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Non-Physical Contact Reactionary Gap


Check out this video:


According to a local news agency, this female officer shot and killed Danquirs Franklin after he refused to drop a pistol he was holding.  The two officers in the body camera video responded to a priority 911 call for a person with a gun inside of a restaurant.  This is a call which is taken extremely serious, and if founded, has a very high probability of arrest and/or use of force by responding officers. 

I am not going to get into a play-by-play but I want to touch on one subject specifically because this will be crutch of any decision made in determining if this was a good or bad "shoot". 

If you do not know what "Reactionary Gap" is watch this video for a pretty simple explanation:


So what does "non-physical contact" reactionary gap mean?  It means that a person will see a movement, intake the response stimuli and respond within a predictable span of time, which may be after a person has already completed an action and moved onto another action.  It's the old "they shot him in the back" tripe which has been debunked a million times over in numerous court rooms by experts on the matter.  Thankfully this is settled scientific fact at this point. 

The officers kept telling Franklin to drop the gun, I didn't count how many times but it was more than 10, at least.  Franklin, instead of just dropping the gun on the ground where he had it, and predictably would not have been shot, instead chose to move the pistol forward in front of him in a manner consistent to a draw stroke.  The movement itself was quickly executed with purpose, which is completely counter to the commands given to him by the two officers.  The female officer saw the quick movement of the pistol forward and reacted immediately, the issue was that there was still a span of time during that movement which elapsed. 

Average human reaction time is between .5 and .8, so in that span of time he was able to move the pistol forward enough as to not be aiming it at the officers, the issues is that the female officer had already taken in the stimulus which prompted her to fire two shoots at Franklin.  What she did was 100% correct.

A LEO does not need to wait until they are being fired upon, they are not required to be shot at before taking action against someone.  Per Graham v. Connor, use of force must be "objectively reasonable" and it would be completely unreasonable to wait until someone is shooting at you before using any amount of force.

This was 100% a good shoot, which we can use as a learning scenario.  There was no use of cover, at all.  Franklin could have shot at the two officers first and possibly injured or killed one of them before either would have reacted to shoot back.  With two officers on scene, both should have used vehicles as cover when forming an L-shape and one should have attempted to deploy less-lethal like a taser.  Pipe dream, of course, as this was a very tense situation and both officers were likely in condition black, hence the repeating commands constantly.  Officers need to be taught to have more in their bag of skills than yelling a command repeatedly while pointing a gun at a suspect.  There are two possible outcomes within this type of scenario when you go into it in such a manner, one we saw happen, the other did not because of the actions of Franklin.  He is the only one responsible for how that situation went down.  At the moment when the police arrived he could have just raised his hands in the air, and/or put the gun on the ground and complied with the orders of the two officers and this wouldn't even be something we'd ever known about.  He was shot, twice, because of his failure to follow reasonable commands and his unreasonable actions.