The situation on Highway 212 in Eden Prairie where police shot two individuals has raised some questions. Family members of the woman who was shot have hired a lawyer to investigation the officers’ claims:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) – The family of one of the people shot and killed by police on Highway 212 last week has hired a lawyer to learn more about why officers pulled the trigger, but law enforcement is pointing to the 21-foot rule.
The investigation is still ongoing, but depending on which experts you talk to, some already say they see the shooting that followed a high-speed chase as justified because of a guideline that police officers are trained to use when assessing a threat.
Joe Dutton, a retired Golden Valley police officer and use of force expert, told Fox 9 News studies have proven that when faced with a suspect who is making threats with a knife, an officer won’t have the time to get their gun from a hip-holster and shoot if that suspect is within 21 feet.
The 21-foot rule, also know as the Tueller Drill, cites that an attacker armed with a knife can close an unobstructed gap between himself and an individual armed with a holstered firearm before that individual can draw his firearm. Does that rule apply in this case? I think that’s a valid question that deserves to be investigated.
Setting aside the possibility of the officers lying about the reason they shoot the two we will have to ask whether or not a lesser amount of force could have safely resolved the situation. Several factors could play a part in this. First we know that police officers carry Tasers for situations where force that can be deployed at a distance is necessary. Second we know that the police already had their firearms drawn as they had just shot the first victim. Third judging by the helicopter footage it seems like the police had positioned their squad cars between themselves and the victims.
Does the 21-foot rule apply here? I don’t believe it is so cut and dry. The police already had their firearm drawn and the path between themselves and the victims was not unobstructed. It’s possible that the situation could have been resolved with less force than was deployed, which would likely open the door for a civil case. I think this investigation is warranted and do want to read any report that comes of it.