The day following the shooting, Paul, a victim in the Rip Off, was being disconnected from life support. There wasn't a dry eye as his young son hugged every nurse on the floor and said, "Thanks for looking out for my Daddy..."
Sometimes sharp wits, quick decisions, a flexible mind and proficient verbal skills may not save you from being killed in a Rip Off.
My goal in writing Street Fighter Part Five is not to rekindle sad memories but to focus our attention on a glaring leadership and training deficiency within law enforcement. Undercover Narcotic Agents in many instances lack the critical skills to fight and prevail in a blitz attack in confined spaces. On our Street Fighter journey we will think our way through a gun battle and will focus on correcting this lack of critical skills.
Undercover Narcotic Agents negotiate with different criminal types with two singular behaviors. Asset predators have a tendency to adhere to explicit patterns: codes of conduct that help them avoid apprehension. Action predators have not established any rules of behavior. It is this lack of boundaries that make action predators so dangerous.
Asset predators will typically leave the scene of the crime taking their booty with them while action predators will murder their prey.When an asset predator robs an undercover agent he may typically say "give me the money right now and you won't get hurt." If you follow what he says you probably won't be harmed. Action predators frequently start in a similar way and then the victimization begins. An indicator that the deal is about to go bad is if the action predator will try to get the undercover agent to move to a different location. That gives him the time and privacy to kill the agent.
It is important to remember you can never allow yourself to believe anything a predator tells you. This misplaced trust has been the downfall of many undercover agents.
You only have to make one mistake, get it wrong once and it will end tragically for you. You must immediately react to what is actually occurring and not freeze. It is now too late to figure out a new strategy.
Review the attached film clip from 7 October 1999 from Monroeville, Alabama. An undercover officer whose truck had been wired for video and sound was negotiating for a twenty-dollar rock. He followed the dealer to a different location. Due to a communication failure, surveillance lost the undercover. According to Standard Operating Procedure, the dealer was not to be allowed to get into the undercover vehicle. The dealer forced entry to the vehicle and immediately pulled a pistol. A desperate fight was on. The Monroeville narcotic officer displayed determination, tenacity and an unwavering will to win the fight. You only lose the fight if you mentally quit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aO75HVHQWc
During a Rip Off, our ability to think and act rationally is significantly reduced by the startle factor. Our ability to function under extreme stress is hindered. Only through scenario and mental imagery can we keep ourselves from falling victim to indecision, fear and panic.
All problems have a solution. The problem you immediately face in a Rip Off is a gun aimed at you. This is why you must stay calm and clear so you can determine a course of action. When you are faced with the necessity of having to use deadly force, you must be committed to the fight. You must spend time learning how to remain calm and pick up on the threats before they develop. Be smart and do not put yourself into a situation that deteriorates. Do not lose control of the deal.
In a Rip Off, your assailant may surprise you and you will be starting from a position of disadvantage. You are now reacting to his motions and will need to fend off his attack with your hands before you can draw your pistol. Your pistol will not be brought into the fight until you have passed through the time frames of your reaction time and your draw stroke.
If too much time is wasted clawing the pistol from concealment, the undercover appears to the attacker as a non-defending target. Undercovers must be trained to respond with the appropriate reaction to the threat based on the amount of time available. Suddenly you recognize that the dealer you have been negotiating with is going to attempt to kill you. The amount of time it takes for you to initiate an aggressive response is astoundingly long. I cannot emphasize how important it is for the undercover agent to grasp how long it takes to react and win the fight.
You may have been given the erroneous advice that during a Rip Off you should comply with the predator's demands because he simply wants to take your money and flee the scene. What if he doesn't want a witness? You are dead. Compliance does not necessarily guarantee your safety. Placing your life in the hands of a predator committing a felony is a hideous idea.
If you are trapped in a Rip Off you need to immediately start searching for an opportunity to defend yourself. This opportunity may not be at the initial moment of the Rip Off. You need to wait for that split second instant when the predator is not focused on you so you can counterattack. You must launch the attack without hesitation, with great resolve and grit. If you wait too long it may be too late.
