Here's why a suspect's hands pose the greatest threat
By Eric Lamberson
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Burglary of Motor Vehicle Public’s Assistance
ߦ   Burnet County Sheriff's Office - Inmate/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Former Venezuelan Official Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Charge in Connection with Bribery Scheme
ߦ   Jury Convicts Texas Man of Hate Crime in the Burning of Victoria, Texas, Mosque
ߦ   Man wanted in deadly crime spree in custody
ߦ   Multi-Agency Investigation leads to Arrest of 6 for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.
ߦ   Paris Police Dept - Daily Activity/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Plane crash occupants identified
ߦ   Smith County Woman Guilty of Federal Violations
ߦ   Warrant Round Up
ߦ   Hero Down: Jefferson Parish Sgt. Troy Smith Murdered, Wife Arrested
ߦ   Hero Down: Chicago Police Officer Vinita Williams Dies After Collapsing At Work
ߦ   Coast Guard assists 4 mariners from vessel taking on water near Freeport
ߦ   Coast Guard medevacs mariner near Galveston
ߦ   2 Die In La Porte Plane Crash
ߦ   American Police-The World’s Most Trusted Per Gallup
ߦ   Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue 11 people
ߦ   DOJ: Many Adults Separated From Kids Are Killers, Child Abusers, Or Unrelated
ߦ   Education Bait-and-Switch Scheme Cheated Veterans of Tuition Benefits
ߦ   Sports Memorabilia Fraud Case Yields Unexpected Benefit for Chicago Youth Baseball Leagues
ߦ   15 shot dead, 9 hurt in bloody night for Mexico's Monterrey
ߦ   Burnet County Sheriff's Office - Inmate/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Conservatives Reject Calls to Abolish ICE
ߦ   DNA Leads To Arrest Of Aggravated Assault Suspect
ߦ   Former County Detention Center Deputy Indicted for Conspiring with Inmates to Assault Victim and Lying to Federal Investigators
ߦ   Galveston County Sheriff's Office - Daily Bulletin
ߦ   Paris Police Dept - Daily Activity/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Texas Parks and Wildlife Agent Injured, Discharges Firearm During Assault
ߦ   IN MEMORIAM - Phil Camus - Houston Police Dept.
ߦ   5 officers killed in 2016 ambush remembered in Dallas
ߦ   As population increases, Austin Police Department seeks more police officers
ߦ   Cartel Member Extradited To U.S. From Mexico For Funneling Massive Amounts Of Marijuana And Cocaine Into The U.S.
ߦ   Rockwall County sheriff honored at city council meeting
ߦ   Senior Sinaloa Cartel Leader Extradited to the United States
ߦ   Sergeant sues Texas prison system over claims of sexual harassment, retaliation

   Next >>
 
Search Archives:

"Take your hands out of your pocket!" or some variation of this phrase remains one of the most frequently repeated commands in law enforcement. Although police officers have been yelling it for years as we saw in the Scotty Richardson incident it is often not the best approach.

One of the first things police officers learn is that a suspect's "hands" pose the greatest threat indeed they do. When dealing with a suspect, an officer should be acutely aware of the ability, or inability, to see the person's hands to ensure he is not clutching or reaching for a weapon. This is a proper concern and when officers encounter someone with their hands in their pockets, the officers should immediately assume an elevated level of awareness and act accordingly.

Such was the case with Malcolm Antwan Orr, 29, on Jan. 1, 2016, in Estill, South Carolina.

Estill Police Officer Quincy Smith responded to a suspicious person call at the Charles Party Shop. A clerk told Smith that a man wearing camouflage and a red bandana tried snatching groceries from customers.

Smith spotted a man matching that description walking away from the store along Railroad Avenue. Smith drove his patrol car a short distance toward the man, who police later identified as Orr.

Smith parked his patrol car and ordered Orr to stop. Orr refused and continued to walk away from Smith, while holding a cellphone to his ear and keeping his right hand in his jacket pocket.

As Smith was repeatedly threatening to fire his Taser if Orr did not take his hand out of his pocket, Orr removed a 9mm handgun from his right pocket and began firing at Smith. The video above shows that Smith fired his Taser; however, it is likely that one or both Taser prongs missed — in any event, the Taser had no effect.

