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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Source: http://www.policeone.com/close-quarters-combat/articles/2017128-5-lessons-learned-from-a-deadly-encounter-with-an-unarmed-subject/

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In Waterloo, Iowa, a suspect is "unarmed" — but still very dangerous — in a textbook case for never underestimating a "weaponless" opponent

When Officer Steven Bose finished the fight with a round to his attacker’s chest, his throat was filling with blood and he thought his right eye had been gouged from his head. He was prone on the ground and screaming in pain, while his partner groped in the dark, trying to find his eyeball. Bose seemed a textbook example of “grievous bodily harm.”

But relatives of the suspect alleged in the media that it was Bose who really was the villain in the drama. His use of gunfire was “excessive force,” they claimed — and they played a card that often stirs deep doubts in the civilian mind: Their kinsman wasn’t even armed when the cop shot him dead.

Before the matter was resolved, Bose was exposed to the possibility of criminal charges. For pulling the trigger during the most desperate struggle of his career, he could have gone to prison for murder.

Bose and his acting chief, Captain John Beckman of the Waterloo (Iowa) PD, recently wanted to help PoliceOne reconstruct the ordeal as a cautionary case. But City Atty. James Walsh, leery of a possible civil suit, muzzled them.

Fortunately, the county attorney who handled a grand jury hearing of the shooting and a nationally recognized use-of-force expert who consulted on the incident see it as a teaching opportunity that can help other LEOs. In exclusive interviews, they have supplied the first public details of the late-shift nightmare that began, as life threats so often do, as a perfectly ordinary call.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:33 pm 
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The run was dispatched as a disorderly, says Black Hawk County Atty. Thomas Ferguson. At 0218 that Saturday last September, an exasperated wife told a 911 operator that she and her husband had earlier had “a big argument,” and now he’d come back home drunk. She’d locked him out, and he was sitting on the porch steps outside their side door. She wanted the cops to “remove him.”

There was no foreshadowing of violence, Ferguson says. “It wasn’t even dispatched as a domestic assault. She just wanted him to leave. It was a normal call like they’d been on hundreds of times before.”

Officers Bose and Jamie Sullivan arrived in separate units and headed up the driveway toward the porch, which was illuminated by a single bulb above the door. A ride-along accompanying Bose that night trailed behind and kept his distance.

At the porch, just beyond an SUV parked in the driveway of the modest, one-story house, they greeted the wife, her father whom she’d called for support before ringing 911, and, the biggest among them by far, the intoxicated husband — 6’4”, 260 lbs., a 31-year-old construction worker “accustomed to heaving around big chunks of concrete,” as a source familiar with the case put it later.

The “big argument,” as it turned out, was over BS: the husband had taken offense at their two young daughters wearing Packers jerseys. “It didn’t look like there were any real problems,” Ferguson says. But as the officers tried to sort things out, “the wife started getting more agitated, and they wanted to be sure nothing further happened.”

Sullivan stayed with her and her father. Bose, 29, with nearly seven years on the department, took the husband over behind the SUV, a few yards away.

There, the call went south in a hurry.

Bose and the man engaged in some discussion about his finding another place to stay. The man rejected that notion, saying he just wanted to go in the house and go to bed. With a curse, he started toward the side door. Bose put his left hand on the subject’s chest to stop him, and the night exploded.

BAM!!! The man smashed his fist into Bose’s face. Momentarily dazed, the officer woozily grabbed him and tried to hip-toss him “but underestimated his size,” Ferguson says. The two went down on the driveway, Bose landing on his hands and knees, with his attacker partially on the officer’s back, grappling his head and neck. Bose struggled desperately to free himself but couldn’t. He said afterward the assailant threatened to kill him as they fought.

Hearing the commotion, Sullivan rushed over from the porch and began hammering the atttacker on the head with his fists. The man “did not release his hold,” Ferguson says. Instead, he escalated the attack.

“Somehow,” the prosecutor says, “he got a hand inside Bose’s left cheek” and started fish-hooking it. He pulled on it so hard that “he actually ripped the cheek away from where it attaches to the jawbone. Bose’s mouth started filling with blood.”

With Sullivan continuing to strike him, the attacker moved his other hand to Bose’s face and pushed hard and relentlessly against his right eye, whipsawing the officer’s head as he simultaneously yanked on his cheek and gouged his eye. To Bose, it felt like his face was tearing apart and his eye popping out. He could scarcely breathe.

