The methods used by police in this example are typical of those used by people who have very little grappling experience – holding wrists and pressing down on the head without controlling the body. Two police hold the man who has been arrested for possession of a knife in a public place, while a crowd gathers which becomes a safety concern for the officers. Although the methods used are not causing harm (the suspect is lying on his side rather than face down, most of the officer’s weight is on his own feet and the knee is pressed into the head rather than neck), the knee on the head resembles the George Floyd incident which could quickly incite the crowd to intervene.
It is very likely the man was actively resisting and attempting to escape custody before this video clip starts, however it would not make sense to continue once he saw that a crowd had gathered and was filming. Playing the victim only makes sense, whether it is right or wrong. This video resulted in the police officer being suspended.
Matt Serra, shown in the second video restraining a man who had just threatened restaurant staff and attempted to punch him, sits in the mount position which has the man immobilised. Serra controls the wrists only to prevent him from grabbing and hitting, not as the primary method of control. It also allows the man to breathe and causes very little discomfort.
The man holding the baton made some errors:
- Allowed his opponent to close the distance when he had a tool which needs more range.
- Range can be managed by movement – he’s completely stationary.
- Flat posture, straight back, very likely standing with knees locked straight, does not appear to be in any kind of stance which would prepare him to respond in the split second required to move, defend or attack. His opponent constantly adjusts.
- Allowed opponent to grip his wrist. Difficult to swing baton effectively when grappling starts. The grip even from this position may allow opponent to stay off-centre when the baton swing comes.
- Furtive glance made by opponent is a huge warning sign. He has already decided to attack at this point and is looking for witnesses, other enemies or allies which may factor in to his decision to go ahead.
- Even if he decided to use the baton, it’s a poor weapon. Law enforcement use this as a method of pain compliance, and often need to move to other methods when it fails. Striking the legs is unlikely to instantly shatter kneecaps unless you’re very lucky/unlucky to hit that spot. You’re only starting the fight, not ending it. Swinging to the head would be a different matter.
- Compare the above (pain compliance) to the punches thrown to the head (incapacitation).
Baton man seems to think intimidation is enough to keep him safe. The baton is like some kind of force field, everything else can be ignored.
From this position, when would he decide to use it? Once the fighting starts? Too late, too close. When the man fails to step back? This may be considered unjustified assault. Baton man then made a threat to seriously harm, which prompted an aggressive response. He put himself in a situation which is very difficult to win.
Police officer attempts to take down resisting suspect with armbar, a technique commonly taught to police in many countries. This results in the officer failing to control the body of the suspect, and falling beneath him into a dangerous position. Luckily his colleague was competent and timely with the TASER.
Unfortunately this video ends too soon, however the point of interest is this officer’s lack of ability to control and take down the suspect. He uses wrists holds and loose head control which prevents the man from escaping until backup arrives, which is gets the job done ultimately.
A police officer unsuccessfully attempts to handcuff a suspect by holding his wrists, an approach which is only effective when the suspect is compliant. As this video demonstrates, it is not difficult to twist out of the position. Even if physical restraint and control can be achieved by a single officer, locking on handcuffs may not be possible without assistance from multiple police.
These cops first attempt to control the man by grabbing the wrists, just as they have been trained to do. The suspect passively resists, denying control. The cop then moves to the schoolyard headlock which is similarly effective. OC spray is then used which also apparently does not work. A second man begins to intervene. Video ends with no resolution.