INNOCENT MAN DOWN: A Law Enforcement Training Failure?

This heart-wrenching video strongly suggests that we’re failing law enforcement officers with our “modern” training standards.

In this dash-camera footage, a York County, SC Sheriff’sdeputy pulls over a truck for expired tags. The elderly driver gets out of the cab and reaches something in the bed of the vehicle. The deputy yells several times in warning and then opens fire, spraying the truck (and the surrounding countryside) with six shots, hitting the man once in the stomach.

cane

The senior citizen wilts under fire, slumping against the side of the truck as the deputy yells at him to drop the “gun.” Just a few second later the deputy realizes that the “gun” is a cane, and rushes to help the wounded man.

The local ABC News station describes the situation:

York County Deputy Terrance Knox is on administrative leave as state agents investigate the shooting last month of Bobby Canipe of North Carolina. In the video, Canipe quickly pulls over on the four-lane highway near Clover outside Charlotte after Knox puts on his blue lights and siren. Canipe’s tag had expired about six weeks earlier.

Canipe gets out of the pickup and turns toward the bed without acknowledging Knox as the deputy yells “Sir!” three times. Canipe reaches in the back and pulls out a slender object with the tip pointed at the officer. Knox yells “Whoa!” several times as he fires a half-dozen shots.

“It’s a walking stick,” Canipe said as the shots ended.

Knox shouted an expletive as he immediately ran to check on Canipe, who was hit once and expected to recover. The whole sequence takes about 15 seconds.

Knox begins to sob when another officer arrives a few minutes later and puts his arm around him.

“I promise to God I thought it was a shotgun,” Knox said in tears.

Before showing the video, York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant urged reporters to put themselves in the moment and see how Canipe doesn’t respond to the officer and pulls out the object in the dark. He said officers in South Carolina are allowed to use deadly force if they think their lives are in imminent danger.

As Sheriff Bruce Bryant notes, Canipe pulled out something of the bed of his truck, in the dark, that the deputy mistook for a firearm, and Canipe didn’t immediately drop it. According to their training, this was likely a “good shoot”… and that’s a problem for me, because this is a failure of training.

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