Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gunfight? OK

Despite happening over a hundred years ago the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral has implications for our police work today. Wyatt Earp knew he was heading for a potentially deadly confrontation. As a result he got two additional officers to back up him and his partner. Since it was a potential gunfight, one of the officers took a long gun, a shotgun, with him. The officers started the event by giving the suspects verbal commands.

Thirty shots were fired in only thirty seconds. One of the suspects was shot in the gun hand, but he transferred his handgun to his off hand and continued to shoot. The officer with the shotgun fired all his ammunition and transitioned to his handgun. By the end, three of the four officers were wounded but none were killed. Two unarmed suspects ran away but the three armed suspects were all killed.

There was public outrage about the shootout in broad daylight. Some citizens supported the officers and others supported the suspects. Eventually, the officers were arrested but they were cleared in two different hearings. The coroners’ report was instrumental in refuting the claims that the officers had fired on suspects with their hands raised. The crime scene investigation revealed that one of the suspects had no powder burns on his clothing indicating he was not shot in a close range assassination as some witnesses alleged. Very little has changed in police shootings, even after almost 130 years; that’s what the SGT Says.


Protect_and_Serve said...

It's a nice story when told that way but in fact the Earps were border-line criminals and they were inforcing unconstitutional gun control laws that they had put in place themselves to leverage their outlaw competition out of town.

Bunkermeister said...

Law in the Old West was often enforced by people who were sometimes working both sides of the law at different times in their lives. We have made great strides in professionalism in the last 100 years.