When the Atlanta police recently discovered that a driver, who was otherwise calm and cooperative was "over the alcohol limit" after a long and largely fruitless conversation (during which he failed a breath test) they suddenly, and without warning, attempted to put him in handcuffs? Why?

Presumably they had the suspect's address from his driving licence, the vehicle registration details etc i.e. all the information necessary to charge him with drink driving. (He was not actually driving - he was asleep in the car, albeit inconveniently parked.)

It was at the moment when, for reasons best known to them, they attempted to apply handcuffs that the trouble started.

Had they simply said:

"I'm afraid sir, you are in no state to drive, which means we shall have to charge you with being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, and will also have to impound your car. We shall be affixing a wheel clamp, which you can sometime tomorrow apply at the police station (address on this leaflet), to have removed at the cost of £150. Your failure to do that within 14 days will mean that the car will be sold by public auction and you will be sent the proceeds, less expenses. You will be receiving notice of intended prosecution at the address on the licence within the next 14 days. Your failure to respond to that will occasion a warrant for your arrest being sought."

"Good night sir".*

both they and the motorist might have gone on their way living to enjoy another day.

Why was it deemed necessary physically to restrain the man?

  • This example is not meant to be a precise indication of what might happen in the UK, as has been assumed by some people. It is simply my suggestion of what would, in my view, have been a more adult way for the police to have handled what appears to have been a less serious case of "drunk in charge".

8 Answers 8


Why do US police use handcuffs in otherwise calm, non-violent circumstances?

Because they have cause to fear escalation and because their training encourages it.

Since the question mentions UK currency and US policing, we can compare the two countries:


The US population is five times that of the UK. However deaths of police officers are 50 times as numerous. About 50 police officers killed in 2019 in USA, about one policeman killed a year in UK.

A police force in a US city of 1 million might deal with 50 intentional homicides a year.
A police force in a UK city of 1 million might deal with 12 intentional homicides a year.

This might account for some increased wariness and caution by US police officers

Policing principles

US police officers always have firearms. 95% of UK police officers do not carry any firearms.

Although it might seem that UK police officers are more vulnerable and might therefore be more inclined to use handcuffs or other restraints, it may be that UK police rely on the people they interact with knowing that the policeman in front of them won't shoot them. It is often said that UK policing is more consent oriented:

Policing by consent (UK) lists the principles of policing set out in 1829 as:

To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

and so on. Public approval is No 2 on that list.

In the USA, public opinion is less important, it comes in around principle 6 in this LAPD list


UK police policy on use of handcuffs

Any intentional application of force to the person of another is an assault. The use of handcuffs amounts to such an assault and is unlawful unless it can be justified. Justification is achieved through establishing not only a legal right to use handcuffs but also good objective grounds for doing so in order to show that what the officer or member of police staff did was reasonable necessary and proportionate use of force.

USA (LAPD) Guidance

The principle reason for handcuffing an arrestee is to maintain control of the individual and to minimize the possibility of a situation escalating to a point that would necessitate using a higher level of force or restraint. The decision to use restraining procedures and devices depends on common sense and good judgment. While felony arrestees shall normally be handcuffed, the restraining of misdemeanants is discretionary.

There is a clear difference in tone. The UK starts with the presumption that handcuffing is an assault. In the US it is introduced as a restraint.

