Larry Mantle |

The Westlake District police shooting has ignited passionate debate

On Thursday morning’s AirTalk, we talked about the several nights of street protests against Sunday night’s killing of a drunken man who was allegedly waving a knife and threatening passersby.  Listeners were passionate in both defending the officer who shot and killed the suspect, and in criticizing police for overzealousness.

Surprisingly, one of our callers thought it was worth a police officer being stabbed to avoid shooting a person armed with a knife.  I asked the caller whether he thought anyone would hire on as a cop if that was the expectation of job risk.  The listener thought that wouldn’t be a problem.

Other callers thought the officers should have used a taser, or shot the man in the leg or arm.  Our guest, David Klinger, author of Into the Kill Zone:  A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force, thought that was unrealistic and put the officer in too risky of a position.

If you were a police officer, what level of risk would you find acceptable?  Should police be trained to subdue an armed suspect, instead of firing on him if he doesn’t comply with an order to drop his weapon?