A Chicago-based firearms training instructor is cutting through popular claims that a suspect with their back turned presents no threat to law enforcement.
Former police officer Mike Brown revealed on his “Instructor Mike” YouTube channel late last month just how fast a person can suffer a wound or lose their life when they let their guard down coming upon a potential threat who has their back turned.
In a roughly two-and-a-half-minute-long video, Brown conducts numerous turn-and-draw firearm demonstrations on a close range target, all the while explaining to his virtual audience and in-person students the split-second decision-making that would be required for someone in the target’s position to recognize him as a threat and neutralize him.
“Now, I want to talk about unfortunate circumstances when you’ve got a person behind. It doesn’t have to be the police. It could be you as a citizen and you walked up and you see somebody in your house and you’re behind so you don’t see their hands. How fast do you think it would take for me to just go on ahead and simply shoot!?” Brown says, turning and firing several times without warning.
WARNING: The video below contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive:
“Did that take long at all? That didn’t take long at all. Do you think you would be able to respond fast enough?”
For most of us, the answer ought to be obvious.
Of course we couldn’t — and that’s the point.
Brown’s online demonstration comes on the heels of renewed criminal justice reform demonstrations and often violent civil unrest in light of the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The shooting kicked off a firestorm in news media and social justice advocacy spheres, as early video circulated on the internet showing a seemingly unarmed black man followed for a moment by two local law enforcement officers — one of whom shot the man in the back numerous times as he opened, and reached inside, the driver’s side door of a parked vehicle.
Information made available by the Wisconsin Department of Justice after the event revealed Blake, wanted for an alleged sexual assault at the time of the shooting, was shot after allegedly resisting arrest, failing to respond to two shots from a Taser and potentially putting responding officers at risk by reaching into his vehicle, where a knife was later found on the floorboard, Fox News reported.
According to the New York Post, Blake was allegedly in violation of a restraining order by simply visiting the Wisconsin residence outside of which he was shot — a circumstance which seems to have been the catalyst for the 911 call that sparked the interaction.
Despite these facts, media and public focus remained on claims Blake was unarmed and posed little to no threat to responding officers with his back turned.
The fact of the matter now remains, however, that Blake’s insistence on leaving his back turned to the officers made him an even greater threat as a result of unpredictability.
Of course, the knife remains deeply important to the fact pattern in this case, as it does lend credence to claims that the officers in question were, in fact, at risk when the shooting took place.
But regardless of whether the knife was in Blake’s hand, within range on the floorboard or even out of arm’s reach, Brown’s instructional video makes crystal clear the fact that responding officers were at a negligible advantage, if not an outright disadvantage.
Brown repeatedly demonstrates how quickly a person can make a physical about-face with the intent to injure whoever is behind them.
If you blink, you may literally miss the instructor acting in one swift motion to lift his shirt, draw the handgun at his hip, turn and fire one or more rounds into the target behind him at point-blank range.
Now, it is worth noting that Brown seems to be as close as one can be to a firearm expert, with Security Training Concepts including in his list of credentials a tenure with the U.S. Army, 10 years law enforcement experience and a handful of serious firearm certifications.
So, it is entirely possible your average Joe suspect is far less accurate, or may not be turning with a weapon at all.
But is it really on law enforcement to just wait and see?
More importantly, does any of that matter when the suspect, like Blake, is allegedly in possession of or possibly reaching for a weapon intended for optimal damage at close range?
If your answer to either of those questions is “yes,” then you ask far too much of your public safety professionals.
And if it were you standing there with dangerous uncertainty and a split second of action potentially keeping you from returning home to your loved ones, chances are you would ask far less of yourself.
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