  • 82
    To expand a bit on firearms: in the UK merely possessing a firearm without a license is a serious crime carrying a maximum 14 years in prison. As a result most criminals do not carry firearms, because there is no point in carrying one unless people know about it, and when the police find out they will not only come to arrest you, they will have lots of guns when they do it. OTOH if you don't carry a gun then the police who arrest you won't be carrying guns either. Britain is a living refutation of that NRA line about "when guns are outlawed..." Jun 16, 2020 at 14:25
  • 4
    to put some more numbers on it the rate of homicides in London is around 1.5 per 100,000 people. Many major US cities have rates that are 20 times that (Chicago, LA, Detriot, a bunch of others), with the deadliest city (St. Louis) being about 44 times the rate in London. NYC is a bit of an outlier on the US side but is still has several times the violent crime that London has.
    – eps
    Jun 16, 2020 at 18:38
  • You and OP use the UK as an example which is itself near the upper end of the scale for intentional homicide rates in the EU. If I recall correctly, melee weapons, especially knives, are the British’s tools of choice here. Jun 18, 2020 at 16:40
  • @DavidFoerster The data you refer to put the UK at 13th amongst 32 European countries, which is a disgrace. The UK rate of intentional homicides is 1.2 per hundred thousand people. The US rate is 4.96. That's not a disgrace, it's an abomination Sep 9, 2020 at 1:16

Guidance on use of handcuffs is given at the police department level. Specifically for Atlanta Police Department:

4.1.6 Arrest Procedures

  1. Employees will use only that force which is reasonable and necessary to affect an arrest or restraint, and to ensure the safety of the arrestee, the officers, and others.
  2. Only restraining devices issued by the Department and techniques authorized by the Training Unit will be utilized in the restraint, transportation, and detention of arrestees.
  3. All persons will be treated courteously, humanely, and with regard for their legal rights.
  4. Handcuffs should be used whenever a suspect is physically arrested, both at the time of arrest and during transport, regardless of the offense being charged. Handcuffs will be applied before a person is searched and should be double locked, with the arrestee’s hands placed behind the back. Arrestees should remain handcuffed until placed in the custody of the appropriate detention facility personnel.
  5. At the time of arrest, the arresting officer(s) will: a. Identify himself or herself as a police officer, visually and/or verbally; b. Inform the arrestee of the reason for their arrest; c. Handcuff the person with the handcuffs “double locked”; d. Immediately upon handcuffing, pat down the arrestee for weapons;

So the policy of the Atlanta PD is to use handcuffs as part of any arrest. This is done to ensure that

2.2 All persons who are subject to arrest will be properly searched, restrained, and transported in a manner that ensures the safety, security, and welfare of the employee(s), the general public, and the arrestee(s).

In the specific case you mention, you also question why an arrest was made rather than just impounding the vehicle and issuing a notice of intended prosecution. Arrests are made in DUI cases due to the necessity that the accused be aware and cognizant of the situation and proceedings, something which is likely to be challenged in court if the accused was drunk at the time, the need to issue paperwork such as a temporary driving permit, and for the accused to be processed through the police and court system.

In addition, the numerical result of a roadside breath test is not admissible evidence in Georgia.

Interestingly, there is a real reason the result is not admissible in evidence. The Alco-Sensor result has not reached a level of scientific reliability required by Georgia Courts under the Harper standard. See Harper v. State, 249 Ga. 519 (1982).

It is, therefore, only used as an investigative tool to give police reasonable grounds to perform the arrest and take the suspect to perform an admissible breath/blood/urine test at the station.

  • 11
    Also, in Atlanta, as in the UK, a roadside breath test isn't enough to secure a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Cops are going to arrest you and take you for an evidential breath test at the station. And no way would that involve having a drunk unrestrained prisoner in the back of the car.
    – richardb
    Jun 16, 2020 at 13:42
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    @richardb That is a good point. I will admit I had forgotten that a blood test was necessary in the UK. But some years ago a guy, many times over the limit, (according to the breathalyser) ran into me and both cars were a write off. Police took him to the station for a blood test, but when they arrived he jumped out of the police car and ran away. It didn't do him any good because they knew who he was and simply arrested him the following day. But he was never handcuffed. To put someone in handcuffs is a very serious abuse of a person. Police do not assist law and order by abusing people.
    – WS2
    Jun 16, 2020 at 17:27
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    @WS2 "but when they arrived he jumped out of the police car and ran away." so it should be rather obvious why using handcuffs are a good idea. also even if you search someone for weapons / drugs there is no guarantee something hasn't evaded your detection. it should be rather easy to find examples where the lack of restraints during arrest led to additional injuries and or deaths, so unsurprisingly it is standard procedure.
    – eps
    Jun 16, 2020 at 18:32
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    @eps Where does the idea that if you treat people with dignity (as opposed to regarding them as worthless scum) that it will yield a dividend in better behaviour enter your thinking? If you consider this to be an unrealistic argument, may I suggest you look not at Britain, which has some of the worst crime statistics in Europe - but at places like the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia etc. They have some of the lowest rates of crime in the developed world and yet manage the most enlightened attitudes in their criminal justice policies etc.
    – WS2
    Jun 16, 2020 at 21:29
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    @WS2: In the US, it is legal to enslave anyone convicted of a serious crime (while they are imprisoned). Treating criminals with dignity is, sadly, not something my fellow Americans are interested in doing.
    – Kevin
    Jun 16, 2020 at 22:55

