Alright, let’s talk about this video, but before we do that, let’s go over a few things. Traffic stops are by far the most dangerous daily activities that an officer performs. If you’re an officer, you have no idea of who you’re stopping. This could be a person wanted by the U.S. Marshal’s or this could be a person that just committed a crime. You don’t know but they think you know or eventually will find out and that’s why you’re stopping them. If they have a weapon and they’re desperate enough, they’ll use it.
What you can’t see can kill you—hands, tinted windows, etc. Sitting in a car limits your mobility. This is why officers ask that you stay in the car. It keeps them safe and it keeps you safe and prevents flight on foot. If any of you have been stopped by an Alabama State Trooper, you may have been patted down for weapons and placed in the passenger seat next to him. Sitting next to him, he doesn’t have to look up from his ticket book every three letters he writes to see if you’re reaching under the seat or trying to exit the car.
Now let’s analyze the video. An Oregon State Trooper stops a car for speeding. In just the first few seconds of the video, the suspect stops and exits the car before the trooper can get his car I’m park. He assumes a boxed or shooter’s stance and conceals his hands. What you can’t see outside of the view of the camera is that when the trooper exits his vehicle, he has the suspect at gunpoint and is giving him verbal commands to get back in his vehicle. The suspect refuses the commands and closes the door to his vehicle. Closing the door suggests that he has no intention of getting in his vehicle, and because he closed the door with his shoulder rather than his hand further suggests that he is concealing something. Despite the trooper’s commands and being at gunpoint, the suspect starts to advance, closing the distance between them. Some would argue at this point that the trooper would be within the scope of the law to let the killer bees fly. I would have to agree. Although a weapon has not been presented, you do not sign a death pact every time you begin your tour of duty. You don’t know what he has in his hands or his intentions. All you do know is that you’ve got this guy at gunpoint, his hands are concealed, he’s ignoring everything you’re telling him, and he’s advancing on you. Eventually, the suspect produces a gun, but the trooper gets the first shot off because he’s already up on target. A short lived gun battle begins and the suspect flees the scene. The aftermath of what you can’t see in the video is that I’ve been told that the suspect had no jail record and had never received a ticket. I’ve been told that he also had his little girl in the backseat. So why did he wig out? No one knows, but it does put to bed that only ex-cons and those who stay in trouble with the law assault law enforcement officers. Also, you can’t tell, but the trooper actually shot this guy despite him running to his car and fleeing the scene. He later bled out and died a few miles down the road. This dispels the Hollywood notion that people get shot one time, wince and keel over dead. The next time the news reports that the suspect was shot “X” number of times, remember this video. You shoot until the threat is neutralized. The suspect was also trained. Despite being shot, he had the presence of mind to drop his magazine, reload, and scan for threats before making his escape.