US cop praised for restraint, refused to shoot suspect
An Ohio police officer is being praised for holding his fire even as a slaying suspect charged him, saying repeatedly, “shoot me.”
WLWT-TV in Cincinnati reported that the tense moments were captured Thursday on a body camera worn by New Richmond officer Jesse Kidder.
The video shows Kidder repeatedly backpedaling 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.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 73-yearold volunteer deputy, who is white, faces manslaughter charges after being accused of shooting a black man to death while the suspect was being held down by other officers. The volunteer deputy said he shot the suspect after mistakenly grabbing his handgun instead of his Taser stun gun.
In Ohio, the New Richmond Police Department website said Kidder had been sworn in to join the village police force a year ago, after serving in Iraq as a Marine. One year later, he found himself facing his toughest police challenge so far. Kidder said dispatchers warned him Wilcox could try to force a “suicide by cop.”
“He jumped out and he sprint- ed 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. Backup officers arrived and Wilcox surrendered.
“For him to make the judgment call that he did shows great restraint and maturity,” New Richmond Police 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- yearold girlfriend, Courtney Fowler, and is a person of interest in a Kentucky slaying. Authorities say he had a violent encounter with Brown County investigators who tried to arrest him before he drove off and headed west to-
Chief Randy ward Cincinnati.
Kidder said a relative gave him the body camera following the deadly officer- involved shooting last year in Ferguson, Missouri. Harvey said he hopes to get funding to buy more for the department in the village some 20 miles ( 32 kilometers) southeast of Cincinnati.
Wilcox was being held Saturday in Brown County Jail on US$ 2 million ( NT$ 62.10 million) bond. No attorney information was available.