The answers so far seem to have missed a very practical reason*: to humiliate the person being arrested. It's part of the range of bullying tactics police like to use, from the "perp walk" where the arrested & handcuffed person is led (often forceably) through a gauntlet of media cameras, the publication of mug shots, harsh & repetative questioning, and so on. All designed to humiliate and intimidate the arrested person, with the goal of not only boosting the ego of the arresting officers, but of eliciting (often false) confessions.

*To be sure, this is not the only reason, but it is an important one.

Some support for the importance of humiliation in the persistance of the "perp walk" in the US:

That sort of public shaming has not disappeared, even if conducted in 21st-century America with less brutality. The modern version is known as a perp walk. As in days of old, a criminal suspect is displayed in front of a fevered crowd — composed now not of the howling masses but of camera and microphone holders pushing and shouting in sweaty pursuit of the best possible lens angle. ...

Opponents of the practice say it is intended not so much to serve justice as to give the police an opportunity to show off. But defenders say that the risk of being put through such public humiliation sends a “don’t do the crime” message to would-be malefactors, especially of the white-collar variety.

...[i]n 1995, a New York man under arrest was taken from a police station house, driven around the block and brought back to the station solely for the benefit of a late-arriving television crew. That was too much for a federal judge who in 1999 ruled in a lawsuit brought by the man that the intent was to humiliate him, with “no legitimate law enforcement objective or justification.” ...

When it comes to the rich and mighty — say, a Harvey Weinstein or a Martin Shkreli, the smirking hedge fund manager — there is an inescapable reality: Many people take pleasure in seeing them demonstrably brought low. For that reason alone, the perp walk seems destined to go on

For Shame: A Brief History of the Perp Walk - The New York Times

Is there any redeeming social value to the perp walk?

Well, it does perform some social functions. A community shaken by an act of deviancy wants reassurance that moral order has been restored, and a perp walk accomplishes this much more quickly than the courts can. But, then, so does a lynching.

The walk can also serve to provoke an emotion that is otherwise alien to New York: shame. For one brief moment, the perp loses the city's protective anonymity and feels, like Hester Prynne, the moral claustrophobia of a righteous community. Puritans can argue that this is good for the perp's soul, but let's not pretend we're doing it for his benefit. The perp walk is for everyone else. It honors the police, sells papers, boosts television ratings and entertains the public -- all at the expense of a person who is supposed to have the presumption of innocence.

THE BIG CITY; Walking the Walk - John Tierney, New York Times Magazine, October 30, 1994

