Prickett: Justice for Ronald Davis

Ed. Note: Greg Prickett is former police officer and supervisor who went to law school, hung out a shingle, and now practices criminal defense and family law in Fort Worth, Texas. While he was a police officer, he was a police firearms instructor, and routinely taught armed tactics to other officers.

On September 15, 2019, St. Paul Police Officer Steven Mattson shot and killed Ronald Davis at the intersection of Griggs and Thomas. The usual groups immediately started protesting, calling for justice for Davis. There’s only one problem. This isn’t the horse that they want to be riding, because justice was administered to Ronald Davis at the scene.

You see, the St. Paul police released the body cam footage of the incident, where Davis’ car rammed the back of the squad car, and where Davis viciously attacked Martin with a knife before Martin even got completely out of the car. Martin fought back, for his life, and Davis continued to attack. So Martin did the only thing that he could do to survive: he shot Davis repeatedly.

I taught police use of force and was a police firearms instructor for years. I’ve conducted dozens of criminal and internal affairs investigations. I’ve also called repeatedly for more thorough investigations of officer-involved shootings, by outside law enforcement agencies; for the use of outside special prosecutors; for more transparency by departments in releasing dash- and body-cam videos as soon as possible.  I’ve also pointed out that the activist community has valid points.

The problem here is that the activists do not have any better grasp on reality than the police do when the shooting is questionable, but the police take the officer’s side unquestioningly and the activists take the opposite side. This shooting could not be any more clear cut. It was completely justifiable, and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.

13 thoughts on “Prickett: Justice for Ronald Davis

  1. Ahaz01

    I’m very critical of the casualness that law enforcement deploy any type of force. And I certainly don’t subscribe to the “awful but lawful” theory. But this officer was given little choice in his actions. However, I will state that this suspect would have been subdued in Britain, where they are trained to deal with edged weapons.

    1. SHG Post author

      The point is that teams line up whenever a cop kills. It’s not that every shooting shouldn’t be seriously scrutinized, but sometimes the shoot is righteous no matter how many boxes the dead guy checks.

    2. Gregory Prickett

      They are trained to deal with edged weapons in the United States, too. It’s very simple–if you attack someone with a deadly weapon, you can expect to get shot.

      Second, you have absolutely no clue what would have happened in Britain. The officer may have prevailed in hand to hand, or the officer may have been killed. Or, if the officer was part of the 1/3rd of the force that was armed, he may have shot him to death. In any event, there is no way for you to know what would or would not have happened in Britain.

      1. Ahaz01

        Actually, I have a pretty good idea. If my brief perusal of the net is accurate, only 1 British citizen lost their life at the hands of police in 2018. As you know, their biggest threat is the edged weapon. Somehow they seem to handle those incidents without killing suspects and avoiding serious injury to officers. And you’re correct, our police are trained very well at firing their weapons….at any perceived threat.

        1. James McMullin

          Uh right… place this incident anywhere and the results would be the same. It’s one thing to have a static blade wielding individual threatening to attack as opposed to someone ramming your vehicle and immediately charging at you with a bladed weapon. The officer is just processing that he was hit from behind, he was transiting from his vehicle when he was attacked. Place this situation in Britain, the results would be the same. Ask any expert over there. What I haven’t seen is how many officers are injured from attacks. I speak as someone with 20 years law enforcement and decades of martial arts.

  2. B. McLeod

    Killing someone in self defense is justifiable, but not necessarily “justice.” It happens for entirely different considerations, and with an eye to self-preservation, not whether death is a punishment deserved by the attacker.

        1. Warren

          Ouch! I guess I can’t hate all lawyers if they got a sense of humor. I’m stating to like you Scott. Are you going to blog about Amber Guyer? That will be a interesting verdict. I know an outstanding young man who graduated from Harding university. BTW this common man may not agree with you all the time but I like your blog. Very few things are Black and White, there is a whole lot of grey. Thinking about sending a small donation (enough for a 12pak of yuengling). Keep an eye on your mailbox.

          1. SHG Post author

            Yeah, I’m starting to like you too. Wrote about Guyger recently. If there’s anything to add after the verdict, maybe I’ll write again. If I have no value to add to news, I don’t write about it.

            And thank you. One of these days. you should tell us more about you so we have some context. You might be surprised at the respect for common folks around here, as many of us wish we had decided to be a carp rather than a lawyer.

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