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U.S. Capitol Police officers who opened fire on a woman were justified in using deadly force, a former police chief wrote Friday.
In a piece for CNN, Dr. Richard Weinblatt said the officers who shot and killed Miriam Carey did the best with the information they had at the time.
Consider reasonableness: Police officers are trained to quickly assess possible threats. Force, particularly deadly force (with firearms, in this case), may be used if officers can explain their perception of the physical threats that put them and/or others at substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death. We can’t Monday-morning quarterback the officers based on information that comes out later. We can only look at what a reasonable officer knew or should have known, and did or should have done, in a given situation.
Weinblatt goes on to argue that police are trained to use three criteria when deciding to use deadly force: the seriousness of the crime, the threat the suspect poses and the resistance displayed by the suspect.
Would a reasonable officer — faced suddenly with a driver trying to ram barricades at high-profile targets like the White House, ramming police cars and injuring uniformed officers repeatedly — perceive a serious offense, threat, or evasiveness?
“Emotional spin” and mental health issues aside, Weinblatt said Carey’s actions appeared to have met all the criteria needed for police to use deadly force.