  • 1
    @Bardicer Whether this is true or not, it does seem to be a widely-held belief that American police do use handcuffs as a form of deliberate humiliation. In the answer below (CDJB) the extract from LAPD rules says: Handcuffs should be used whenever a suspect is physically arrested...regardless of the offense being charged. Would this apply to someone charged with some white-collar crime never involving violence? Does no one consider this to be disproportionate?
    – WS2
    Jun 17, 2020 at 16:17
  • 13
    This is a rant, not an answer. But coming from a famous user, of course all criticism of this "answer" is quickly purged. If we want to fight against double standards, why not do it right here?
    – vsz
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:45
  • 6
    some sort of training manual/video, or a police chief on record on video or audio stating "we place people in handcuffs to bully, intimidate, and humiliate them" would be sufficient I think. As long as it is an official document stating that that is the official reason people are restrained. Otherwise your answer comes across as a simple rant and not an actual answer.
    – Bardicer
    Jun 17, 2020 at 19:44
  • 3
    I don't think there's much serious debate that the perp walk is designed in part to humiliate the accused, but the perp walk is a different circumstance from what the question is asking about, so while accurate, this doesn't seem to answer the question. You'd have to add a bit more connecting the perp walk with handcuffing of non-violent suspects during their arrest
    – divibisan
    Jun 19, 2020 at 18:37

Your title question and the body of the question are not quite the same.

Addressing the body of your question:

Why was it deemed necessary physically to restrain the man?

He was being placed under arrest. Driving under the influence of alcohol is not considered a "minor traffic violation" in the U.S. It's not a matter of a pay a $200 fine and pick up your car tomorrow. And it shouldn't be. Being hit by a drunk driver is one of the leading causes of death among young and middle-aged people in the United States. According to the U.S. CDC, 10,497 Americans died in 2016 due to alcohol-impaired driving. That accounted for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. that year and another 16% involved drugs other than alcohol, for a total of around 44% of all traffic-related deaths.

You mentioned that, in this particular case, he was "inconveniently parked" and not actually driving when they first encountered him, but how do you think he got there? It's not like he got drunk waiting in the drive-through line at Wendy's. He was already drunk before he started driving. Yes, the consequences of the arrest (if he had not resisted) were going to stink for him, but that's no one's fault but his own.

Personally, I'm rather sick of reading in the local news about how people died in another crash and the driver of the vehicle that caused it was charged with their 8th or so offense DUI and driving on a revoked license. (DUI means "Driving Under the Influence" of some drug, usually alcohol.) Frankly, sentences for this are usually not as severe as they should be.

As far as why police frequently restrain people being placed under arrest, this very incident seems to demonstrate the reason pretty well. Had he been in handcuffs, he would not have been able to grab an officer's taser, let alone aim it at another officer, and he would still be alive.

  • 1
    Do you think anything would change if the sentences were more severe? Obviously, there's people who don't care about the sentence either way. Most of those people were likely driving after having their license revoked, and they just don't care. You can hardly use force to enforce the law when you have no hope of applying sufficient force, and doing so would be highly frowned upon by the general public. "People shouldn't drive without a licence" is a reasonable sentiment. But try talking about how to achieve that by force: "We'll stop every driver on the road to check his papers"?
    – Luaan
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:36
  • 3
    That certainly wouldn't require checking every driver on the road, but rather, when someone is caught, the sentences would be more than a slap on the wrist. If someone is so selfish that they routinely drink and drive, then the way to stop them is going to be to having the consequences to them for doing so be strong enough to be a significant deterrent.
    – reirab
    Jun 18, 2020 at 15:37
  • 1
    @reirab The US has a huge rate of recidivism. There's plenty of things wrong with the US, but I don't think "too few people are in prison" is one of them. In the US, prison is still primary seen as punishment; if you look at countries like Norway, you'll see the primary purpose of prisons is to a) protect people, b) prepare the incarcerated for return to normal working society. Deterrents are very poor motivation for people; really, the whole idea of rewards and punishments doesn't work very well, and we've seen that over the whole of human history. It's little more than revanchism.
    – Luaan
    Jun 19, 2020 at 8:02
  • 1
    @Luaan I completely agree that the U.S. has way too many people in prison on the whole, but that's mostly unrelated to DUI. It's more a problem of handing out large prison sentences for stupid stuff like simple possession of pot, but also, like you said, not focusing on helping people with addictions and such overcome that and actually be ready to re-enter society. But DUI isn't mental illness; it's just selfishness. "Really, the whole idea of rewards and punishments doesn't work very well." On this point, we'll have to disagree. Economics has shown pretty clearly that they do, for example.
    – reirab
    Jun 19, 2020 at 15:45
  • 1
    @SurpriseDog Considering more people do it and far, far fewer people are killed by it, that doesn't seem like much of a "fact." Perhaps more dangerous at the very instance of the texting, but apparently not more dangerous over the course of the entire drive, considering far more people text than drive under the influence and yet DUIs kill about 6 times as many people as all distracted driving put together. I can't seem to find the NHTSA study (only a bunch of law offices saying they said that without an actual link,) so I'm not sure exactly what they found other than the statistics I mentioned
    – reirab
    Jun 19, 2020 at 23:39

The easiest answer is that the police in the US are train to treat everyone as a criminal. That’s why the interactions go the way they do. Countries like the UK are trained to understand the situation at hand before doing anything, then based on that making a decision on the proper actions.

The other big factor is guns. Cops in the UK don’t have to worry about people being armed. In the US, cops do.

  • 1
    Yes, the guns issue is well understood and documented. However your other comment is interesting. Are police in the US really trained to treat everyone as a criminal?
    – WS2
    Jun 17, 2020 at 15:59
  • @WS2 There are two types of "training". There's what is part of the official written training material, and there is the stuff you learn from older, more experienced people, as part of your on the job training. In one sense, their official training trains trains them to treat people as criminals, in that they are constantly looking at what people do and having to decide if the person is engaging in criminal behavior. This means they are constantly having to look at someone as a criminal, and decide if there's a crime being committed.
    – Patrick M
    Jun 17, 2020 at 16:44
  • 2
    It goes beyond that, in a lot of the culture. In many parts of the US, there's a culture of the police officers always being right, and everyone else always being wrong. In some places, if a police officer shoots someone, the report is always initially written up with the police officer who shot the suspect as being the victim. Google "Tamir Rice" and look for the leaked incident report, and who's listed as the "primary victim". Also, look up "State of Hawaii vs Keith T Matsumoto" which isn't important because of the initial actions of the police, but because it took two appeals to fix it.
    – Patrick M
    Jun 17, 2020 at 16:52
  • 2
    While this answer is not necessarily wrong about many cases, it doesn't seem like it really addresses either the case mentioned in this question or the issue of why handcuffs are used in an arrest. It was already well established that the person in question in that case had committed a (rather serious) crime before the police attempted to arrest him. They had been there for 40 minutes at that point; it wasn't just some immediate reaction of trying to throw cuffs on him.
    – reirab
    Jun 17, 2020 at 19:04
  • @PatrickM : your reasoning is strongly contradicted by the reports about this event. In most of the media (and even from many politicians) it was presented as his only crime was that he wanted to go to eat, and that he was shot because he was asleep in his car (even if the fight is mentioned later in passing, the title and the very first paragraphs give the above impression - and most readers only glance at the title and the first few paragraphs). Even CNN spent more words on his daughter having a birthday than on the actual events during the fight.
    – vsz
    Jun 18, 2020 at 4:53

Cuffing him was reasonable. He had, indisputably, committed a DUI. He was asleep in his car, in the middle of a drive-thru lane(so it's not a case of sleeping it off in a parked vehicle, he had to drive drunk to get it there), with a BAC of 1.5X the legal limit an hour and a half after after last driving it(it took about 40 minutes for the cops to respond to the complaint and they did the breath test about 40 minutes into the stop, so he was completely plastered when he last drove the vehicle). In Georgia, a DUI is a serious offense, carrying a penalty of at least one day in jail, that you always get arrested for and if you get arrested, you always get handcuffed:

When someone has a first DUI in Georgia they face the following potential penalties:

12 months of probation

A minimum fine of $300 plus court costs and surcharges

Between 1 - 10 days in jail, which many times can be waived

At least 40 hours of community service Substance abuse counseling

Attendance of the DUI Risk Reduction School (commonly referred to as DUI School) Attendance of a Madd Mothers Victim Impact Panel Drivers

