I am so grateful that this Good Samaritan had the courage to help this officer. Would you have stepped in or filmed on your phone?
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News story on the Officer and the Good Samaritan: https://get-asp.com/cw7d
Identities of the officer and suspect are in this LEO Affairs story: https://get-asp.com/uigi
Comprehensive news story on the Good Samaritan, officer, and suspect in the Washington Post: https://get-asp.com/63vt
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against an attacker and being a Good Samaritan?
- Part of your training must be knowing when to use verbal commands, and when to abandon verbal commands and move to physical or deadly force. Many times self-defenders (and LEO) get caught in a loop of issuing the same command repeatedly to no effect. Using verbal commands is an important part of your force options training, and part of that training in verbal commands is knowing when to talk and when to stop talking and act. The Good Samaritan gave the suspect a LOT of opportunities to comply here. Like more than he needed to.
- Private citizens must consider when and how to step in to help LEO who are struggling with a suspect. I think that it is a morally good thing to step in if possible, because ending the physical conflict helps the officer AND the suspect not to get hurt. (the suspect isn’t getting away…and if he does, he’s going to be in REAL danger when they catch up to him next) If you choose to step in to help an officer, please be sure to (1) announce yourself; (2) ask the officer if they want help (“Officer, do you need help? I can help you if you want me to!”); (3) communicate with the officer what you see and what you’re doing (“I have this arm,” “I have his legs pinned,” etc.); (4) if they want you help, GO AFTER IT rather than being timid. Stop the conflict, help the officer, and end the fight.
- Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. We don’t get to see what happened with this officer to get him to the ground, but being able to fight from a grounded position and protect yourself is a necessary skill for firearms users!
- As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it!
- Marksmanship in a real deadly force encounter might mean that you need to be ready to make a precision shot on a threat, and you must be prepared emotionally and skill-wise to do so. Shooting a threat in the face, a target the size of a 3×5 card, under stress is no small feat! To be able to stop a terrorist attack or hostage situation, though, it is a necessary skill and you should train and practice your marksmanship until it is second nature. A good standard is Dave Spaulding’s “Skill on Demand” drill, which involves 2 shots in 2 seconds at 20 feet, in a 3×5 card. This is one such instance, where a precision shot was really needed to get the perp to stop attacking the officer.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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