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  1. #1
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    Default ONE FOR THE FLOWCHART - LE PERSPECTIVE

    This one will take the reader some time and some thinking. Please read the excerpt, then process it through the flowchart. Once you have your conclusion, please read the attached article from PoliceOne. Then comment. Please follow the steps so we can have an intelligent discussion about the topic.

    On 8/30/13 at 7:30 pm, the wife of Jaime Ceballos called 911 and reported that her husband was in their driveway with two baseball bats and “acting crazy.” She expressed fear and stated she was with her 17-month-old daughter. She stated that Ceballos was drunk, probably on drugs and that two of his friends were with him.


    The Thornton (Colorado) police dispatcher informed responding officers that Ceballos was armed with one or more bats, drunk and “is known to have knives.” Dispatch also stated that he was a “walkaway” from a nearby medical center the previous night.

    Dispatch sent written information to responders indicating that Ceballos threatened his wife with a knife several months earlier and was not taking his anti-depression medication. However, Officer Husk, the lead officer on the scene, did not read the written communication.


    Husk and Officer Ward parked several houses away from the Ceballos driveway and spoke to the wife who was with her daughter, a safe distance away from the Ceballos home. Both officers began walking toward Ceballos. During their approach, they were met by Ceballos’ two male friends who told them that Ceballos was not acting right and might be on drugs. Meanwhile two other officers arrived. One of them parked behind Husk and Ward and the other (Officer Snook) parked in the opposite direction from the approaching officers. Snook recognized Ceballos from the “walkaway” incident of the previous night and thought that he “didn’t seem right.” He returned to his vehicle and grabbed his beanbag shotgun.


    Husk and Ward reached a distance of about 100 yards from Ceballos. He was pacing in his driveway, swinging a bat, yelling and throwing his arms in the air. No one else was nearby or in apparent danger.


    Both officers shouted repeated commands for Ceballos to drop the bat. He ignored them and walked inside his garage. Husk drew his firearm and Ward drew his
    TASER. Ceballos emerged from the garage still carrying the bat and walked toward Husk and Ward. He refused to honor their commands and responded with foul language. Husk told him to stop and drop the bat or he would be shot. [1] Officer Husk fired his pistol and Ward fired the TASER at Ceballos. Ceballos was killed. The District Court opinion indicates that Husk stated Ceballos was 15 to 20 feet away when he shot him.

    ARTICLE FROM POLICE ONE

    OK...lets discuss
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Based on just the excerpt, seems like a valid shoot.

    Why the heck are the cops expected to give up ground, when they are employed to deal with the problem?

  3. #3
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    1. The tenth circuit is pretty liberal. They aren’t as bad as the ninth but maybe they have aspirations...
    2. I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t get overturned on appeal.
    3. While I think he will ultimately be acquitted, I do think the officer who shot should have initially tried (or instructed others to try) less lethal based on the totality of circumstances. That bean bag round should have been used when he began walking towards the officers after exiting the garage.
    4. A few well placed comments when they were 100 yards out watching him such as “Are you okay?” or “We want to help you!” would have been much better for overall optics in today’s world as well.

    ETA: It would have read much better for them if they could have said we offered to help, tried to deescalate, tried less lethal, etc. but we’re forced to shoot to protect ourselves.
    Last edited by Badger; 07-26-2019 at 04:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    When taken at “face value” and passed through the Flowchart of Deadly Force, the shooting would appear to be JUSTIFIED.

    AT THE MOMENT that deadly force was employed:
    1. There was the Possibility of Serious Injury or Death to the Officer (Unstable, menacing, bat-wielding suspect with 10-15 feet)
    2. The Officer was Not committing a Crime
    3. The Officer was the focus of the violence.

    However, according to the article, there have been recent Court rulings in the 9th and 10th which add in another dimension to the assessment of Justification of Deadly Force:

    “ The reasonableness of [an officer’s] actions depends both on whether the officers were in danger at the precise moment that they used force and on whether [their] own reckless or deliberate conduct … unreasonably created the need to use such force.” In addition: The court will consider an “officers conduct prior to the suspect’s threat of force if the conduct is ‘immediately connected’ to the suspect’s threat of force.”

    As I noted in a post back in February, I find the Flow Chart of Deadly Force to be lacking where it simply lists “Are you committing a crime”. I commented that this should be more expansive and address whether you are “Innocent with Respect to the Deadly Event”. More specifically, if you have contributed to or escalated the situation, then you may have some culpability, and may lose your justification.