License Suspension, with a limited permit to drive


P.S. This is not directly relevant to the question, but helps explain the situation more. The reason he suddenly started fighting when he was being arrested, is that he knew had an outstanding warrant for violating his domestic abuse probation and was going back to jail if arrested: https://lcapps.co.lucas.oh.us/onlinedockets/Docket.aspx?STYPE=1&PAR=CR201903217-000&STARTDATE=01%2F01%2F1900&ENDDATE=01%2F01%2F2100&PARTY=0&LCKEY=O8NlY8DUPG0ZtgQ8nh0PZA%3D%3D&fbclid=IwAR1Lf8RgUgBA7R629hCKe0AfhtnT0yB8dk09U0OkU7DqTvwcAkJYx2QHvWE


Here he is discussing it in an interview with a probation reform organisation a few weeks before his death: https://youtu.be/uSYZ-OJm3KQ

The cops did not know about his outstanding warrant yet and arrested him purely for the DUI, but this gives more context.

  • 8
    @WS2 I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Worthless scum? If you watch the body-cam video, you'll see that the cops were courteous and friendly throughout the encounter, right up until the point the guy started fighting them. The guy was friendly and courteous all throughout the encounter, right up to the point he realized he was getting arrested, at which point, his warrant would be discovered and he'd go to jail again for a long time. Who could have spoken to who any better?
    – Eugene
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:31
  • 6
    @WS2, your question is about the morality of cuffing him in the first place and how the situation could have been de-escalated before that. You've admitted, in a comment that you now appear to have deleted, that their conduct up to the point of arresting him was OK. I've shown you that A-they had no discretion in not arresting a drunk driver and B-that no amount of further de-escalation would have helped, since Brooks would have gone to prison for his outstanding warrant no matter what. If you want to discuss their actions after that, please create a separate question.
    – Eugene
    Jun 17, 2020 at 22:18
  • 4
    @WS2 "Shot in the back while running away" is an extremely disingenuous way of saying, "shot when turning back and aiming a taser stolen from another police officer at the police officer who is chasing you." There are legitimate questions over whether deadly force was needed to counter a taser in that situation - and that will be sorted out in court, as the officer in question has now been charged - but trying to brush it off as if he were just fleeing without posing a threat to anyway is simply wrong.
    – reirab
    Jun 18, 2020 at 6:03
  • 6
    @WS2 - Re:" At that point they may as well have let Brooks go"!? - are you seriously suggesting that the point at which a guy who is strong and violent enough to successfully fight off 2 cops steals a weapon is the one at which they should let him go!? Wow! Let's let all the people who are the most dangerous by definition go? What if he was running, not because of a probation violation warrant, but from a child rape warrant? Let him go too?
    – Eugene
    Jun 18, 2020 at 8:45
  • 4
    @WS2 Re:"it is not as if he was the kind who was going to get on the next flight to North Korea - during the lockdown. (If he was on parole I'm a little surprised he wasn't wearing an electronic tag.) He would have been easy enough to locate"-The reason he wasn't wearing a bracelet, is that he was already a wanted fugitive with an arrest warrant for his parole violation. But sure, let's just let him go, he'll be so easy to find!
    – Eugene
    Jun 18, 2020 at 8:48

I think a lot of the answers are venturing along the political lines of the issue - I'd like to tackle what I'd call the core of your question:

Why did the police arrest for the DUI instead of issuing a citation and locking/impounding the car?

After all, you've got a hypothetical alternative laid out, with a full potential spiel the officer could give the perp.

Awesome! Proposing alternatives is a great thing to do!

That said? Your alternative's much worse than the current approach. Why?

First up, you're stranding an inebriated person with no transportation. They might be a block from home; they might be 30+ miles away from safety. And again: this is a compromised person - they're drunk. Their ability to safely navigate a situation like that is definitely something to worry about.

