A community activist who has been highly critical of police agreed to take part in a use-of-force training scenario to see how he would react if confronted with uncooperative and aggressive suspects.
The Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who has led protests of the shootings and arrests of black suspects in the Phoenix area, engaged in a training exercise set up by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and recorded by KSAZ-TV.
The first scenario finds Maupin, who is not a trained police officer, questioning a man he suspects might be attempting to break into vehicles in a parking lot.
Maupin approaches the man, who says he’s looking for his car, and the “officer” asks him to describe the vehicle.
The man refuses to do so and steps behind the rear of an SUV, pulls a gun from his waistband and “shoots” Maupin.
“When he came to the back of the vehicle and started hiding, I could sense something was wrong,” Maupin said.
In the second scenario, Maupin confronts two men arguing and shoving one another.
He asks the men what’s going on, and the larger of the two men quickly and aggressively rushes toward Maupin – who takes several steps back with his gun drawn before he “shoots” the man.
Maupin told the TV station afterward that he felt threatened when the man rushed toward him.
“I shot because he was within that zone, I felt that imminent threat,” said Maupin, who then describes himself in third person, as officers are trained to do. “I didn’t necessarily see him armed, but he came clearly to do some harm to the officer — to my person. It’s hard to make that call — it shakes you up.”
Maupin wrestles a burglary suspect to the ground in the third scenario, but the man refuses to comply as the “officer” asks whether he’s armed.
But the activist doesn’t “shoot” the suspect, who is carrying a knife in his waistband, in this scenario.
KSAZ reporter Troy Hayden goes through the same scenarios before watching video of Maupin, and he reacts the same way in each case.
Maupin explained afterward that the experience had changed his attitudes toward police use of force.
“I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this – yes, my attitude has changed,” Maupin said. “This is all unfolding in 10 to 15 seconds. People need to comply with the orders of law enforcement officers for their own sake.”
Watch video from the training exercise posted online by KSAZ-TV: