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Old 12 July 2019, 16:05
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Knife wielding suspects

We had an interesting discussion during my MMA class recently involving knife wielding individuals... I wanted to get some other thoughts on the subject. I debated on putting this in the H2H section, but wanted responses from other LEOs and people who routinely carry a firearm, and are also H2H practitioners, lawyers...

When do you consider a knife wielding nutjob (or criminal) neutralized and stop use of force?

I've received quite a bit of H2H training, both in the military and as a LEO, and finally as a retired old fart. The training, of course, varies quite a bit. From the military combat training of "take the knife and bury it in his throat" (which due to extensive training I usually revert to), to the other end of the spectrum "disarm the attacker, retreat, and it's over"... We also do a lot of Krav in our training, some of which involves using the knife as a weapon while the attacker is still holding it, against them. (One involves twisting the wrist so the knife is pointed at their rib cage and thrusting it into them...)

The points I consider in my thoughts are:
1. If someone is attacking you with a knife, they are either mentally deranged and/or too poor to afford a gun.
2. I never consider a threat over until the subject is disarmed, completely subdued, and in cuffs, or deceased.
3. Nuts who are attacking people with knives rarely stop attacking when the knife is removed from them. I don't play "keep away" with the knife.
4. Applying logic or common sense is usually not a good idea when fighting with a nut, or fighting in court.
5. Use of force laws, and stand your ground laws in PA particularly, as well as immunity in civil litigation laws.
6. I've seen many situations where someone with a knife (or gun) was disarmed, and sometimes shot, but they continue the attack and cause more harm and damage because the person that disarmed them stopped use of force after the disarm.
7. Duration of time between removing the knife from them, and using it as a weapon to either subdue them or "end the threat".
8. Proportionality in response to a threat. Do you meet hand to hand, knife to knife, gun to gun... We all know the old "Sorry you brought a knife to a gunfight" adage...

This thread is not in the humor section and is open to anyone who has either legal or H2H or LEO experience in the matter.

Thanks all.
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Old 12 July 2019, 18:05
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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Brother,
The “right answer” is to ask your prosecuting attorney. The slightest variation in the facts can lead to an opposite conclusion under the law.
Even so, I’ll give it a go for purposes of discusion but it’s getting harder every day to find the right answer…..Probable answer: When the knife wielder is no longer an immediate threat.
When the armed aggressor is out of the fight, incapacitated, or disarmed the threat has stopped. If in the scenario you are in H2H and the knife has fallen and he’s trying to get to it, he’s still threatening you with deadly force and you can respond in accordance with your state’s self-defense laws. In trying to reacquire the knife it is reasonable to conclude that he intends to kill you.

How that immediate threat ends likely is a matter of each state’s self defense law. If the state is a “no avenue of retreat” /”back against the wall” jurisdiction it probably gets down to the Monty Python’s “run away” line – if at all possible. If not possible, I would be reluctant to empty a magazine into him not because it would be illegal, but the whole society thing about guns and why do you have to carry one? . OTOH – if I was unarmed and for instance in close and getting cut, I would feel comfortable with throat punching him until his adam’s apple rested against his cervical spine.
Hopefully somebody has filmed him on the phone and he’s recorded saying “I’ll kill you M.F.” in which case the knife, plus his stated intent, puts you firmly into self defense territory and not being seen as trying to bait him into getting himself hurt.
Even in “stand your ground” states, the the fact pattern may result in 12 people too dumb to get out of jury duty deciding your fate. Basic self-defense law should allow for the use of deadly force during the actual attack but each state has its own nuances. But it’s a patchwork, for instance Florida defines “forcible felony” to include treason http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...s/0776.08.html Try that on your favorite ‘impeach him now’ politician in Florida and I doubt that it works?
I add that LEOs have no duty to retreat. If under the facts the use of deadly force is appropriate – they can shoot until the suspect is no longer a threat through surrender or incapacitation.
Plumhoff v Rickard, 572 U.S. 765 (2014)
https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremec...1117_OPINION_3
“if officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, they need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.”
Even for LEOs it is all tempered by the movement in many states to restrict the traditional Graham v Connor/Tenn v Gardner use of deadly force analysis.
Maybe others have a different take? Would love to hear other ideas.
fkl

Last edited by Fu King Lawyer; 12 July 2019 at 18:10. Reason: I should have put the LEO part at the top - bottom is individual self-defense
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Old 13 July 2019, 09:55
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Old 13 July 2019, 11:21
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Two recent vids on Active Self Protection's YouTube channel deal with LEO's using lethal force against knife wielding attackers.

In one, they shot him with the knife (after being backed up about a 1/4 mile) which he dropped, but was still in the fight - they switch to TASER (no more knife) but he gets a rear naked on one guy, so he gets shot again.

