Toronto and Nashville and the Decisions Police Make

The arrest of the man who is believed to have purposely driven his rented van into pedestrians on a city street in Toronto, has among other things, sparked a debate on police tactics.

The tragedy left at least 10 people dead and 15 injured and left questions once again, after this far too common violent form of attack, about why these things happen.

But this attack has also raised questions about how police confront bad guys like this.

The police chief of Toronto praised the officer who arrested the suspect in the middle of a city street, the dramatic scene caught on cell phone video as it was happening.  You can watch the video.

But it shows the guy, having gotten out of his weapon of death, his rented van, pointing what appears to be a gun directly at a police officer who has his gun drawn just a few yards away.  The cop is yelling to the guy to get down on the ground. The guy does not and appears to yell “shoot me. The cop moves closer and keeps telling the guy to get down.  He finally does. The cop moves in and quickly handcuffs him. The police chief later said the guy did not have a gun in his hands but something else.

Coincidentally, just shortly before that happened, something very similar happened in Nashville Tennessee where a police officer confronted the guy wanted for killing four people at a Waffle House restaurant the day before. The cop knew this guy was probably armed, and he did find a gun and ammunition in his backpack, but no shots were fired in the arrest.

The arrests in these incidents cases could have turned out very differently.  With the suspects or the cops being wounded or killed.

But these two cases reveal the split-second life, death and public safety decisions that police officers in cities everywhere have to make.

(Photo credit Getty Images)

Deadly Toronto Van Attack 4-23-2018  Getty Images

Deadly Toronto Van Attack 4-23-2018 Getty Images