You are a member of the police force, responsible for the safety and security of your people. Along with three other policemen, you are sent on a mission to arrest someone who is suspected of illegally throwing a stun grenade, to kill or harm innocent people.
|The knife-wielding terrorist attacking the Police car|
As you pull up to the home of the suspect, a relative of his comes out, and runs up to your police car, wielding a knife in his hand, with murder in his eyes. He appears to be afraid of nothing, he starts to stab at the windows of the police car, to no avail – but keeps on going, anyway.
Seated in the back, you quickly open the back door and fire a warning shot into the air*, to scare him off – and then shut the door immediately. What would a normal reaction be to that? Either to run away, or to put down the knife and surrender. But instead, the attacker backs off a little, but continues to wield his knife, with murder written all over his face! No sign of remorse, or surrender, or fear of reprisal can be seen…
(*Note: on the video, the rear right door of the police car opens, and the terrorists slams it shut. It was not clear if the policeman shot in the air at that time, or was trying to get out to apprehend the terrorist).
Seeing this, what would you do? Remember, you are in a police car under attack, with three other policemen, trying to make an arrest, in an Arab town in Israel.
If you said, “I would step out of the police car and shoot at the attacker” – well, this is exactly what happened this past weekend at Kafr Kanna, an Arab village near Nazareth in the Galilee of Israel. The terrorist-maniac with the knife was seriously injured, and died shortly thereafter from his wounds.
To put ANY blame on the police officer for his actions, is nothing short of insanity. But of course, the Arabs (and most of the mainstream media) have done just that.
Apparently, the only videos available online of this event were taken by Arabs and the Arab media, so I would not be surprised if they were edited. But in any case, from the following video one can see that the suspect tried to open the door of the police car to stab the policemen inside; and although his being shot left him seriously injured, was not yet dead.
Furthermore, please note the following:
1. Police may not retreat from an armed attacker during the course of an arrest.
2. Police may use deadly force against an armed attacker, while the attack is ongoing. An attack is ongoing as long as the attacker remained armed and has not thrown his hands up in the air in surrender.
3. Police may use deadly force to arrest a fleeing felon (and Khir Hamdan was by no means fleeing!) if said felon is (a) armed and (b) poses serious danger of great bodily harm or death to the police or others. An armed individual who has just attacked police poses a grave threat to the police and others as long as he does not drop the weapon and throw his hands up in the air.
See also the case of Tennessee v. Garner (471 U.S. 1,105 S. Ct. 1694, 85 L. Ed. 2d 1,1985 U.S.)
Finally, another example from the US:
When an armed citizen is attacking a police officer — even if he's armed with a knife, not a gun — there's a broad consensus among police chiefs and departments: the officer is allowed to use deadly force. Almost all agencies covered in the 2012 survey put lethal force on its own level in the continuum — as the sole appropriate response when an officer's life might be in danger.
…several police and experts went out of their way to explain to me why deadly force is necessary when a suspect has a knife. "One of the biggest areas of misunderstanding that the public has is how quickly individuals with weapons can advance on an officer, and how deadly the results can be," says Magnus, the chief of the Richmond (CA) Police Department. That makes it extremely risky, he says, for officers to use a Taser on a suspect who's charging them with a knife. David Klinger, a University of Missouri-St. Louis professor who studies use of force, says he would use a Taser on someone who was armed with a blunt instrument, but, "I personally would never try to disarm someone with a knife."
Just because a citizen is armed doesn't mean he's attacking, so whether police are allowed to shoot a knife-wielding suspect depends on whether he's coming at the officer or not (or whether the officer reasonably feels threatened — which can get subjective). But there's no debate among police that killing a suspect is an appropriate response to a knife attack — another reflection of how much distance there is between what the public sees as reasonable force and what police believe.
"Shooting to incapacitate" is a myth
In principle, when a cop fires a gun at a citizen, it's so the officer can neutralize the threat — he's not shooting to kill, per se. But in the two seconds that a cop actually has to make a decision, the most certain way for him to neutralize a threat is to aim for "center mass" on the civilian's body, which is likely to be a lethal shot.
Cops in Richmond, California, have to go through firearms training once a month. But Chief Magnus says that even with that much training, the conditions an officer faces — everything from the stress of a confrontation, to the weather and the lighting — make it impractical for an officer to aim a shot somewhere other than the center of the body. "The notion that it's possible to shoot somebody just to the level that they're debilitated — to shoot a gun out of somebody's hand, to shoot them in the leg — that is the stuff of TV and movies. That's wildly unrealistic."