Reaching at what seemed like an impossible angle, he managed to wrest his TASER out of its holster and fired it up and back at his assailant. “The probes did not make sufficient contact to complete a circuit,” Ferguson says. The man “neither relented nor released.”

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Sullivan fired his TASER, too. Again, no reaction. Sullivan then attempted a drive stun; the suspect still showed no evidence of relenting. Struggling against the pain and the suspect’s crushing weight, Bose was able eventually to reach and draw his Glock.

He fired twice into his assailant at point-blank range. “We believe the first round hit him in the thigh but did not stop him,” Ferguson says. “The second struck him in the chest. He finally released.” He was dead at the scene.

Bose thought his eye had been gouged from his head, Ferguson says. His anguished cries of pain led Sullivan to think so, too. The partner frantically searched the shadows nearby trying to find it.

Actually, Bose’s eye was lacerated but still in place. The agony was so intense it just felt like it had been ripped out.

The “shots fired” call was logged at Waterloo PD at 0227, less than nine minutes after the wife’s initial complaint.

The suspect’s family wasted no time rallying their forces against the police. On Sunday, dozens of friends and relatives gathered in downtown Waterloo to protest what they said was unjustified and excessive action by officers.

“They shot an unarmed man twice,” his widow was quoted as saying. Her father complained, “They never said they were about to take him to the ground. They never warned him they were gonna’ ‘tase him and they never warned him they were about to shoot.”

The dead man was described as “a gentle giant and loving father…not a violent man,” and protesters told reporters that “officers did not have a legitimate reason to shoot him and [we] can’t understand how he ended up killed.” Records indicate he’d been arrested several times for public intoxication and had been convicted 12 years earlier for assaulting a peace officer, but “marriage and fatherhood changed him,” protesters insisted.

The county attorney’s office consulted on the case with the behavioral scientist Dr. Bill Lewinski, one of the nation’s premier experts on use-of-force dynamics and executive director of the Force Science Institute. Lewinski draws a vivid picture of what Bose and Sullivan were up against in their battle to control the “gentle giant.”

He characterizes the assailant during the incident as “an irrational person who was so distraught and so intensely focused on his own course of action that he couldn’t be influenced by the officers. He was dangerous without a knife or a gun. His empty hands alone could kill.

“Blows to the head, Tasering, a shot to the leg — his assault continued at the same level through all of them. People that determined have an astounding capacity to override pain. Nothing the officers could have done physically or verbally short of deadly force could have convinced him to stop. They had no choice other than to utterly defeat him — or give up.”

The choke hold/head lock he had on Bose threatened to crush the officer’s larynx, cut off his oxygen, trip his heart into fibrillation, and/or render him unconscious, Lewinski says. Gored deeply enough, the finger jammed in his eye could have penetrated beyond the eyeball into brain matter, with potentially fatal consequences. “Few things have as great a sensory consequence for a human being as a finger in the eye,” he says. “It’s not just a matter of physical pain, it’s a horrendous psychological assault that leads to a high state of desperation in most people.”

He says he considers Bose lucky to have survived the fight.

Ferguson says his office reviews officer-involved shootings on a case-by-case basis, with some going to a grand jury and some being ruled on internally as to whether deadly force was justified. In this case, largely because of controversy about the subject being “unarmed,” he felt that public confidence would best be assured if the matter was submitted to a grand jury.

Potentially this subjected Steve Bose to significant new risks. If the civilian jury decided his shooting was unwarranted, he could be indicted on counts as serious as murder. And the decision did not have to be unanimous. If five of the jury’s seven members believed he was culpable, he would stand criminally charged. “The stress on an officer in this situation is tremendous,” Ferguson says.

Fortunately, by the time Lewinski’s observations and other evidence in the case had been presented, the grand jurors understood the actions of that fateful night from Bose’s unique perspective. Just before Christmas, the panel returned a “no bill” and Bose was exonerated. He has also been cleared in a separate review by his department.

In January, Bose returned to street patrol, still working midnights and reportedly glad to be back on full duty. His injuries are said to have healed with no permanent major damage, except for thick scar tissue along the inside of his cheek at the base of his jaw, which he feels every time he chews.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:39 pm 
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Lessons learned? Ferguson and Lewinski combine to offer several:

1. Expect the unexpected. Realize how quickly and surprisingly “unremarkable” calls can turn into life-threatening events. No matter how commonplace a contact may appear, the potential for violence is always present, particularly when you’re dealing with a subject who’s in a chemically altered, emotionally charged state.

