Shoot or Don’t Shoot: The split-second decision

Police Officers never know when a confrontation will turn deadly

(CNN) – Police brutality has been a hot topic and a matter of controversy in the U.S. Activists say some officers are too quick to use deadly force.  Others point out that the demands of the job mean that police never know when a confrontation will turn deadly.

Tense moments at a gas station near Columbia South Carolina.  Sean Groubert, a highway patrol officer, has just pulled over a man.  When the man turned back inside his car to get his license, the officer fired, in an instant. The victim, 35 year old Levar Jones, survived. Officer Groubert was fired and charged with aggravated assault and battery.

In Billings, Montana, a police officer approaches four men, sitting inside their car.  Officer Grant Morrison appears to recognize one of them as a suspect from an earlier shooting; he tells him he’s making him nervous.

The man killed it turns out, was unarmed, but Officer Morrison said he feared for his life because the man kept dropping his left hand despite the officer’s warnings to keep his hands up. The shooting was ruled “justifiable homicide.”

In Arizona this video from Officer Tyler Stewart’s body camera captures the last moments of his life. On it, a casual conversation between the officer and a man suspected of domestic violence.

Officer Stewart doesn’t even have his gun drawn, but watch what happens when the officer asks to frisk the man. The video ends there just as the suspect pulled a .22 caliber revolver from his pocket, firing six shots at the officer.  Hit five times, the officer never had a chance.

The 24-year-old officer died at the hospital. The suspect, meanwhile, used the officer’s weapon to take his own life.

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