Thursday, July 6, 2017

Life Preserver

Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile following a traffic stop (http://www.kare11.com/news/yanez-trial-week-2/445870511).  A jury recently found him not guilty.  You’ve probably seen the video taken by Castile’s girlfriend seconds after Castile was shot by Yanez. 

Following the trial which found Officer Yanez not guilty of manslaughter, the St. Anthony’s police released the voice and cam recorded video of the shooting.  In retrospect, the girlfriend’s and police department video make for a unique inside view of the razor edge of stress created in any shooting. I'm sure you can find it on You Tube or at "Breach Bang Clear" http://www.breachbangclear.com/philando-castile-verdict-not-a-victory-for-law-enforcement/ .


I think it’s a bad shooting.  I firmly believe the girlfriend’s videoing and on-line posting kept her alive.  I can’t help wonder if Yanez had wondered if it would be better if nobody survived in the front seat.  But these are just my opinions, a third party internet quarterback.

I can’t help suspect it would have gone better if Castile had handled the stop better. 

I’m not blaming the victim.  The Minnesota’s CCW training may have let him down.  The text I saw of their dialog has Castile attempting to explain he has a license and is carrying concealed.  He starts his explanation too late in the interview and seems to be attempting to follow previously given instructions when he is shot.

I want to tell, recommend, suggest, command you to follow this dialog and behavior as close and as soon as possible in any traffic stop.  It can make a difference between getting shot and getting a ticket.

When stopped, roll down the driver’s window an inch.  Leave your seatbelt on.  If it is night, turn the interior lights on.  In any case, grab the top of the steering wheel with both hands.  This is your life preserver so never let go until you are instructed by the police officer.

Your passengers should be instructed to sit quietly with their hands folded in their laps and resist the urge to:
Scratch,
Inject themselves into the conversation,
Make any movement.
They should respond to questions with the simplest and shortest answer possible.  Be polite, it is free and goes a long way.

The police officer will approach and most will stop behind the car’s pillar or behind you, the driver.  Just look straight out the front window.

As some point the officer will either inform you why you were stopped or ask you do you know why you were stopped.  Answer him with the truth and then add:

“Officer, I have a permit to legally carry a firearm and I am doing so.  How do you want to handle it?”

I strongly urge you to say almost the same thing if you have a license but are not carrying, because your license plate is linked with that information.  The officer will be wondering about your gun status and why you’re not informing him of it.  Say:

“Officer, I have a permit to legally carry a firearm, but I am not doing so.”

Honestly, you will run into wiseass cops who will jerk you around at some point.  Just put up with it with your hands on the steering wheel until he tells you to do something.  Follow his instructions.

I carry on my right side, so my wallet goes into my left rear pocket. Follow that pattern.  The wallet goes on the opposite side as the gun.  Don’t dig for wallet, insurance card, or vehicle registration while you’re waiting for the officer to approach you.  It makes them nervous and increased tension can kill.

When I take the wallet out, I do so slowly, holding it with my finger tips and take it slowly to the steering wheel so it and my hands are highly visible.  Using the wheel for support, I open the wallet, remove what the officer has asked for and place the wallet on the top of the dash.  Hand him the card through the inch opening in your window.

We could go through all the important features, why I leave my seatbelt on, why I don’t make eye contact, why I use the words I do.  It’s pretty simple.  Just remember the first rule of police work:
“The officer gets to go home at the end of his or her shift.”

Anything you can do to assure the person standing on the other side of the window that this rule will remain unflexed and in pristine condition will simplify your encounter with the gatekeeper to the legal system.


Remember, you’re being recorded and you don’t want to be the star of the next don’t-do-it video.   Think about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment