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Reporter's Notebook: Why police often favor guns over Tasers
August 22nd, 2014
10:19 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: Why police often favor guns over Tasers

There has been a lot of discussion on social media about law enforcement's use of force. There was the officer-involved shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9. Then ten days later, Kajieme Powell was fatally gunned down by St. Louis police officers.

Many have questioned why officers pulled their guns instead of using a less lethal device like pepper spray or a Taser. Experts walked us through the 21-foot rule, which is currently taught in police academies across the United States. The average assailant can run a distance of 21 feet in two seconds. That's the same amount of time it takes an officer to remove his gun from his holster and raise his weapon.

Forensic criminologist Ron Martinelli, an expert in more than 100 shooting cases, most of them officer-involved, showed us how the drill works. It revealed how little time an officer has to decide to shoot an assailant. But it also showed how the more items you add to a duty belt, the more an officer’s response time is going to be delayed, by as much as 50%.

If the officer is in close proximity to an assailant, he will likely turn to his gun because it's more effective. A Taser must be used when the assailant is more than two feet away but not more than 20 feet away in order for the two probes to launch and hit the perpetrator. Martinelli estimates the Taser has an effectiveness rate of only 60%, much of it due to operator error.

Given how little time an officer has to make a lethal force decision and the proximity these decisions often have to be made, experts say it's the reason officers often grab their gun before their Taser.

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Filed under: Law enforcement • Michael Brown • News • Reporter's Notebook • Uncategorized
June 25th, 2014
11:01 PM ET

Teen who planned school massacre: I'm mentally ill

The teen who was just days away from carrying out plans for a school massacre detailed his plot to police.

17-year-old John LaDue tells investigators he was looking for "as many victims as possible." He was planning to kill his family, set off bombs at his Minnesota high school, and shoot countless students.

Minnesota teen who planned school massacre: 'I think I'm really mentally ill'

Luckily, LaDue's plan was thwarted. Chelsie Schellhas was credited for thwarting this young killer's massacre. In an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, Schellhas explains what happened the day she encountered LaDue.

Filed under: Crime • Justice • News • Uncategorized
June 17th, 2014
08:34 PM ET

How much responsibility does the U.S. bear for the crisis in Iraq?

As the terrorist group ISIS continues its violent march through Iraq, videos showing gruesome executions by the groups fighters continue to emerge.

CNN has been unable to independently confirm the videos, but they appear to be a trademark move of ISIS. Additionally, footage of what appears to be a child armed with an automatic weapon in Mosul appeared today, adding to the fear that the country is spiraling into chaos.

Retired Colonel Peter Mansoor is OutFront. He was the executive officer to General David Petraeus during the 2007 surge in Iraq.

Filed under: International • Iraq • News • Uncategorized
May 12th, 2014
08:25 PM ET

Did Inmarsat data point Flight 370 searchers in wrong direction?

Back to discuss the validity of the Inmarsat data that originally pointed Flight 370 searchers to the southern Indian Ocean are CNN aviation analysts Miles O'Brien and Arthur Rosenberg, and CNN safety analyst David Soucie.

Filed under: Uncategorized
May 12th, 2014
08:22 PM ET

Inmarsat data also under fire as search for Flight 370 drags on

The pinger data isn't the only source of concern in the search for the missing plane. According to The Atlantic, experts now have serious questions about whether the satellite data from Inmarsat that pointed searchers to the southern Indian Ocean can be trusted. Tom Foreman is OutFront to explain why.

Filed under: Uncategorized
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