The Fine Line in Deadly Force

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

A routine traffic stop turned into a high speed chase, landing 36-year-old Donny Earl Allen Jr., 26-year-old James Cody Taylor, and 38-year-old Ricardo Graham in jail.

Police say, marijuana was found in Allen’s car, and while he waited behind his truck, Taylor hopped into the driver’s seat, sped off, and hit Dothan Police Sergeant Deborah Devane.

Before it was all over, Taylor rammed the truck into a trooper’s car.

So, the question is when is deadly force appropriate?

"If that person is combative or they are struggling with that person they will not use deadly force" explains Dothan Police Captain Nick Monday. However, deadly force could be appropriate "…If that person is in possession of a knife or firearm or if they are in a car driving toward that officer."

Dothan Police say it’s rare they pull out their guns.

They have night sticks and tasers, to try and curtail using a bullet.

However, the department is no stranger to implementing the deadly force tactic.

In 2000, former Dothan Police Officer David Driskall fired six rounds into a car reported stolen. Five bullets hit the driver.

It was ruled that the driver, John Pittman had attempted to run over Driskall.

"If that person is approaching, they are going to shoot for center mass, in an effort to stop that person" Captain Monday says.

It has been confirmed shots were fired during Friday’s high speed chase, but who shot them and where they came from are still under investigation.

Officers and deputies go through intense training regarding the use of deadly force.

We spoke with officials at the Houston County Sheriff's Department and they say they train deputies to use any means necessary before pulling out their gun.

A fourth passenger got away in last week’s chase. Dothan Police ask if you have any information about him, to call (334) 615-3000.


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