The latest high profile shooting by police in the USA has been covered once again by the world wide media for all to see.

It was the fatal shooting of a young black man by a police officer in the city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Everyone from the police chief to the media are reporting that it was an accidental shooting.

The police officer mistaking her pistol for her taser and firing a single fatal shot at extremely close range. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard negligence being passed on as an accident when it comes to police shootings.

There is a myriad of issues concerning professionalism during the traffic stop and attempted arrest of this individual as they tried to place him in handcuffs, however at this point I only wish to cover accident versus negligence with the fatal shooting.

But who’s negligence exactly? The cop who fired the fatal shot, her operational managers, her training managers, or all? Something is seriously wrong here, and I feel that she should not be the only individual to be held accountable for that negligence.

My child’s school district here in America goes into lockdown drills only, if there is a shooter in the school. They will not train for the options that many other schools in America are taking up in the last few years of run, hide, fight…which in reality are the only options that staff and students alike have while unarmed.

The school district’s answer being that the police are telling them that it’s safer to remain in classrooms, as they don’t want to “accidently” shoot children as they seek out the shooter. I personally find that comment totally unprofessional…the same as I find the American term collateral damage (which I’ve heard cops and ex cops use for the shooting of innocent children caught in police fire) unprofessional too. So what happens in the time period of the police showing up, especially those caught out on the same floor space and close to the shooter? Which is why I wrote a blog post a while back on how to survive a school shooting explaining all of this.

Whether it’s poor day to day management of officers on the ground, poor training, poor selection of armed officers, poor continuation training, long shifts, poor health of officers, (we see obese officers more and more these days)…or indeed a number of these and other issues. In my opinion there is absolutely no reason for a professional police officer in a country like the USA to negligently pull a pistol instead of a taser from their belt, still not recognize the difference when aiming, and still go on to shoot, even if the whole action takes only a couple of seconds. The pistol will feel and look (while in the aim) completely different to the taser to the professional.

Even in the context of going into a school to eliminate an active shooter, there is still no excuse when shooting dead innocent children who I’m sure with the feelings of fight or flight are moving in every direction quickly and loudly.

Negligence versus accidental is extremely important wording, whether a mayor, police chief, lawyer or journalist. Please make the distinction clearly, as I explain that even a 6 year old child shooting their mother dead with the mother’s own pistol is negligence (on behalf of the mother, not the child) and certainly never accidental.

America is the country of litigation, and lawyers in court can twist words every which way…I’m only interested in being proactive here.

If they were to begin with the correct selection of a police officer with realistic course failure rates, combined with professional continuation training along with achieving annual fitness levels. Including hitting the right levels constantly throughout the officer’s career across all States and within all counties. Management at all levels must remain accountable for that, and accountable for officers’ actions when out on the ground.

If these stages are implemented and managed correctly, I guarantee that there will be a lot less negligence with fire arms within the police forces of the USA in the future.

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

Categories Uncategorized4 Comments


  1. Bob
    Police Scotland teach cross body draw for the Tazer, that way there can be no mistake, no error, when going for secondary weapon system (side arm) as that is always on strongest side

  2. Bob as ever a good and written piece. Reading that the police officer pulled a taser out instead of her fire arm seems almost impossible, I have carried and held both in my time as a fire arms officer and to say she mixed them up is hard to believe. In so much as the difference in size , weight, colour , position carried on the body etc. Also the police telling the public /schools etc not to run , hide , fight goes completely against the grain. People who are frightened and seeing colleagues being shot , injured etc will go onto auto pilot and do what their brain is telling them to do. I completely agree also with the ethos of the right person for the right job and the right training and continued training for their specific role.

  3. In my humble opinion, you haven’t got time to implement your long term plan before TSHTF in the form of economic and social collapse, and the prospect of a world war.

    Those three being engineered by an increasingly violent ‘rights obsessed’ society, the bad politics that were voted in by a few gullible idiots, and an increasingly wild minded military.

    Personally, and with that in mind, I only worry about ‘short term’ as ‘long term’ is looking pretty damn bleak because of today.

    Paul Gray.

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