Saturday 1 October 2016

Officer praised for refusing to shoot murder suspect

Alan Martin

Published 20/04/2015 | 02:30

Kidder's display of restraint comes at a time of intense scrutiny of police tactics
Kidder's display of restraint comes at a time of intense scrutiny of police tactics

A US police officer has been praised for refusing to open fire even as a murder suspect charged at him shouting "shoot me, shoot me".

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The tense moments were captured on a body camera worn by officer Jesse Kidder in New Richmond, Ohio.

The video shows Kidder repeatedly backpedalling and telling 27-year-old Michael Wilcox he doesn't want to shoot him.

"Law enforcement officers all across the nation have to deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death," Kidder said. "I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force."

Kidder's display of restraint comes at a time of intense scrutiny of police tactics. The killings of two unarmed black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City touched off protests and a national debate over police conduct that intensified after grand juries declined to indict the officers.

Earlier this month, an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina. The officer was charged with murder and has been fired by the North Charleston Police Department.

Kidder, who joined the police force only a year ago, said dispatchers warned him Wilcox could try to force a "suicide by cop".

"He jumped out and he sprinted toward me. I had my firearm already drawn ... and I told him to put his hands up in the air and he was screaming ... 'Shoot me! Shoot me!'"

Kidder said he watched Wilcox's hands and didn't believe he was going to shoot at him, so he kept yelling back to Wilcox that he didn't want to shoot him.

Back-up officers arrived and Wilcox surrendered.

"For him to make the judgment call that he did shows great restraint and maturity," New Richmond Police Chief Randy Harvey said.

"This video footage, it eliminated all doubt that this officer would have been justified if in fact it came to a shooting."

Wilcox is charged with the fatal shooting of his 25-year-old girlfriend, Courtney Fowler.

Irish Independent

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