Just as Smith fired his Taser, Orr fired three shots in his initial burst. The first shot hit Smith in the neck, another struck his left arm breaking two bones, and a third passed through Smith's upper torso stopping in his back.

As Smith rolled away to his right, Orr fired a fourth round and continued shooting four more rounds as Smith rolled on the ground and then retreated to his patrol car. Orr fired at least two of the eight rounds as Smith was lying on the ground.

The video of this incident demonstrates the danger in telling a suspect to remove his hands from his pocket in an uncontrolled manner. The suspect's hand movement is not going to be an indicator of trouble — Smith initiated the movement when he commanded Orr to take his hand out of his pocket, and Orr was doing what Smith expected. However, the first opportunity for Smith to see that Orr had a firearm was when it was too late.

The video shows that Smith fired his Taser at Orr 1.267 seconds after the first instant that he could have seen the pistol. Orr opened fire at Smith .667 seconds after Smith fired the Taser or 1.934 seconds after he removed the pistol from his pocket (actually fairly slow when compared to other incidents of this type).

Orr fired his second shot in 0.567 after his first and his third shot 0.367 later. Orr fired his first three shots within .933 seconds — likely much faster than Smith could have drawn his service pistol even if he had not had to drop the Taser and had not been shot. As officer Smith rolled away to his right, Orr fired the fourth round at the 2.733 second mark and continued shooting four more rounds as Smith retreated to his patrol car.

Smith stated that initially: "I didn't draw my firearm because at the time I didn't think it was warranted, he was just walking away. But unfortunately, I made a mistake and I drew my Taser and he got the upper hand on me."

Smith's approach was understandable and in many circumstances, would have been the best approach. However, any encounter can turn deadly in an instant as we see here.

Orr continued to walk away ignoring Smith's commands to stop. I am not a South Carolina legal scholar and offer no legal advice; however, did Orr's refusal to stop provide justification for Smith to use nonlethal force to gain compliance? If so, Smith's use of his Taser earlier in the encounter may have prevented Orr's subsequent deadly assault.

Additionally, Smith was close enough to Orr to deflect his pistol and then attempt a disarm or use his Taser directly on Orr. Clearly, this requires specific training and situational awareness that Smith may not have possessed.

During the course of a career, a police officer will interact with a countless number of individuals who have their hands in their pockets. On the street, simply commanding the individual to remove his hands makes it almost impossible to tell whether he is drawing a weapon or complying with your command until it is too late to react.

Controlling the manner in which they remove their hands will give you an advantage and position you to react if they do present a weapon.

There are several full versions of this video available that contain Smith's efforts to summon aid and the efforts of bystanders who try to help. Official aid was surprisingly slow to arrive, and the bystanders stated several times that they did not know how to help.

If Smith had a trauma kit in his patrol car or on his person, he never mentioned it. At the minimum, carry a QuikClot Combat Gauze, a combat tourniquet, and a 4-inch Israeli Emergency Bandage on your equipment belt and a more complete kit in the patrol car.

Share this article

About the Author

Eric Lamberson
Eric Lamberson is a retired Army officer and firearms enthusiast with 40-plus years of experience in using firearms for hunting, competition and self-defense. He is an IDPA 5-gun Master and has completed the Force Science Institute certification in force science analysis. Eric is a Texas LTC instructor, NRA Pistol, Massad Ayoob Group Staff instructor and currently teaches basic, intermediate and advanced levels of the modern technique, low-light skills, as well as the Suarez International close-range gun fighting and force on force curriculum as an affiliate. You can contact Eric at ericlamberson@sensibleselfdefense.com or visit his Sensible Self Defense


Comments:
These thugs do not care if the officer is black or white, they're an officer and that's all they need to justify their gangster tendencies. The last administration of the US has done more to hurt relations between law officers and urban communities that it boggles the mind. Thanks again "O" for all the damage you did to our country and race relations. You could have done so much good, but that just wasn't part of your plan was it??
Posted by Sasquatch at 9/25/2017 11:33:51 AM

Post a comment
Name/Nickname:
(required)
Email Address: (must be a valid address)
(will not be published or shared)
Comments: (plain text only)
Printer Friendly Format  Printer Friendly Format    Send to a Friend  Send to a Friend    RSS Feed  RSS Feed
  Facebook   Share link on Twitter Tweet  
© 1999-2018 The Police News. All rights reserved.