Tasmanian Arrest

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The Tasmanian Arrest

Great quality video coming out of Tasmania, which seems to be in the vicinity of Australia.

In it, we see a subject who was reported to have robbed a pharmacy, and is armed with a knife. Police encircle the subject and attempt arrest. In the end, a vehicle is used to strike the subject and bring him down for the arrest.

Many of the comments were critical of the police for reasons which I see to be largely unfair. The first being that the subject wasn’t a threat due to his demeanor and presentation. In my experienced opinion, those factors come second to the fact that he has an edge weapon. Demeanor and aggression can change in an amount of time which the officers may not be able react.

This amount of space is called the reactionary gap, which refers to the amount of space for an officer to perceive, process and react to a change in the situation. With this one, the man with the knife was well within that gap. If the subject decided to turn the burners on, he very well could have touched the officers with the knife before the officers could adequately deal with that change.

The second overwhelming criticism of the police was to do with the use of force while the subject was on the ground, and the professionalism of the officers.

On the language, I can say that this is a lethal situation, so I’ll hold on criticizing the language the cops are using. Even though someone watching this video may not have ever felt it, these situations are stress inducing and volatile. Using colorful language is a natural outcome of that stress.

I will say however, that during the video an officer calls the subject c***. This is where I have to question the necessity of the language. It’s overboard in terms of conveying firmness, and adds no value to taking control of the subject. If anything, it will taint impartial observers into an opinion away from support of the police. I worked with cops that had attitude problems, and they’re not always avoidable.

Despite that, I think the police in this situation did well. They maintained composure for the most part, used a vehicle as an improvised impact weapon, and got the subject under control – all without shooting.