In May, 2018 a Lawrence, Kansas Police officer conducted a traffic stop on a Ford Excursion after the officer observed the driver operating the vehicle without using his seatbelt. The driver immediately begins arguing with the officer and refusing to produce his driver’s license. Despite remarkable control of emotions, and a very logical and sympathetic explanation of the circumstances, the initial stopping officer was forced to place the driver under arrest.
Less than 6 minutes after initial contact, the officer began to physically attempt to remove the driver after repeatedly warning him that failure to produce his driver’s license would result in his arrest. With the driver’s refusal to comply, the officer informed the driver he was under arrest and began physically removing the driver from the Excursion. During the ensuing fight, the driver slipped from the officer’s grasp, and proceeded to punch, grab, forcefully body slam the officer to the pavement, and then elbow him in the back of the head. At that moment the backing officer fired one round from her duty sidearm striking the driver in the back and ending the fight.
In the subsequent investigation, the shooting officer claimed she mistakenly grabbed her sidearm instead of her Taser. During our breakdown of this incident we’ll discuss placement of weapons and gear on an officer’s duty belt, and the lessons learned from this shooting.
Editor’s Note: BlueSheepdog is committed to providing our readers outstanding officer safety analysis and training. With over 60 years of law enforcement experience between our primary article contributors, we provide unique perspective and critical insight for our readers. The intent of officer safety review articles, like this one, is not to disparage officers or their performance. We fully understand and appreciate the dynamic nature critical incidents unfold in mere seconds. Our intent is simply to dissect these incidents for educational benefit, so that officers can learn best practices and avoid repeating any mistakes.