, the perp had been treated respectfully the whole time until he decided to resist arrest, steal the taser, and flee.

    This cop isn’t Chauvin. He appears to be the mirror opposite of that.

  4. “So he should have been allowed to run away with the taser.”

    Honestly, yes. It creates a less bad situation if he had been able to run away with the taser. He was not a threat to the lives of the police officers, or a member of the public, in running away with the taser.

    The Supreme Court has been clear on the matter. The officer cannot use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others”.

  5. So he should have been allowed to run away with the taser.

    Maybe in some world that makes sense, but you are asking that the police ( who had been fired at with the taser ) disregard all their training

    Unless their training includes using lethal force against non lethal force I don’t think that’s the case.

  6. He had been fired upon by the Taser.

    A Taser is less lethal than a gun is, but it is no joke.

    Despite the fact that the mayor has sought to taint the potential jury pool, in a fair trial this officer will be exonerated. He shouldn’t be prosecuted.

  7. with the Taser.

  8. Yes, its clearly that he was trying to escape, stupidly and pointlessly given that the police had his car and presumably his details. He would have simply temporarily avoided detainment again.

    Every reasonable person can see that this wasn’t a case of brutal police racial harassment and up to the moment of shooting the police behaved absolutely properly but given that the moment a police officer discharges his gun he knows he is likely to end a life the justification for doing that has to be higher than the situation in this incident merited.

  9. “He had been fired upon by the Taser.”

    And? Does that change the facts? Does that change the fact that an officer cannot use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others”?

  10. He was fired upon.

  11. “He was fired upon.”

    With a non-lethal weapon.

    Simple question, did Brooks, when firing a non-lethal weapon, pose a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others?

  12. A Taser is less lethal than a gun is, but it is no joke

    It’s the same weapon that had been used on Brooks moments before. Why should it be considered ‘non lethal’ in one case and ‘less lethat’ moments later?

    IMO the cop used deadly force in a non life threatening situation and should be held accountable for it.

  13. Absolutely yes.

    No question about it.

  14. “Absolutely yes.”

    Ok. So police officers cannot use deadly force unless a suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury. Does that mean that any time a police officer uses a taser (which is now a deadly weapon) when the suspect doesn’t pose a significant threat of death or serious physical injury should be prosecuted? Every single time. You ok with that?

  15. Phantom

    He briefly and haphazardly fired that tazer gun while trying to run away. He was trying to keep the police from catching him. The cooler and sensible thing to do by both police would have been to stop running after him and see if he carried on running away. If he made no further attempt to use the tazer but just ran away they could have just arrested him later. If however he had stopped and proceeded back to deliberately continued to try and use the tazer then I agree, all bets are off.

  16. The police officer is trained in how to use the less lethal Taser properly against a violent suspect

    Some here never give the police the benefit of the doubt in any situation

    Cheers

  17. Colm

    “The cooler and sensible thing to do by both police would have been to stop running after him and see if he carried on running away. If he made no further attempt to use the tazer but just ran away they could have just arrested him later. If however he had stopped and proceeded back to deliberately continued to try and use the tazer then I agree, all bets are off.”

    Yes but there’s a lot of hindsight in that. The cops hadn’t seen the YouTube video. If he’d managed by accident or design to hit the cop with the taser then he could have upgraded his taser to a gun.

  18. “The police officer is trained in how to use the less lethal Taser properly against a violent suspect”

    And? It is still the police officer deploying lethal force against a non-lethal suspect. Which is illegal. If the taser is lethal then deploying it against a suspect who is not a significant risk to life or limb is illegal. If it is not lethal then Brooks wasn’t a significant risk to life or limb and thus his shooting is illegal.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    “Some here never give the police the benefit of the doubt in any situation”

    And some give them the benefit of the doubt in every situation, reasonable or otherwise.

    “If he’d managed by accident or design to hit the cop with the taser then he could have upgraded his taser to a gun.”

    People keeping saying that as a possibility. In all seriousness has that ever happened? Has it ever happened anywhere where a fleeing suspect has shot a police officer with a taser, and stolen his gun?

  19. If he’d managed by accident or design to hit the cop with the taser then he could have upgraded his taser to a gun

    I don’t think he could have Frank. There’s a second armed cop in close pursuit too. If the first cop had fallen and Brooks wanted his pistol he simply would have had the time to get it.

  20. Frank

    Yes I know we are all being armchair critics here and its a tragic heat of the moment situation that its easy to criticize, but that is what professional police are supposed to do, not overreact. If there had been the one cop there having the tazer fired at him, that would have been a more threatening situation and in his immediate defence he could have justifed returning with live fire, but I still maintain the second cop did not have to make that decision at that moment. Its not the worst abuse of police power, its not murder, and I don’t think any degree of murder charge would really be appropriate , but it wasn’t an entirely justifiable use of lethal force either.

  21. *wouldn’t have had the time.

  22. And some give them the benefit of the doubt in every situation, reasonable or otherwise.

    Oh they do…

    ‘You’re gonna kill me!’: Dallas police body cam footage reveals the final minutes of Tony Timpa’s life
    Timpa wailed and pleaded for help more than 30 times as officers pinned his shoulders, knees and neck to the ground in 2016.

    https://www.dallasnews.com/news/investigations/2019/07/31/you-re-gonna-kill-me-dallas-police-body-cam-footage-reveals-the-final-minutes-of-tony-timpa-s-life/

    White lives matter too..