The second was on Apt balcony when the dude stabbed through the door, then busted out at two guys - they dropped him right there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCpd3-Ha-Lc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS3ogUzJ-dQ
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Old 13 July 2019, 21:24
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The Deputies here would tase them with something moving 1140 fps.
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Old 13 July 2019, 21:30
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Regardless of whatever scenario one would provide, personally, I know what constitutes lethal force and would have no problem spelling that out. It would behoove everyone to "know" their lethal force laws and no what it requires. That pretty much covers all "knife" scenarios and how I would react to one.
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Old 14 July 2019, 07:38
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Originally Posted by Massgrunt View Post
It's like pornography, I know it when I see it.
Yeah, this.
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Old 14 July 2019, 08:31
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Originally Posted by Mars View Post
Regardless of whatever scenario one would provide, personally, I know what constitutes lethal force and would have no problem spelling that out. It would behoove everyone to "know" their lethal force laws and no what it requires. That pretty much covers all "knife" scenarios and how I would react to one.
We see a lot of people who "know" their use of force laws, like in the video link above...

My personal thoughts on this are...

Someone threatening you or others with a knife is obviously mentally unbalanced. Telling them 500 times to "Drop the knife" while backing up through a populated neighborhood is not an option for me. If they are over 150' away, I might tell them once to drop the knife. Comply, fine. Don't comply, that's when the one sided gunfight starts.

To all the officers out there... go check out the body cam videos and tests done to determine for yourself the number of times crazies and drugged up people have continued the attack, after being shot multiple times. Then try to determine the "safe" distance to try to talk one of these nutjobs out of stabbing you or someone else to death. My personal recommendation is, never try to negotiate with someone who is wielding a knife threatening you or others. Tasers are nice, but how many guys would meet a knife with a baton or a can of mace? Tasers are great, when they work. Too many times, they don't. Don't bet your life, or the lives of others on a taser.

As far as my answer to the original post goes... The threat is not over just because the knife or gun is removed.
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"....As far as "rights" are concerned... I look at them this way. I don't tell you what church to go to, and you don't tell me what kind of firearm I can own." GROG

If gun control laws controlled crime, we wouldn't need cops.
Quote:
Finally, I believe that punishing lawful gun owners by creating new, more onerous laws, and restricting Constitutionally guaranteed rights, when we already don't enforce the tens of thousands of gun laws we have on the books, is like beating your dog because the neighbor's dog shit in your yard.
"The Reaper"
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Old 14 July 2019, 08:37
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Knives/cutting instruments are scary things. IMHO if I can see the knife I'm way ahead of the game. I always was concerned about the person who knew how to use the knife. You never knew it was coming, never saw it, never felt it until you realized you were cut long, deep and continuous.
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Old 14 July 2019, 08:59
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Originally Posted by grog18b View Post
We see a lot of people who "know" their use of force laws, like in the video link above...

My personal thoughts on this are...

Someone threatening you or others with a knife is obviously mentally unbalanced. Telling them 500 times to "Drop the knife" while backing up through a populated neighborhood is not an option for me. If they are over 150' away, I might tell them once to drop the knife. Comply, fine. Don't comply, that's when the one sided gunfight starts.

To all the officers out there... go check out the body cam videos and tests done to determine for yourself the number of times crazies and drugged up people have continued the attack, after being shot multiple times. Then try to determine the "safe" distance to try to talk one of these nutjobs out of stabbing you or someone else to death. My personal recommendation is, never try to negotiate with someone who is wielding a knife threatening you or others. Tasers are nice, but how many guys would meet a knife with a baton or a can of mace? Tasers are great, when they work. Too many times, they don't. Don't bet your life, or the lives of others on a taser.

As far as my answer to the original post goes... The threat is not over just because the knife or gun is removed.
We certainly agree. The knife is the tool and the tool (thug) is the threat. I know of a subject that took two .357 rounds to the chest within five feet and one to the side of the head and continued to stab the officer which resulted in his death. He was a zombie. I worked a case right before I retired where the knife wielder was able to "fall" forward 13 feet with the knife after being shot twice. While "falling", he missed the officer by less than a foot in distance from stabbing him.

The issue is that people give knife holders too much grace because they don't see it as a "projectile" weapon. They give too many chances and allow the bad guy to get way too close. Often times because they feel it's an "unfair" advantage. Yeah...I know it sounds weird, but those thoughts go through people's minds.

As to me, I can explain why I dropped a guy 50 feet from me with a knife and have no problem in doing so, many - if not most - don't have that ability or more importantly, that mindset.
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Old 14 July 2019, 09:48
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True. A lot is in the ability to actually articulate why you did what you did, and these days, there are plenty of examples out there that people who have no clue or idea (ie juries) can watch and see the results of inaction.

