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Man Dies After Police Utilize ‘Less-Lethal’ Tactics

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Azle Police car | Image by Flickr

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A man died earlier this week following the use of “less-lethal” tactics by police to halt his alleged armed advances.

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, at around 7:30 a.m. in Azle, Texas, police responded to the 700 block of Boyd Road, near Highway 199, after reports of a man wielding a knife and making threats.

Police arrived at the scene and attempted to deescalate the situation. However, the knife-wielding man allegedly continued to behave aggressively and approached the officers.

According to a press release, the police used less-lethal force to stop the man.

An officer deployed his taser, but it was “ineffective at stopping the armed man’s attack.” Then, a second officer fired a shotgun containing bean bags, striking the man. Police said the bean bag stopped the man from advancing, but he still refused to drop his knife.

When the suspect allegedly attempted to move toward officers again, a second bean bag was deployed.

After the second bean bag struck that man, police said the man then followed officers’ commands and dropped the knife.

Officers provided first aid until EMS arrived and the suspect was transported to a local hospital, where he later died. The man was identified as 28-year-old George Gordon III of Azle.

His cause of death was determined to be “blunt force injuries of the chest and abdomen,” according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s website.

Azle Police Department has requested that the Texas Rangers investigate the incident.

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that while there are documented cases of suspect deaths due to less-lethal force, it does decrease the probability of suspect injury. The odds are significantly lower when officers use tasers or pepper spray instead of physical force from batons, flashlights, hands, feet, or body weight. The use of less-lethal tactics requires intensive situational training.

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Thomas Scott
Thomas Scott
6 months ago

That is why they are referred to as less-than-lethal rather than non-lethal options now. Anything can happen, but the intent is to opt for a less than lethal option when possible to stop the aggression.

Last edited 6 months ago by Thomas Scott