    In the cases mentioned in the article, the Police are essentially being judged to have possibly escalated a Non-Deadly situation into a Deadly situation. While I may not agree with that assessment based upon the facts of each case, this is the crux of the matter. A Flow Chart that starts at the moment there is a “Deadly Event occurring”, without regard for what brought you to that moment, fails this type of scrutiny by the courts.

    Another very important theme that is mentioned is the TIMING of the use of deadly force with respect to the arrival on scene. In this case, the suspect was shot and killed within one minute after arrival of the officer. In the 10th circuit case mentioned, the suspect was shot within 90 seconds after the officers arrival.

    I believe that it is the combination of an initially Non-lethal situation turning Lethal based upon an escalation of actions by the LEO immediately upon encountering the suspect - that lends itself to claims of “recklessness”. The take-home message may be that if the situation is Non-lethal upon arrival, then attempts at de-escalation rather than immediate, forceful confrontation may be necessary to avoid exposure and liability. At the very least, if the situation is Non-lethal upon arrival, consider taking more time to address the situation.
    Last edited by LV_MD; 07-26-2019 at 05:32 PM. Reason: added last line.

  5. #5
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    I am going to disagree on justification. I will explain why shortly. And no...I am not anti-police.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  6. #6
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    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  7. #7
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    We used to have other - more experienced LE post now and again - perhaps we will get lucky and they will add their perspective. Here is mine. I like the idea of bad guys getting shot. But that is not the primary job of LE. Sometimes looking at some of us you would wonder, but its not.

    By the same token, LE cannot just get back in their units, say "Fuck it" and drive away. Once they have boots on pavement, they own that event and must bring it conclusion, or until a superior tells them to "fuck it"...thereby taking that "little ball of shit" from them and taking it upon himself.

    The officers had in essence contained the crazy guy. He wasn't going anywhere. And most important, he was not in a position to hurt anyone else.

    At the point that the suspect began moving toward the officers, they were the focus of the violence...BUT...its not the same for them as for you. Here is why. It was not one lone officer (or CCW guy), there were a number of officers present. Moreover, once the less than lethal was in play, Tasers and Bean bag guns, preclusion is gone until those assets have been expended unsuccessfully. Then we have a situation where the officers cannot allow the man to leave, nor can they allow him to injure them. They attempted less lethal options but they failed, leaving no other option but to shoot.

    Lacking the additional officers and lacking less lethal options, it is a justified shoot immediately. That is the big difference and why we are discussing this. There are Grey Areas. Perhaps we need a second "IS ESCAPE/DEESCALATION POSSIBLE AND MORAL" bubble in the flowchart. Although, it is only a grey area when there are other options, which these officers brought to the table with them.

    Agree? Disagree?

    Sgt. Sam Spade?

    Officers Papa, Miller, Pappas, Payne?
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  8. #8
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    Did not read your analysis first. Here's my take.

    Three other LEOs and I arrive on scene. We have less lethal--bean bag and individual Tasers, and impact weapons of our own. We know from previous contact that the subject is 10-98. We know that no one is in immediate danger. We are not the focus of any violent action until we voluntarily close with the subject.

    He does not have a projectile weapon.

    We don't deploy the bean bag. We don't use our vehicles as shelter or moving barriers. Instead we close on foot to a range where the subject can readily initiate the action, and does. The taser is not deployed first, but simultaneously with lethal force.

    Was de-escalation possible? Yes. Was it desireable in this instance? Yes. Were there alternative means to insure compliance, if properly employed? Yes.

    I think it's a bad shoot. More to the point, the jury gets to decide.

    And before we go into how dangerous a baseball bat can be, understand that I have closed distance rapidly and employed similar weapons, and have hard objects bounced off my skull, too. I get it.
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  9. #9
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    I agree with Gabe's take. They had not used all the options they had and I don't think they had reached the last resort. BUT then again I was not there and did not see or feel what they did.
    I rather you hated me for who I am than love me for who I ain't!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Suarez View Post
    I am going to disagree on justification. I will explain why shortly. And no...I am not anti-police.
    Gabe, I agree, I do NOT think it is justified. I think the Flow Chart shows it as Justified.

    I believe that the fact that the situation was rapidly escalated from Non-Lethal to Lethal by the LEO within 1 minute of arriving on scene makes it a problematic shooting.

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