If possible, do not stay in the Kill Zone if you can escape. Many times during a Rip Off the undercover agent gets struck with decision paralysis. Either run or fight. Every second you freeze with inertia you allow the predator another opportunity to kill you.
It is vital that when you are working undercover during face-to-face negotiations you know the difference between fear management and danger management.
Fear signals you to be vigilant but it is the particular threat you need to focus on, not the fear itself. In other words, pay attention to the danger signals you are picking up from the predator with whom you are negotiating that you feel are putting you in jeopardy. Now identify the underlying behavior that is setting off your "sight sense" then be prepared to act quickly and decisively. In other words trust your instincts.
You have to know what you are looking for in danger signals. This can be broken down into two components: awareness of your environment as well as timing. Awareness of your environment encompasses paying attention to your intuition and what is happening around you. Awareness of timing is the predator pushing too hard to do the deal.
When the red flag indicators of environment and timing merge you should kick into high gear.
While working undercover you must have a constant expectation of violence and not misplaced derring-do: I'm sure I'll see the Rip Off coming. I'm carrying a gun and badge. I'm the good guy. I'll be okay.
We can only effectively respond to a blitz attack provided we expect it. If we are able to pick up on even a smidgen of warning this might mean the difference between freezing and panic as opposed to a controlled counterattack.
When undercover you must function on a continual cycle of what ifs where you imagine how many ways you can be attacked. By developing your expectations for sudden violence you will prevent your brain from locking up in a frozen state of panic; I can't believe this S.O.B. is trying to kill me! You must be constantly evaluating your situation. This could be the time when I will have to fight for my life. If you anticipate violence, it could be the difference between fight or fright.
You must build your awareness skills on top of your expectations for violence when negotiating with predators. Establish and maintain expectations of how the predator might try to harm you. Always anticipate how the deal might take a turn for the worse. Always be prepared with a sudden and violent counter to the predator's attack.
Just because you successfully completed the deal and are heading back to the office to process the evidence, do not permit yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security. Keep some of your surveillance team with you in case the dealer is having you followed because he is suspicious that you are a cop. Also, a rival drug gang may be aware of the deal and have targeted you to be Ripped Off.
You must seek out training from competent instructors and then constantly run drills to validate what you have been taught. Confidence is born of knowledge and skills.
The FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) as well as other Tier One SWAT teams. They do not acquire their unique skill sets necessary for their mission accomplishment from their academy trainers. They go to outside vendors. The skill sets required for a Narcotic Agent to prevail in a blitz attack in a confined space will also not be taught by academy instructors. Most self-defense techniques taught by academies are no different than what is taught at the neighborhood YMCA or Boys & Girls club.
Prove this to yourself. Go to your local junkyard and pick up a jalopy. Go one on one in the jalopy's front seat with your department's self-defense instructor in an all-out fight similar to the Monroeville, Alabama Rip Off. Then you be the judge as to the adequacy of your fighting skills.
You can obtain funding for training from the U.S. Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program. It provides some asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law, particularly in instances where local law enforcement officers have a relationship with DEA as part of a joint task force.
Let's face it; there isn't any pleasant way to fight. There is no other way to describe it. You are faced with a ferociously vicious kill or be killed encounter. You have a choice, you win or you die. If you find yourself in a fight for your life, you must fight hard which means you will probably have to cause real physical harm to your attacker. This means you must inflict severe enough injury to your attacker so that he is no longer physically or mentally able to continue his assault on you. This means for you to be able to prevail before the attack happens you must think about it ahead of time and train, train, train. Always keep a very important fact foremost in mind; your assailant has already made the decision to kill you.
Your attacker's eyes are the most unprotected and unshielded targets. If your attacker can't see, he can't hurt you. The eye gouge is always effective. Use your thumb against the inside of your attacker's eye socket and exert force toward the outside of his head. If your attacker is on top of you grab the back of his head and press your fingers into his eye sockets and pull his head onto your hand. If you have your attacker in a headlock drive your thumb into an eye and pull his head forward painfully stretching his neck as you continue to drive your thumb into his eye.
