The Left’s View of Police De-Escalation: It’s Magic

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The devolution of what it now takes for the anti-cop left to deem a police officer’s lethal (or any) use of force to be “justified” is bewildering. First, a suspect implying or even saying he or she has a gun was not enough. The suspect had to draw that gun before critics felt an officer was justified to use deadly force. They expect the officer to risk his or her life, wasting precious seconds, waiting to “see” a gun.

Next, a suspect with a gun in hand was not enough for an officer to shoot. The officer must wait for the suspect to point the gun at him or her. Again, wasting precious life-saving seconds.

Then, even pointing a gun at an officer was not enough. The suspect had to fire rounds before an officer was justified in shooting back. Put yourself in that officer’s position. But it’s gotten worse.

Today, for the anti-cop radicals and many in what has become the mainstream Democrat Party, a suspect actively firing bullets at cops is not enough to justify an officer shooting a suspect. Sadly, there are many examples.

Recently in Seattle, an incident occurred, captured on neighborhood surveillance video and officer body cameras. The suspect calmly walks up to the driver’s door of a car. Two women are sitting inside. He fires into the car. Later, we learn one woman is wounded, and the other dies. The wounded woman is frantic as she calls 911 to report a suspect had shot her and shot her friend in the face. “My friend is dying; please come,” she said, repeatedly.

The alleged murderer then walks away out of video range. Seattle police officer body-worn cameras pick up the suspect emerging from the dark, gun in hand. The moment he sees the police, he raises the weapon and opens fire. The police officers return fire, killing the suspect. Now, who in their right minds would say the officers’ actions were not justified? Oh, there’s the answer right there. I said, right minds.

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Anti-cop leftists still went after those Seattle cops, saying things like, “They shouldn’t have gotten there so fast,” “They should have stopped to make a plan,” and “They should have de-escalated.” It’s easy to imagine the headlines if officers had hesitated to confront a man who’d just shot two women and killed one of them.

De-escalation? The anti-police radicals’ magic word. When should that have happened? In the second or two before the suspect began shooting at officers, perhaps? How about this: the officers did de-escalate the situation when they stopped a killer’s shooting spree at two people.

As another even more visceral example, because of the officer’s proximity to the suspect, we go to Warren County, Ohio, on March 3rd, 2021. In a Ring Doorbell video, you can see Deputy Sheriff Sara Vaught knocking on a house door. She knocks repeatedly and when the suspect opens the door, without hesitation, he fires shots at the deputy, point-blank. She tactically ducks into a crouch, draws her weapon, and returns fire, striking the suspect. Other officers enter the house, take the suspect into custody, and have him transported to an area hospital. Reportedly, he’s recovering and is being charged with attempted murder.

These incidents show the fallacy that there exists some sort of “universal de-escalation” magic. Ask yourself what that deputy could have done to de-escalate? Yet, that’s the impossible standard the Left is demanding for police officers when dealing with violent suspects.

You may recall another incident in 2020, in Lancaster, PA. where a man armed with a knife held high over his head, crashed out of a house door and charged at an arriving police officer. This cop was also forced to de-escalate the situation with his gun.

Perhaps The War on Cops author Heather MacDonald summed up the Lancaster shooting best. She wrote an article for the New York Post titled, “Protesters demand cops let themselves be stabbed or shot.” How can anyone refute that statement after the radicals rioted based on this incident?

MacDonald also wrote, “The response from the ‘community,’ after this summer of lethal cop hatred, was predictable. Rioters pelted Lancaster cops with bricks, glass bottles, and sharp projectiles ripped from road barricades. They smashed the windows of police cruisers, the downtown police precinct, the post office, cafés and stores. They torched a dumpster dragged from another part of the city. They pulled street signs and bike racks out of sidewalks to use against the police.”

All because a police officer shot a violent suspect who was about to stab him. Don’t ask what other options the officer had. Heather MacDonald already answered that: the only option that cop had was to allow himself to be stabbed.





meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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