Originally Posted by Ataturk
Not just obviously, but deliberately. There are a lot of legal standards that are like this.
That's pretty much what I meant. The "any average officer would reasonably feel threatened in that situation" standard is something that can't be quantified from an outsider perspective. It probably the best standard we can came up with (if not implemented the best way possible), given the amount of training and experience required to make those judgement.
Cops carry guns, and so anybody who can physically overpower a cop has access to a lethal weapon. A cop who's at risk of being overpowered has to choose between either "preemptively" using lethal force, or leaving himself utterly defenseless. This exists in every case irrespective of whether the "victim" went for the gun or not, but going for the gun makes this situation more obvious and evidences an intent on the part of the "victim" to at least put himself in a position to kill.
That's not true though (unless you mean imminently
in danger of being overpowered, which wasn't the case here). Police have a number of other force multiplying weapons, for exactly the situations where lethal force isn't entirely necessary but they're unable to rely solely on their physical abilities. There's a continuum of force for a reason.
In the Wilson case, simply rolling up the window would have done a lot to protect the officer. I can understand how split second necessity would lead to choosing one option over others, but that doesn't mean shooting Wilson was the optimal choice there.
A taser allows the same advantage as superior physical size, probably more since it's harder to stop. The cop gets hit with that and he's at the mercy of the "victim." Also, I really doubt that the shooting would have gone unquestioned, though the video definitely makes prosecution more likely, for any number of reasons, but especially since it starts exactly as the guy starts to flee and fails to capture the fight beforehand. This time nobody needed to deceptively edit it, like they did in the Rodney King case, the Eric Garner case, etc.
Also, we don't really know what the original story was. All I've seen are cursory, second or third hand accounts. The cop looks right at the camera immediately after the shooting. Good chance he knew he was on film during. If he's telling lies he's pretty stupid. At any rate exactly what he said will come out sooner or later.
Except that we do know he didn't have possession of the taser. That's sort of critical. A cop shooting someone who has actually taken possession of his taser would be rather reasonable, likely even if the guy was fleeing. It's entirely different to shoot that same guy in the back once he fails to take control of the taser.
Even if there was a fight, it would be very difficult to see how the victim was a lethal threat to the officer at the time of the shooting. You could perhaps make an argument for having the gun drawn, assuming there had been a scuffle, but shooting appears unjustified.