If your attacker drives you back onto the car seat, as you fall back hook his eye with your mantis finger and rip to the side. Flicking may not seem powerful and it isn't if you strike his body. When delivered to the eye, it is extremely painful and will cause severe injury. If you are restrained on the ground and can't move your arms, but if your fingers are near your attacker's eyeballs, go for his eyes. Same move if your attacker has your arms caught against your chest. Also you can pinch and squeeze, pinch and pull or pinch and rip his eyelid.
Fighting inside your vehicle is not easy; there are certain principles you want to follow since your range of motion is limited. You can't just think if and when it happens you will somehow get lucky, it won't work that way. You must keep your attacker's weapon from being thrust directly at you. You need to transition from keeping the weapon away from you and attacking. You must trap and pin your attacker and get yourself into a controlling position, then you must eliminate the threat.
If seated in the vehicle, you have to shift your weight to prevent your attacker from getting on top of you. It will not work to hit your attacker and try to get out the door. You can't fight by staying oriented at twelve o'clock and fight your attacker who is at your three o'clock. You must use your outside leg as a post to push off the floor well and free your hips to face your three o'clock threat. Raise your right knee up onto the seat giving you dominant height and advantage over your attacker.
In a life and death battle you may be fighting through horrid injuries while trying to stave off your attacker. You must always be prepared with a fallback tactic. Fights are most frequently lost by those who simply quit fighting rather than by those who are exhausted. You must cripple your attacker before he can do the same to you.
This is precisely what happened in a life or death struggle a West Virginia State Trooper recently faced. While attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a violent suspect, the suspect attempted to escape. After a short foot chase, the trooper caught up with him in a stream. The fugitive attacked and attempted to choke and drown the trooper in the stream. The trooper was unable to reach his pistol because it was pinned under his body on the creek's bed. As the trooper gasped and gulped for air, he was able to reach the knife that he carried on his off side. The trooper stabbed his attacker repeatedly in the torso and face in an attempt to stop the assault. The attacker fled the scene and was later arrested in the woods by other troopers.
In 1943, Eric Sykes and W.E. Fairburn pioneered knife fighting for the Office of Strategic Service (OSS) operators who were to jump behind enemy lines. What kept the West Virginia State Trooper alive was his knife. A knife may also keep you alive during a blitz attack in a confined space.
When you defend yourself with a knife your attacker has two spots he instinctively protects; his throat and stomach. The throat area is vulnerable to your thrust or slash, the thrust being the most effective when driven into the hollow at the base of the throat. A thrust into the jugular vein, or a slash on either side of the neck cutting the arteries which furnish blood to the brain, results in extreme loss of blood and death in a very short time.
A deep wound in the abdomen will cause death if unattended. The heart is a vital spot but the protection of the ribs makes it difficult to hit. One of the most effective knife strikes is delivered to the kidney, causing great shock, internal hemorrhage and often death. A slash attack against your opponent's gun hand renders the hand useless. A slash across the biceps has the same effect as does a slash on the inside of his thighs.
Apprehension and fear are normal when fighting an armed assailant in the Kill Zone. Therefore, the jury needs to consider whether your actions in responding with either empty hand techniques or with your knife were those of a reasonable person experiencing apprehension and fear. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. United States "detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife."
Objective reasonableness requires that your actions be the same as a reasonable and prudent person, in the same or similar circumstances, who possesses the same physical characteristics, specialized knowledge and same mental characteristics, as you did at the time you used defensive force. Any specialized knowledge you wish to use at trial to justify reasonableness at the time of the encounter must be acquired prior to the encounter, not after the fact. Subjective reasonableness looks at whether you actually believed what you were doing was legitimate.
A fundamental principle of self- defense addresses the "imminence" of an attack. Black's Law Dictionary defines "imminence" as immediate danger, such as must be instantly met, such as cannot be guarded against by calling for the assistance of others or the protection of the lawsuch an appearancce of threatened and impending injury as would put a reasonable and prudent man to his instant defense.
