Unarmed Man is Killed While Fleeing Police

    Law Enforcement Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Illinois and involves an elderly male who was shot by police during an altercation in a public park in Boston, Massachusetts. The man was reportedly loitering on a bench in the park during the early evening. A number of officers responded to citizens’ reports that the man was reportedly harassing passing bicyclists and joggers. Upon being confronted by the officers, the man apparently became argumentative, and refused to move from his spot on the bench. Over the course of several minutes, the officers attempted to reason with the man, however they eventually resorted to spraying him with pepper spray. After he was sprayed, there was evidence to suggest that the man was restrained by the police, however he was not placed in handcuffs. At some point, the man was able to escape from the arresting officers, and he began to run in the direction of a wooded area. While the man was running away from the arresting officers, one of them drew and discharged his weapon/ used the force, striking the man several times in the back. There was no weapon found on the victim.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. How do you determine when it is necessary to use a firearm or deadly force on a potential suspect?
    • 2. What is the standard protocol when confronting and potentially apprehending a potential suspect?

    Expert Witness Response E-008149

    I am a patrol sergeant with 31 years of experience. In addition to serving as my agency’s use of force instructor and lead defensive tactics instructor, I am also a state certified use of force, firearms and patrol rifle instructor. I am an instructor in defensive tactics for the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy and teach a Use of Force Instructor certification class for the continuing education division for the academy. I also provide instruction for the North East Multi Regional Training MTU #3 in PPCT Defensive Tactics Instructor and Spontaneous Knife Defense Instructor and Field Training and Evaluation Program. I am the Instructor Development Section Editor for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) quarterly Journal and an annual conference presenter. I am also a Guest Lecturer for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) providing instruction in Use of Force and Field Training. It seems very odd that the subject was not handcuffed when subdued multiple times. I do not understand why there was no attempt by three officers to again subdue the individual prior to the use of deadly force. The controlling court cases are both US Supreme Court decisions of the 1980’s, Graham v. Connor and Tennessee v. Garner. Under Graham v. Connor, the force must be objectively reasonable.

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