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Citizens learn what factors lead to police use of force

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department discussed use of force with their citizen’s academy Tuesday night.

To begin the class Lt. Col. Tim Whitney showed a video of a police shooting.  In the first camera angle, it looked like the officers shot a man in the back, but in the second angle you can see that the suspect had a gun and turned towards the officers.

Right now, students at Georgia Tech are protesting the officer involved shooting of a student who refused to put down a knife as he walked toward officers.

Whitney said there are tons of factors that can affect an officer’s decisions to use force like their stress level, experience, eye sight and training. So, unless you are there he says it is hard to give an objective opinion about a use of force decision.

Whitney said there is no formula for when an officer uses force; but he had a guideline he usually tells his class which is, if you use force out of anger it is normally wrong, if you use force out of fear it is normally right.