Imminence is necessary for your actions to be deemed lawful self-defense. It goes to the very heart of self-defense's moral justification: necessity. If there are alternatives, then responding with force isn't necessary.
In self-defense we must examine the concept of "proportionality." The force you used in self-defense cannot be greater than the force you are threatened with. So if your attacker is using non-deadly force you can't use deadly force. You must keep in mind that a fight can start at a non-deadly level and quickly escalate to a deadly force level.
Deadly force is any force that can cause death, permanent disfigurement, serious physical injury, and long-term damage to the function of any part of the body. Non deadly force is any physical force that doesn't meet the death or serious bodily harm threshold.
While assigned to the FBI Academy in 1987, my office was located directly below the gun cleaning room. The office was of great historical significance for at one time it had been J.Edgar Hoover's bedroom when he visited the academy. Next door, my good friend Bob Taubert worked out of Clyde Tolson's bedroom. Bob was one of the Special Ops and Research Unit plank owners. We often joked, "If these walls could only talk!"
One Friday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk pondering what one of the narcotic officers in our tactical survival course had told me about the circumstances that led to the shooting death of his partner who had been working undercover. His team had taken all the necessary precautions: good intelligence workups, surveillance and comprehensive operational plan. Despite all the planning, the dealer executed the officer in his vehicle for the flash roll.
Bob stopped by my office after his workout and I told him I was struggling with possible courses of action that may have saved the officer's life. Bob suggested we head down to the subbasement where the FBI Behavioral Science Unit was housed. We spent a couple hours brainstorming with these world-renowned experts. One of the FBI agents said a pre assault indicator that could alert an undercover agent would be a sudden change in the attacker's demeanor. If the attacker suddenly appeared totally calm, it could mean he had already struggled through the most difficult of decisions, to kill. Now he was committed to act, to kill.
The behavioral science agents told me they would like to pursue this further but they were inundated with their own heavy workload. They proposed that DEA assign them an agent for a month or two. Jointly they would formulate a groundbreaking study that would significantly impact the safety of undercover agents.
I knew an agent who would be perfect for the assignment. R.M. had been a Maryknoll priest with a doctorate in psychology, a paratroop chaplain assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division before leaving the priesthood to become a DEA agent. R.M. had been on my Oakland Division SWAT team. When I phoned and asked if he were interested, he immediately jumped at the opportunity. I drafted the proposal and submitted it to the Suits. Then I waited for a response. It was like firing a BB into a watermelon. The watermelon just sucks the BB in and it disappears. The Suits never acted on the proposal.
The USMC has recently adopted a strategy called "disruptive thinkers", those Marines who think outside the box and challenge the status quo. The commandant wants solutions and leaders to serve as advocates to accelerate ideas to decision makers. He is looking to bypass the bureaucracy and harness the cognitive, creative, innovative thinking of Marine grunts who always have ideas but rarely the opportunity to see those ideas progress to experimentation and application. In sum the commandant remarked "it will start raining goofy ideas, and goofy ideas are okay because they are well intended and there is a pony in there somewhere, we just have to find the ponies and let them run." Law enforcement Suits should pay heed.
At 1100 hours on a clear sunny day in January 2015 tragedy befell the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Following policy two APD undercover officers were seated in their customary designated places (i.e. the driver's seat and the rear driver side seat). These arrangements were used by APD to ensure that all law enforcement officers knew of the location of the undercover officers. This seating protocol was intended to prevent a friendly fire mishap from occurring. As a further means of preventing a crossfire situation from happening, after the bust signal was given, arresting officers would tactically approach from one direction, the side of the vehicle where the suspects were sitting.
The lieutenant's approach to the undercover officer who was seated in the back of the vehicle was improper, dangerous, violated protocol and placed all officers who were involved in the operation that day in an extremely dangerous crossfire situation. The lieutenant was the commander of the narcotic unit and had worked closely for two years with the undercover officer he shot.
