“One of the black witnesses said the white cop was slender, not very big (Im paraphrasing here, as I cant remember the exact wording, but the gist of it was the cop was not a large man).”
So a skinny cop can shoot a bigger man because he’s afraid? Is that your position?
Big Mike punched the officer in the face.
What would happen to you if you punched a cop in the face, after slamming his door shut on him ?
Constitutionally, "police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances," says Klinger. The first circumstance is "to protect their life or the life of another innocent party" what departments call the "defense-of-life" standard. The second circumstance is to prevent a suspect from escaping, but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect's committed a serious violent felony.
Without knowing the full account that the officer who killed Michael Brown provided, it's impossible to know which of those standards he believes he met but it's more likely that he would say he feared for his life when Brown (according to his story) assaulted him in his car. In that case, the next question will be whether it was reasonable for him to be afraid of Brown.
The key to both of the legal standards is that it doesn't matter whether there is an actual threat when force is used. Instead, what matters is the officer's "objectively reasonable" belief that there is a threat.
Walter Katz, a California attorney who specializes in oversight of law enforcement agencies particularly during use-of-force investigations points out that it's hard to determine whether an officer's fear is reasonable because the decision to shoot is so fast. "Officer-involved shootings happen extremely quickly. Usually, the point from where the officer believes he has to use deadly force to the point where he uses deadly force where he pulls the trigger is about two seconds." That can make it much harder for investigators to decide whether or not the officer was reasonable in thinking he had to shoot.
That puts a lot of weight on an officer's immediate instincts in judging who's dangerous. And those immediate instincts are where implicit bias could creep in believing that a young black man is a threat, for example, even if he is unarmed.
But each use of deadly force does have to be evaluated separately to determine if it was justified. "The moment that you no longer present a threat, I need to stop shooting," said Klinger. According to the St. Louis County Police Department's account, the officer who killed Michael Brown fired one shot from inside the police car. But Brown was killed some 25 feet away, after several shots had been fired. To justify the shooting, the officer wouldn't just need to demonstrate that he feared for his life not just when Brown was by the car, but even after he started shooting and Brown started running away. The officer would need to establish that, right up until the last shot was fired, he felt Brown continued to pose a threat to him, whether he actually was or not.
"There's a difference between the moment you cease to be a threat and the moment I perceive that you ceased to be a threat," says Klinger. And Katz points out that if an officer has been assaulted and the suspect runs away, the officer's threat assessment is probably going to be shaped by having just been assaulted. But, Katz says, "one can't just say, 'Because I could use deadly force ten seconds ago, that means I can use deadly force again now.'"
“So a skinny cop can shoot a bigger man because hes afraid? Is that your position?”
My position is that the Perp was beating on the Cop in his squad car (which is how the Cop’s face ended up swollen and bruised) and was trying to get hold of the Cop’s gun. Why? To shoot the Cop with his own gun. However the Cop hung on to it, fired one shot, the Perp started running and the Cop ran after him and plugged him. I’m on the Cop’s side, you see, whereas I suspect you are one of the Cop haters that infect certain Cop hater threads that are appearing here all too often.