In order to understand why police do certain things in tense situations, several prominent civil rights leaders took police training and learned some valuable lessons.
The police officer responded to a situation involving a man carrying a baby who was walking around and shouting incoherently. When the officer approached and attempted to speak to the man, the man pulled out an object from under his shirt and lunged at the officer.
In a split second decision, police officer pulled out and fired his Taser at the man. As it turned out, the man pulled a knife on the officer.
Luckily, nobody was hurt. The “crazy man” was a role-playing actor and the “police officer” was Quanell X, the leader of the Houston Black Panther Party, who was participating in police “shoot or don’t shoot” training with the Missouri City, Texas Police Department.
Quannell X was participating in the training to help better understand what goes through the minds of police officers in high-stress situations like the one described above. Along with many other civil rights leaders across the country, Quannell X was very critical of police actions in Ferguson, Missouri.
However, he decided to gain further perspective by joining his local police for some realistic and intense “shoot or don’t shoot” training. After participating in the training, he acknowledged that the situations that many police officers face are much more difficult than he originally thought.
After Tasing the man in the police training scenario, Quannell X admitted that:
I didn’t even see it. It could have been anything in his hand, and I still would have used force to stop him. It all happened so fast. You don’t know what they could have in their hand.
Rev. Jarrett Maupin also took police “shoot or don’t shoot” training with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona and learned similar lessons after “shooting” an unarmed suspect during a training event.
Both men walked away from their experiences with a newfound respect for the difficulty of making split-second, life or death situations that many police officers have to endure on a regular basis.
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