But it was just a little knife!
Stabbings kill far more than shootings. One good jab with a 3" blade can do fatal damage. Using pepper spray or a taser isn't going to cut it if someone's coming at you with a knife. You have to stop them for sure. Immediately.
Why 9 shots?
During training, when a cop shoots at a perp, they unload their guns. They always unload their guns. Maybe they should be trained differently so they don't automatically keep shooting until they're out.
Why didn't the cop work out a plan with the other cops milling about?
You have to understand what's happening to someone in that situation when you're in a small space face to face with a possibly dangerous perpetrator. When someone's threatening your life, and won't stop when warned, then you get a tunnel vision. You're unaware of anything in the room except for you and the guy who has potential to fatally stab you. You forget that you've got back up. It's just you and him there in a life and death struggle. You don't want to hurt him, but you don't want to die either.
What's with that other cop tasering the dead body?
This might not be a problem in this specific case, but in the summertime, a lot of the senior guys take vacations. So you're left with a police force made up of the newest cops, and sometimes the commanding officer is just an acting supervisor with little to no experience running the show.
So my question for the thousands signing petitions to charge Constable James Forcillo is: Should one cop be destroyed for the systemic problems of the police force? He shot a man holding a knife and refusing to drop it. Yatim wasn't a danger to any bystanders, but he might have been a danger to the cops involved. Forcillo couldn't talk him down, but could he have just backed off and closed the door? And if I were in that situation, with the training provided that had me unload my weapon, and possibly a force with few senior officers to advise me, would I do anything differently as a knife-welding man came towards me?
It's hard to tell.
And I'm not really sure where I sit on it all. I just hate when mobs want to lynch someone for doing something that I might have done had I been in his place. Forcillo didn't wake up in the morning planning to kill an 18-year-old. He got caught up in a difficult situation and made choices we hope never to have to make.
It's a tricky one. Let's at least recognize that.