The shooting of Donovan Lewis – police body cam

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Reddit user “justcallmesmurf”, who is also a police officer, offers his assessment of the video:

Preface: I probably have an unpopular opinion with other LEOs here, but here’s my two cents.

Whether or not the shoot was justified will be settled in court undoubtedly. The department will undoubtedly be paying a 7 figure civil settlement regardless of any criminal actions against the LEOs involved.

I could hardly watch this incident because the tactics are downright egregiously poor.

  1. Get those detainees out of the scene. Go throw them in a patrol vehicle. If you expect to take fire, their lives are at risk sitting there. If that K9 tags one of them, that’s a civil suit guaranteed. If this was a planned operation, you need to have two cops designated to handle and interview these guys. They are trying to interview them at the damn door where they believe a dangerous felony warrant subject is inside. That’s horrible tactics and very unsafe.
  2. Designate your roles. And get your K9 on a proper patrol lead. That’s not a big apartment and having your dog on a long lead affords you positive physical control should you need a quick recall. If you are going to execute a search warrant, execute the warrant, don’t meander at the fatal funnel of the doorway. Also where is the ballistic shield to lead the entry?
  3. K9 guy is over saturated and should not be the lead contact. His sole responsibility is dog work. And I’d argue it’s really not a dog problem right now. Search the apartment, pop that door and shove a rifle shield right into the doorframe and issue commands. Throw some pepperball into the room and go from there. This appeared rushed and very tactically unsound.

Your dog is clearly indicating on the bedroom door, leading you to believe someone is inside (likely the person you are looking for). And you open the door with no shield protection and pretty much fire immediately. My question is why? I don’t know this agencies resources but I just raise many questions regarding all of these tactics (or lack thereof).

Hypothetically, say the door was open and your K9 is off lead and goes into the bedroom and bites…say a girlfriend uninvolved in the situation who was sleeping and didn’t hear the announcements (yes it does happen and yes I know they announced LEO presence a ton).

Now you have someone screaming in the back bedroom getting tagged by a dog and your dog is not verbally recalling (because anyone who has spent time on the road knows it’s very difficult to verbally out a K9 on a real bite vs a training bite). So now what? You rush in to help the person being bit and compromise tactics?

What if your dog goes in and the suspect kills the dog in the back bedroom via gunshot? What are you doing now?

I truly don’t view this as a dog problem and believe it created more urgency. The dog, in my opinion, has a primary job to locate a suspect. It indicated on the rear bedroom door very strongly and did a GREAT job. Leash the dog and make announcements, get a shield and pepperball or gas up there and keep working on the solution to get this suspect removed from the bedroom.

TL;DR – what a sh*tshow. End of rant.

Another user replies:

If that agency is anything like mine, no shields, pepperballs, OC, or gas is available. You just have to deal with it.

To which he responds:

Then you aren’t prepared to execute the search warrant. I’m curious if they had outside agencies assisting who are better equipped. Or maybe reach out to a local violent offenders task force or a task force more equipped for this.

Alternatively, put some cold cars on it and wait for them to exit. Where’s the urgency? Take them down in an area they least expect it under your control.

Equipment aside, their fundamental tactics were not good. You don’t need fancy equipment to know that you shouldn’t have detainees sitting against an apartment wall and trying to interview detainees with your gun out while you are still trying to pie into the apartment and get eyes on. They are all task-saturated and compromising their safety trying to do too much all at once.