BOWLING GREEN —
“Even though this is my aiming zone, I’m not always going to hit it,” Payne said.
In any confrontation with a suspect, Payne testified that an officer’s focus must be in gaining control of the suspect’s hands.
“The hands are the most, and I can’t stress this enough, important thing in law enforcement as far as control,” Payne said.
It is imperative for an officer to gain control of a suspect, Payne testified, which entails being able to properly handcuff the suspect’s hands behind his back and have the suspect obey verbal orders.
“Once control is achieved, force must cease,” Payne said.
Defense attorneys and prosecutor Sanjay Patel gave Payne several “hypothetical” situations, describing different descriptions of the Feb. 24, 2010, encounter between law enforcement officers and Billy Randall Stinnett.
Putting himself in the situation, Payne said that if he came around a corner during a chase and was face-to-face with a frantic Stinnett in a dead end who was not surrendering, the distance between he and the suspect would determine a lot about his reaction. No officer should go into a situation with a predetermined reaction, Payne said. If Stinnett appeared to have something in his hands and was not obeying vocal commands, Payne said a baton would be an appropriate tool to pull out. There is no time to determine exactly what is in Stinnett’s hands, Payne testified, and use of force with the baton would be reasonable.
If he rounded that corner and saw Stinnett put his hands behind his head and start to go to the ground, Payne testified that he would still not be comfortable with the situation as a law enforcement officer because he would not be able to see Stinnett’s hands. He would request Stinnett to show his hands, and if he did not comply, Payne said he would still consider use of the baton to be appropriate, even if Stinnett was not fleeing. Payne might have pulled his firearm if a suspect hid his hands like that, he said.