Police Officer Faces Disciplinary Action For Failure To Use Deadly Force

Some people wonder why police officers do not shoot to wound, or fire warning shots rather than first using deadly force.  In this incident, an officer for the Gautier, Mississippi Police Department fired a warning shot, and is facing disciplinary action because warning shots are in violation of department policy.

The incident is described by Gautier Police Department spokesman Casey Baxter.

On June 19, 2017, 27-year old Lamarcus Deantonio Williams was being pulled over for a traffic stop when he sped off.  The officer, who has not been named in media reports, followed Williams.

After about a mile and a half pursuit, Williams stopped the car, got out, and ran off with something in his hand.  According to Baxter, there were repeated commands to stop and “let me see your hands,” but Williams turned and charged the officer.  That’s when the officer fired a warning shot into the ground.  Williams ran past the officer and the officer tackled him.

WLOX reports:

“The officer was in violation of department policy when he discharged his weapon as a warning shot. The slug was recovered a few feet from where the officer was, so it was clearly a warning shot into the ground,” Baxter said.

Baxter said department policy would have allowed for the use of deadly force.

“He didn’t know what he had in his hand. He raised up his arms like it was a gun when he charged. You don’t know if it’s a gun or a knife, and everything’s happening in a split second,” Baxter said.

Williams did not have a weapon. Baxter said he believes Williams was carrying a cell phone.  Williams was arrested and faces one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges.  Williams had been previously arrested on March 14, 2017 on a misdemeanor drug charge.

In this incident, even the spokesperson for the police department says he believes that Williams was carrying a cell phone.

What we have is a situation where a police officer chose not to use deadly force and in doing so, an unarmed man did not lose his life.  There was no harm to the officer.  Human life shouldn’t be taken on the basis of thinking a suspect is armed.   In my opinion, the officer used good judgment because a person with a gun does not have to charge forth if they intend on using it.  The officer should be commended for making the RIGHT decision, rather than disciplined for it.

Posted on 06/30/2017, in Good Cops and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    The officer accomplished the arrest without shooting the suspect. He should not be disciplined. He had the situation under control.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hopefully the department will find him not in violation of policy. They should appreciate having an officer who isn’t willing to kill unarmed suspects.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mindyme,
      That’s the way I see it too. The police of not firing a warning shot because they are allowed to use deadly force is contrary to the very discretion that is given to law enforcement officers. I’m pretty sure there are or will be arguments of what could have happened if Williams had a gun, and such arguments tell us that those having decision making authority are not concerned with what could have happened if Williams was wounded or killed and found to be unarmed. In other words, they are not concerned for the consequences of killing an unarmed suspect as much as they are concerned with the officer facing consequences for not shooting Williams.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Xena,

    This officer should not suffer any consequences. He used judgment without malice, he was doing his job. What options did the officer have? He could have let the suspect get away, with no one being the wiser. Or when he caught up with the suspect, he could have shot him when the suspect didn’t respond to instructions. Or he could have acted the way he did.

    It has to be a horrible event for an officer to fatally shoot someone, only to find out that he/ she was unarmed.

    These officers have a tough job, and it shouldn’t be made harder.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Here’s a video about acts of kindness by North Little Rock, AR Officer Tommy Norman.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He should receive an award. That warning shot was merciful. Was he expected to kill?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Micheline. I agree about the award. And yes, he was expected to kill because policies allow the use of deadly force, but not warning shots.

      Like

  6. He will be disciplined or lose favor within his department. That is simply the mentality prevalent in in our current police system. He should have claimed that his weapon discharged accidently as he drew it. At least that way they would have believed that he attempted to shoot an unarmed citizen and he could possibly stand for promoted on that basis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay, I hope that he doesn’t face disciplinary actions and has a good reason for not shooting to kill first. That’s a small police department with only 42 sworn officers, and Williams has a history of arrests for drug charges. He had just been arrested in March of this year. It’s my speculation, but I think that every officer on that force probably knows about Williams and that he has no history of carrying a weapon. He runs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. David Piercy

    Having flashbacks to tort law class…

    “acts or omissions (failure to act)

    Like

    • That might apply in a civil case if the failure to act resulted in injury or harm. Here, the officer acted based on his discretion. No one was injured. The suspect was arrested. He will receive due process, and the officer can sleep nights knowing he did not take the life of an unarmed human being.

      Like

  8. David Piercy

    If the department’s position is based on reckless or negligent discharge I can understand that.

    If it is based on a literal failure to use deadly force, that is absurd on its face.

    Like

  9. That’s bloody ridiculous… Of course they must fire a warning shot before going in blazing. You finally get an officer who does it right and he faces discipline for it… WTF!

    Like

    • Yes Kev, that policy that does not allow the firing of a warning shot but does allow the use of deadly force, is ridiculous. I hope the officer does not suffer disciplinary action for choosing to respect life.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Police Officer Faces Disciplinary Action For Failure To Use Deadly Force | We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident – Never the less…

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