    All skin colour is equal

    All cultures…are not.

  23. Seamus,

    “People keeping saying that as a possibility. In all seriousness has that ever happened? Has it ever happened anywhere where a fleeing suspect has shot a police officer with a taser, and stolen his gun?”

    I believe it’s happened before that suspects got hold of the cops gun somehow. Here we see that he had got hold of the cop’s taser. Who saw that coming?

    The situation can change in split seconds.

  24. There have been police who’ve had their tasters or guns turned on them. That is why this case is less damming than the Floyd case. I think it is a much closer call than most critics of this police officer’s actions will acknowledge. Which is why I wouldn’t think criminal charges would stick.

  25. “I believe it’s happened before that suspects got hold of the cops gun somehow. Here we see that he had got hold of the cop’s taser. Who saw that coming?”

    Well there was a struggle and the cop had unholstered the taser. I think him being able to steal the taser in a fight on the ground is a different situation than him fleeing, shooting someone with the taser, stop fleeing, turn around, get to the cop before the cop’s partner did, and steal the gun.

    And that is why I’m asking has it ever happened before were a suspect has tased a police officer and stolen their gun?

    “The situation can change in split seconds.”

    Which can be true of any situation. That’s almost a license to kill.

    If the situation changes and Brooks becomes life threatening then that is a different situation. But the situation has to change first.

  26. The killing of Rashyard Brooks should never have happened.

    But why did a white girl burn down Wendy’s?

    Even the black people videoing it live, couldn’t quite believe it.

    So why?

  27. Stealing an officer’s gun in the process of an arrest happens, including incidents involving female police officers.

    It’s one reason that police can’t tolerate any nonsense.

  28. “Stealing an officer’s gun in the process of an arrest happens, including incidents involving female police officers.”

    And if he had stolen a gun that would be a different situation.

    Has it ever occured where a suspect has stolen a police officer’s taser, used that taser on them, and then stolen their gun?

  29. It would be fair to say Brooks changed the dynamics of the situation. Had he complied he would be alive today.

  30. With the proximity of the second armed cop, Brooks falling the first cop, turning around to get to him and unholstering his weapong before being shot dead by the other cope is, IMO, impossible.

  31. Seamus,

    “Has it ever occured where a suspect has stolen a police officer’s taser, used that taser on them, and then stolen their gun?”

    Given that people have relieved cops of their weapons while being a. completely unarmed and b. restrained, it stands to reason that they have a pretty good chance of doing so while unrestrained and in possession of a taser.

  32. “It would be fair to say Brooks changed the dynamics of the situation. Had he complied he would be alive today.”

    Absolutely. But there are also several outcomes where Brooks doesn’t comply with the police and he still is alive. There were several failings, including on the part of Brooks. But given that he can’t be held accountable for his failings (because he’s dead) doesn’t mean we can’t hold other people accountable for their failings.

    “Given that people have relieved cops of their weapons while being a. completely unarmed and b. restrained, it stands to reason that they have a pretty good chance of doing so while unrestrained and in possession of a taser.”

    You’d think that but that is why I am asking has it ever happened? Because if it is as likely (or as reasonable) an outcome then it has bound to have happened before. And if it hasn’t happened before then is it a reasonable outcome?

  33. Suspects have turned cops tasers on them. I don’t know if there is a situation where they have turned a taser and then a gun on the cop. I don’t think the police should be prohibited from using lethal force on a suspect with a taser advancing upon them, or even holding them off. The distinction here is he was in flight.

  34. Seamus,

    “You’d think that but that is why I am asking has it ever happened? Because if it is as likely (or as reasonable) an outcome then it has bound to have happened before”

    No, that doesn’t follow. Any two relatively rare events are vanishingly unlikely to happen together or one after the other. But when one of them *has already happened*, it’s a different matter.

  35. Mahons,

    “The distinction here is he was in flight.”

    Exactly. I first saw the video yesterday and at first it seemed to me the cops actions were completely unreasonable. It was only when looking at it today that it seemed that Rayshard Brooks was much closer when he fired the taser and it could have turned out very differently. I think it’s not really clear cut either way.

    I’m also not sure who if anybody got tased here and I think if somebody was then that could factor into it (ie if either Brooks or the cop got tased then they wouldn’t be thinking clearly and it would help to understand their actions).

  36. It was only when looking at it today that it seemed that Rayshard Brooks was much closer when he fired the taser and it could have turned out very differently

    I think the close proximity of the second armed officer would have made that impossible Frank.

  37. Paul,

    The second cop doesn’t look that close to me and he might have been reluctant to fire if the other pair were even a little closer together, which could have happened very fast. I’m not surprised that people would come to other conclusions on it though, based on just looking at the video I think it is hard to say. I’m not quite sure of the distances involved nor the range of the taser and so on.

  38. Frank, in the vid at around 3.46 when Brooks fires the tazer it takes the other cop less than a second to come into the frame. From the vid I’d put the distance between the first and second cop at a maximum of ten feet.

    I don’t think that it would have been possible for Brooks to fire the tazer accurately, down the first cop, stop running and turn around, run towards the downed cop and unholster his weapon before the second cop would have shot him.