(December 05, 2014)
A Denver police officer accidentally fired his gun while trying to turn on a flashlight mounted on his weapon in March, the department's third flashlight-related discharge in two years, records show.Perhaps we're asking too much of Law Enforcement Officers to keep track of multiple levels of lethality when arresting accused felons.
I've posted this before, but it bears repeating: A Las Vegas Police Person, covering a suspect while her partner cuffs him, 'accidentally' (NEGLIGENTLY!) fires her Glock during the process.
This is what can happen when only a lethal firearm is available (from 2006)
And what if both systems are available?
What if the cop draws his Taser and shoots when he 'just makes a little mistake'.
But the classic example is the 2007 California incident when officer Noreiga in Madiera, California, drew his Taser on a handcuffed prisoner who was attempting to kick out the windows of the patrol car in which the prisoner had been secured. Noriega attempted to Taser the prisoner; instead, he shot his prisoner dead.
That's not Lon Noriuchi at Ruby Ridge: it's worse.
Horiuchi made a conscious decision to engage someone whom he considered a violent person during a direct engagement between the FBI Hostage Rescue Team ... and through poor judgement he shot a woman holding a baby. Bad, stupid, and he was one of the most highly trained snipers in the American judicial system.
But Noreiga had no intention to kill anyone. He was just inadequately trained, confusingly armed, and insufficiently experienced to judge whether (a) the prisoner's actions warranted being Tasered; (b) whether his attempt to stop the prisoner 'acting out' could perhaps be as well supported by non-weaponized means, and (c) whether the situation was so drastic that he couldn't stop for at least a few seconds to evaluate both his chosen response and the weapon he had drawn to effect that response.
Does that look like a pistol? An M9 (which one assumes the LEO used for his primary weapon)? Are the controls too similar for an officer in a high-drama moment to confuse one for the other?
Well .. apparently so.
The LEAST that could be done, would be for the safety switch to be 'differently mounted', so that the officer would have to (say) push a button on his Taser rather than flip a safety switch mounted in the same manner as his duty weapon.
What kind of training are these otherwise-responsible LEOs receiving on the use of the Taser v Pistol?