The person who actually knows how to use a knife, IMO, is just like the person who really knows how to use a firearm. Fortunately for most of us, the people who actually use these in crimes, or nuts, are only acquainted with the Hollywood or video game versions of what these weapons do or how they work and have and do little training to become proficient with their use.
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If gun control laws controlled crime, we wouldn't need cops.
Quote:
Finally, I believe that punishing lawful gun owners by creating new, more onerous laws, and restricting Constitutionally guaranteed rights, when we already don't enforce the tens of thousands of gun laws we have on the books, is like beating your dog because the neighbor's dog shit in your yard.
"The Reaper"
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Old 14 July 2019, 11:07
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I'd say in the more city/urban areas the odds would be for officers to use a tazer first (depending of course on the true situation)...in the country or more remote areas of a given state (think Appalachia). Sad singing and slow walking...
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Old 14 July 2019, 11:41
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Perhaps I should have defined what I meant by how to use a knife. While there may be some who studied the various blades in marital arts, I’m thinking the arts of Indonesia, my comments were to the knowledge that is possessed by the criminal element who have practiced various techniques and have actually used them on the street. I have talked with many from the criminal world about this topic and disarming techniques against LE. It is no secret that these techniques are practiced in prisons around the world. I do agree with the assessment that most folks we would encounter have no clue about what they are doing but I would still rather see the blade than not.
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Old 14 July 2019, 12:48
Dino0311 Dino0311 is offline
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I'd say in the more city/urban areas the odds would be for officers to use a tazer first (depending of course on the true situation)...in the country or more remote areas of a given state (think Appalachia). Sad singing and slow walking...
Nobody should ever bring a Taser to a knife fight. The failure rate is very high. If you have lethal cover and the opportunity than a Taser may be appropriate. I've had a newer officer tase a guy brandishing a knife, but there were two of us covering him with pistols and he was standing still holding the knife up.

Regarding backing up, I think backing away from a threat, particularly in a straight line, is generally stupid and asking to either trip or be off balance when they rush you.
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Old 15 July 2019, 09:44
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Nobody should ever bring a Taser to a knife fight. The failure rate is very high. If you have lethal cover and the opportunity than a Taser may be appropriate. I've had a newer officer tase a guy brandishing a knife, but there were two of us covering him with pistols and he was standing still holding the knife up.

Regarding backing up, I think backing away from a threat, particularly in a straight line, is generally stupid and asking to either trip or be off balance when they rush you.
I concur 100%...but in today's media controlled climate--"Why did they have to shoot him when the officers could've used a taser?"

The second guessing will always put a police officers life in more danger than it already is. I grew up in a different time, back during the dinosaur era...a time when you either did what the officer told you, or you got smacked upside your fucking head with a club...then put in cuffs and further charged with resisting arrest--which got you a few weeks of weed eating and mowing the local roads--a process which they still do around here with men on horseback, armed with shotguns.
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Old 15 July 2019, 10:56
Mars Mars is offline
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Originally Posted by Mingo Kane View Post
...The second guessing will always put a police officers life in more danger than it already is.
That's the problem. If a LEO allows the "media" to dictate his actions...he needs to leave and do something else. Not one action I took - lethal or otherwise - was based on how it would be perceived by anyone, much less the media. Afterwards, maybe a jury, but never the media.
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Old 15 July 2019, 11:28
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Originally Posted by Mars View Post
That's the problem. If a LEO allows the "media" to dictate his actions...he needs to leave and do something else. Not one action I took - lethal or otherwise - was based on how it would be perceived by anyone, much less the media. Afterwards, maybe a jury, but never the media.
Amen.

We are in the days that are doing just that...

I never did anything that I would not have wanted on video. Including how I spoke to people. That's why I can't see why some LEOs get upset with people shooting videos. As far as I am concerned, the more video, the better. Just don't get in my way, or interfere with my arrests. Shove a camera in my face, and you'll get a free colonoscopy with it. Stay back, and record all you want.
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If gun control laws controlled crime, we wouldn't need cops.
Quote:
Finally, I believe that punishing lawful gun owners by creating new, more onerous laws, and restricting Constitutionally guaranteed rights, when we already don't enforce the tens of thousands of gun laws we have on the books, is like beating your dog because the neighbor's dog shit in your yard.
"The Reaper"
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Old 15 July 2019, 12:37
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As far as I am concerned, the more video, the better.
These Axon cams are doing a lot of good for LE as far as I'm concerned. Have they modified behavior? Maybe, who knows - but I know I personally will give a little more latitude after having watched a 100 or so of them at this point. I bet LE hated them - funny how they may be the best thing to happen to LE from a PR standpoint. They're also hella good training tools for everyone
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Old 15 July 2019, 13:03
Dino0311 Dino0311 is offline
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I concur 100%...but in today's media controlled climate--"Why did they have to shoot him when the officers could've used a taser?"
That is a definite possibility but very easily addressed in court.

Poly, body cameras have been a tremendous boon to law enforcement and the whole push to force them on everybody seriously backfired on the anti-cop crowd who were pushing them. The law of unintended consequences is in full effect. I have a couple reasons for not liking them but on the whole cams have been a great innovation.
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Old 15 July 2019, 13:14
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Good points on the cameras...I didn't look at it from that professional perspective.
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