The lieutenant shot the undercover officer twice from a distance of five feet, then repositioned himself and shot him another seven times. The lieutenant, who had failed to attend the pre raid briefing, approached the vehicle from the side where the undercover officers were seated and not from the suspect side. The undercover officer posed no threat and was screaming to the lieutenant not to continue shooting him as he crawled across the seat in a desperate attempt to save himself.
The officer who was shot was wearing specific colored clothing as an additional safety protocol that was intended to make the undercover officer readily recognizable to APD law enforcement personnel in order to prevent a friendly fire incident.
The lesson learned for undercover officers is that you must remain super vigilant during the negotiation phase of the operation and you are still at high risk during the apprehension phase. You must have input into the operational plan and nix any and all elements you deem will place you in undue jeopardy. Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li7gkPOkL1M
I am frequently asked the question, "How do I know if during a Rip Off the drug dealer is going to shoot me?" I only have one answer, "I don't know, trust your gut feeling."
All shooting situations are different and firsthand. We have to consider the conditions leading up to the attack, the predator's state of mind and personality. Obviously if he shoots your partner there is a good chance you are going to get shot next. When undercover, you must prepare yourself to react aggressively to extreme levels of physical violence during an armed attack. You cannot slide into a state of denial, shock or numbness.
You are going to have to make a quick decision based on the totality and dynamics of the situation. No one will ever be able to tell you what to do. Keep in mind that during a Rip Off you are face to face with pure evil, a predator heel-bent on your slaughter. You must steel yourself both mentally and physically as a Street Fighter to face a violent, deadly blitz attack. Otherwise, this is the day you will likely die.
As a Warrior you want to be as strong as you can. An undeniable fact is the stronger person will win in a fight. You must be stronger than your attacker, not bigger, but stronger. Every gym session needs to work toward these goals: mobility, flexibility, strength, power, explosiveness and injury prevention. We know from first-hand experience that stronger Street Fighters are harder to kill. You must become stronger as the fight goes on, not weaker. You can greatly increase your strength and thus your survivability by using Kettle bells. Shooting accuracy skills can be sharpened with practicing the Speed Test.
A Kettle bell is a traditional Russian training tool that has been around more than a hundred years and is used to develop total body conditioning and fitness.The many benefits of Kettle bell training include: improved strength, incredible endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, injury prevention, mental toughness, and lean muscle mass and core strength. You can do Kettle bell workouts anywhere, at any time.
|Kettle bell Exercises|
|Movement||Execution Time||Rest Period||One-Arm Swing - right arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||One-arm Swing - left arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||Front Squat - right arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||Front Squat - left arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||Push Press - right arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||Push Press - left arm||20 seconds||10 second rest||Two-Arm Swing||20 seconds||10 second rest||Two-Arm Swing||20 seconds||10 second rest|
Fundamental Accuracy Speed Test
At a distance of 7 yards
Load pistol with magazine holding 2 rounds
Spare magazine in pouch holding 4 rounds
Shoot from holster
Draw from concealment
Fire 2 rounds on a 3" x 5" card at head level of target
Perform Slide Lock Reload
Fire 4 rounds on an 8" plate at chest level of target
SCORING THE SPEED TEST
Misses to 3" x 5" card add 1 second per miss
Misses to 8" plate add 2 seconds per miss
Tier One: Less than 5 seconds
Tier Two: Less than 7 seconds
Tier Three: Less than 10 seconds
NO GO: Over 10 seconds
A leader sets the example always placing the mission and his men ahead of himself. He displays calm determination under stress, endurance during fatigue, alertness when others would dangerously relax, and readiness for whatever lies ahead.
We may belong to different law enforcement agencies but we share the same heat and cold. United on a common mission we sweat, endure pain and shed blood and tears together. Shoulder to shoulder on the mean streets and back alleys we try to make our neighborhoods safer. We fight a common enemy: terrorists, drug peddlers, and predators. As the Street Fighters of today, we are all committed to keeping alive the warrior spirit of the past.