Lethal response to an “unarmed” attack

Some time ago I wrote a bit about The Danger of Fists in response to some of the nonsense that I saw in media coverage of the Zimmerman incident. In that article I claimed that law enforcement training treats an officer being “mounted” as a lethal force event. Here’s an example of just such an event:

The man in the tie was an off-duty Kansas City firefighter who apparently got a bit drunk at a wedding and ended up assaulting a cabbie. The officer in the video was working security for the hotel while in uniform, not an uncommon practice in jurisdictions where sworn officers have police authority 24/7. When you see police officers at a university football game, they’re working in exactly the same capacity. The officer attempts to make an arrest, and ends up in a fight with the firefighter.

Note how quickly the situation goes from the officer appearing to have the upper hand to the officer having his head forced against the pavement and taking blows. The officer sustained multiple serious injuries, including a broken eye socket, a fractured cheekbone, a cut above his left eye that required two stitches and loss of feeling in the left side of his face. All sustained from just a few blows from an untrained attacker in a couple of short seconds.

Had the assault gone on any longer the officer could have been killed or suffered permanently debilitating injuries just from the punches. The officer fired in self defense, killing his attacker. The shooting was “no-billed” by a grand jury, meaning it was presented for review by a grand jury and they found no cause for criminal charges. That’s the equivalent of ruling this to be a “good shoot”, meaning a justified use of lethal force.

The officer has been off the job since the incident and according to one news report I saw quoted online has required multiple facial reconstruction surgeries. From a few punches delivered in a couple of seconds. Of course, it doesn’t even need to be a couple of punches delivered from a side-mount position:

One sucker punch was enough to cause the victim fatal brain damage. To repeat what I said in the original Fists writeup, fists and feet have been responsible for more killings than rifles and shotguns combined according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

Do not underestimate the danger of fists.




  1. I live in a small city of about 275,000. The local paper ran an article about all the homicides in 2013. There were 19. Two were police shoots, two were murder-suicides, one was self defense. Of all the rest, three were done using guns-handguns only, all the others were done using ‘clubs’ and fists and feet.

  2. The geniuses recording the first video were amazing. Hopefully the thought that their distracting the cop may have contributed to how the situation ended haunts them for a long time.

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