All police have some kind of training and education related to when they are permitted to deploy their firearms or use other extreme measures to diffuse a situation. However, when these actions are reviewed, many departments usually defer to the officer’s judgment in the moment, even if much less violent means of diffusing a situation were available.
An altercation in La Mesa in San Diego County resulted in a man with possible mental health issues being shot multiple times by the police.
Suspect shot multiple times in La Mesa Home
The local police responded to a home on Rainey Street as part of an ongoing homicide investigation. Inside, they encountered a 36 year old man who was allegedly armed with a knife. At some point during the next minutes, some kind of a confrontation began. An officer ended up firing three shots at the man, hitting him in the hand and shoulder.
The suspect was taken to the hospital in stable condition and no other injuries were reported at the scene. A woman who resides at the home told police that her brother who also lives there has a history of mental health issues and routinely brings in others with similar psychological problems or those who are homeless. The exact relationship between the man who was shot and the residents of the home was unknown at the time of the report.
The police and those with mental health issues
Unfortunately, many interactions between the police and individuals with mental health problems end in unnecessary violence. However, the fact that someone faces additional psychological challenges does not change the relevant procedures for law enforcement. If a suspect poses no threat or a minimal threat of violence, extreme measures such as shooting the suspect are not a proper response.
Some departments have attempted to implement advanced negotiation and conflict resolution techniques to minimize the need for violence. These techniques do appear to be successful in reducing the escalation of physical confrontations, and many departments are changing their procedures regarding how to handle hostile situations.
What are use of force standards?
These are basic guidelines meant to train officers about when it is appropriate to use weapons or physical violence to subdue and detain suspects. Most police academies around the country require several hours of training regarding use of force as part of their curriculum for everyone attempting to become a police officer.
Because the techniques used to diffuse violent situations should be applied consistently regardless of the suspect, police are generally not allowed to use their weapons except in cases of clear danger to others nearby. While this suspect was allegedly holding a knife, the potential of lethal force from multiple gunshots can seem unreasonable given the circumstances. Officers also have tools such as pepper spray and tasers available that are non-lethal.
Speak with a lawyer after an incident of police violence
If you are interested in speaking to lawyer about police brutality and related issues in the San Diego area, contact Jeffrey E. Estes and Associates. They can help people who have sustained all kinds of injuries at the hands of law enforcement personnel.