2. Don’t underestimate a “weaponless” threat. Hands, elbows, knees, feet, even the human head can inflict devastating damage, not just when you’re dealing with trained martial artists but also with amateurs who are driven by deadly intensity.

3. Recognize hot-button moments. “This situation went to hell when Officer Bose necessarily set limits on the suspect by putting his hand on the man’s chest to keep him from returning to the house and to his wife’s location,” says Lewinski. “When the suspect was touched, it was symbolic of the gates being shut on his options. That is always a moment—a tripping point—of great vulnerability that officers need to be cognizant of. Assaults frequently occur when an officer is either beginning to handcuff a subject or is laying hands on him. Any time you touch a suspect, be prepared for resistance.”

4. Document your calls. If you have portable audio or video equipment, use it. The officers that night were equipped with body mics, but they did not turn them on when they approached the scene. “Recordings could have been useful in confirming what happened,” Ferguson says. “Almost always, they will be helpful to you.”

5. Understand your force options. Typically, state laws sanction the use of deadly force when you reasonably believe you are in danger of serious bodily harm, not just when you fear your life is at risk. “You are not hired to be a blue punching bag,” Lewinski states. “You have a right to defend your life and your well-being, and to hesitate in emphatically ending a dangerous assault on yourself or a partner can be a fatal mistake. The longer a fight goes on, the greater your risk of losing your gun or losing your life.”

Meanwhile, County Attorney Ferguson has arranged for his community to become better educated about the realities of police use of force. Next September, just about on the anniversary of the shooting, he and the city of Waterloo have contracted with the Force Science Institute to present a two-day program for law enforcement personnel on the latest research findings related to human dynamics in force confrontations — followed by a special half-day in which Lewinski will brief more than 100 invited elected officials, reporters, human rights activists, and other influential civilians on the truths and myths of officer-involved shootings. For the rest of that day, the group will be exposed to simulator training at a local college law enforcement academy.

Ferguson says, “We hope to have them walk away with more reasonable expectations of police actions and a better understanding of why officers act as they do.”


About the author
Charles Remsberg co-founded the original Street Survival Seminar and the Street Survival Newsline, authored three of the best-selling law enforcement training textbooks, and helped produce numerous award-winning training videos. His nearly three decades of work earned him the prestigious O.W. Wilson Award for outstanding contributions to law enforcement and the American Police Hall of Fame Honor Award for distinguished achievement in public service.

Pre-order Charles Remsberg's latest book,Blood Lessons, which takes you inside more than 20 unforgettable confrontations where officers' lives are on the line.

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 Post subject: One more...
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:03 am 
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Don't try to fight the guy with a badge and a gun. They will win.. Period.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:08 am 
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“Blows to the head, Tasering, a shot to the leg — his assault continued at the same level through all of them. People that determined have an astounding capacity to override pain. Nothing the officers could have done physically or verbally short of deadly force could have convinced him to stop. They had no choice other than to utterly defeat him — or give up.”


I see this as the most important lesson, JP...

That's where our 'karate' can suddenly let us down...when thinking we have hit some people in the right place with the right technique and strenght...they will just stand there and laugh.

Reason why the force continuum is to be cultivated.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:10 pm 
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"I see this as the most important lesson, JP...

That's where our 'karate' can suddenly let us down...when thinking we have hit some people in the right place with the right technique and strenght...they will just stand there and laugh.

Reason why the force continuum is to be cultivated."