Second, it's not removing them from a situation of Public Intoxication. The reason for Public Intoxication laws is largely to prevent people from disturbing/hurting fellow citizens or themselves. Sure, they're not driving any more, but you haven't actually removed them from the public sphere.

That's the main point of arresting for DUI. It gets an inebriated person out of a situation where they can hurt others (and themselves!) The main intent isn't the actual punishment - like you identified, the punishment could be done without hauling them to jail at that exact moment. The main intent is to tuck them away someplace where they can sober up in a context where the danger is removed. The incident in Atlanta is a really vivid outlier... but it doesn't compare to the number of lives that have been saved by 'drunk tanks'.

  • 2
    @WS2 They weren't in a parking lot trying to sleep one off - they were in the middle of the drive-thru - other patrons were having to drive their cars around the blockage. Someone so wasted that they can't navigate a drive-thru transaction doesn't strike me as someone "capable of taking care of himself for the night".
    – Kevin
    Jun 18, 2020 at 18:04
  • 2
    It takes an hour per drink to sober up. Someone passing out in a drive thru isn't going to be sober in a half-hour. I'm kinda confused how a policy of "Don't leave drunk people by themselves in a random spot with no form of transportation" is getting this level of reception. A policy of "Get DUI perps to a drunk tank where they can sober up safely" is a net life-saver. This particular case is in vivid contrast to it, but making policies off outlier cases is a bad way of making policy. You can argue with the force used or such, but the "DUI arrest" policy makes quite a bit of sense.
    – Kevin
    Jun 18, 2020 at 20:10
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    This is a good point which really gets to the heart of what people mean by "defund the police". He should have been removed from that situation and prevented from driving drunk, but because the only option to do so was to employ armed cops with a warrior mentality, the situation escalated resulting in his death. If the immediate goal is harm-reduction rather than punishment, it would be ideal if the people who dealt with him, whether they were part of the police or a separate group, were specialize in that.
    – divibisan
    Jun 18, 2020 at 20:10
  • 2
    To be honest, I think this goes to the point of the answer: it's apolitical. Divibisan and I are of opposite opinions on the police in the matter... but both of us think the idea of "Arrest for DUI" as opposed to vehicle lockdown make sense: it gets the person into a position they can sober up which is safer for everyone involved. If you've got an argument (one way or another) on the shooting itself, take it elsewhere: this answer is why handcuffing+arresting a DUI offender makes sense than merely disabling their car and then leaving them.
    – Kevin
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:34
  • 2
    @divibisan : you forgot to add "while firing at the policemen" to you first sentence. And yeah, he would be still alive if the police didn't bother to show up at all, of if they had decided to not arrest him. Which they had to do, according to established procedure, as many of the answers pointed out. And yeah, he would also be alive if DUI was completely legal. But more important, he would still be alive if he didn't point a weapon at police officers.
    – vsz
    Jun 19, 2020 at 4:06

One big difference between USA police and UK Police. Normal police in the UK do not carry guns. If an arrest is necessary and it is known that the person(s) are possibly carrying firearms then a special squad goes in with the police.

  • The Police in Germany, Denmark, etc. all carry guns, but they still behave much more like UK police than the US police. This isn't explained by the Police carrying guns. Jun 18, 2020 at 6:49
  • 1
    @JackAidley I agree. Britain is very rare in not arming its police - I think New Zealand is one of the few similar instances. Police in Northern Ireland have always been and still are armed. But I still think Britain is right to continue not to arm police. Indeed, overwhelmingly, the British police have demonstrated in surveys that they do not want to be armed.
    – WS2
    Jun 18, 2020 at 6:52
  • This doesn't answer the question. You've pointed out a difference between the US and UK police forces, but you haven't explained "why do US police use handcuffs in otherwise calm, non-violent circumstnaces?". You should add an additional paragraph to explain why the fact that USA police have guns means that they handcuff non-violent suspects.
    – JBentley
    Jun 18, 2020 at 11:24

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