I have had this happen to me personally. Including tasering someone and it being ineffective, including striking someone and them laughing at me. I watched a person getting tased (twice I might add) and the man simply reached up and pulled the prongs out of his body and said "what's that supposed to do". Pretty sobering. I've had much smaller people who were psychologically unstable throw me across a room because I underestimated their strength. So I've learned that there is always, "ALWAYS" someone out there badder, bigger, faster and crazier than you. What I taught my deputies was that they had to know their limitations even when armed. The harder part is recognizing the potentiality of things going "south" as they did. The harder part is keeping on your toes even when the last 200 calls you've been on have been smooth sailing with no problems. Hard to second guess this fella but to me the second you hear the story told that this is a drunk husband who's being kicked out of the house and he's twice your size a bell should go off in your mind. And never put your hand on a person unless you're ready to duke it out. Never. (no I"m not including helping someone up or stuff like that). This was a tough scenario. I think once you're clock has been cleaned you should go into survival mode and you probably aren't thinking of legalities, simply survival at all costs. I think under the circumstances, these fellas climbed the use of force continuem properly once the actual fight began. To my knowledge we didn't have body mics down here to use, just dash cams. Glad they survived.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Thanks for your input Steve. Nothing like the voice of experience as opposed to assumptions and overconfidence in our training skills and effectiveness, empty hands or weapons as you point out.
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I watched a person getting tased (twice I might add) and the man simply reached up and pulled the prongs out of his body and said "what's that supposed to do". Pretty sobering. I've had much smaller people who were psychologically unstable throw me across a room because I underestimated their strength.


It is so easy to fall into this kind of trap…and I might add…this can also be the fault of the teacher who swells up the student's head with 'invincible thoughts' whether it is Traditional martial arts or some other defensive discipline. I have seen so many who 'strut' only to fall prey to unforeseen street violence.

I have given several examples of this here on the forums involving some Uechi students who, brainwashed by their teachers, had their clock cleaned in awful ways…and promptly disappeared from the dojo.

This is another problem not too many want to think about. How many students disappear after their 'famous' self defense skills did not 'seem to work' in a confrontation?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:55 am 
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So I've learned that there is always, "ALWAYS" someone out there badder, bigger, faster and crazier than you. What I taught my deputies was that they had to know their limitations even when armed. The harder part is recognizing the potentiality of things going "south" as they did.


In some people's minds…there is no such person…and things 'going south' will never happen to them…they are too 'well trained'…and 'Master Mushin' will come to the rescue…. LOL

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:21 pm 
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Not sure "potentiality" is a word but oh well LOL. You are correct VC that many folks think their martial expertise is enough. Than you throw in a badge, a gun and authority to put people behind bars and it's tough to be humble if you know what I mean. One interesting point (and I know hindsight is 20/20) it says that one fella took the husband over "behind" the suv. Wouldn't it have been a tad safer if the two officers had at least kept each other in line of sight? And prior to my retiring I was seeing a lot of deputies that would be quick to get into verbal confrontations with folks and I remember thinking to myself "They must have never had the snot knocked out of them yet." It humbles one in a hurry. When you take the original call, throw in the "agitation" of the wife, throw in the drunkeness of the husband then you have what constitutes a "domestic" call. So quickly it became the worst call an officer can respond to. At any rate, it was a good study case to look at, thanks


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 Post subject: I see bad police tactics
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:27 am 
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http://www.policeone.com/police-heroes/ ... s-heroics/

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:39 am 
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I'm no judge of police tactics, but something doesn't pass the smell test.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:07 pm 
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Don't have time to dissect this piece by piece and really don't like being a monday morning quart but the fact that they had knowledge of possible weapons and a prison history and his size ahead of time combined with a small opening into a dark room........hiking myself up there alone and in a hurry would be a little "scary"........then having to put my weapon away and putting my light down and going into darkness with someone that size would be "scary" as well. Only thing I could even say would be that the person providing "cover" with the firearm, which in this case was the first officer up, should never be the person handcuffing especially when he had other officers available, even if it was a small space. Might have even hiked the canine up there and let em go first. They may have lost a canine but would have revealed the persons intent from the git go.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Good points Steve...exactly what I was thinking.

Why not evacuate the house and fire tear gas into the opening?

They wrecked the house as it went anyway.

And losing a canine is better than losing human beings, as you point out. :?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:18 pm 
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Tough story to read. All of those stories are tough. My heart goes out to the families involved.

Every single incident is different. Despite similar, or even identical, circumstances, the human factor always throws you a curve. Sometimes it's a small one, sometimes a big one. Police work has a ton of curve balls.

Sometimes tasers work, sometimes they don't. Same for any sprays used. Same thing for getting shot. I know many people who've been shot, sometimes it stopped them, sometimes it didn't.

I guess the same holds true for Martial Arts. A good powerful kick or punch, thrown to the right place, can stop anybody. Except for the guys it can't. (and there's always some of those sons a bitches around) Good thing we train with an honest heart, discipline ourselves, sacrifice and go through all we go through. A lot of times it gives us an edge. Here's wishing us all well.


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