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View Full Version : Technical Advice: Police Disarming A Mentally Disturbed Child With A Butcher Knife



JulieHowe
12-07-2010, 10:00 AM
The timeframe is 1975 Los Angeles. The police are trying to disarm a mentally disturbed seven-year-old who is ignoring their commands to drop a butcher knife she has in her hands, and now she's lunging towards them. There are already several dead people at the scene, including the child's parents, who were killed by her older brothers.

Short of shooting the child, what would be the most logical way to disarm her? A teargas canister? As far as I know, the Taser wasn't widely used in law enforcement until the 1990's, and neither was pepper spray.

Thanks in advance!

tirial
12-07-2010, 02:41 PM
In 1975 they could resort to a physical takedown, particularly if they had numbers, space to surround and truncheons/batons. I'm not familiar with the US, but British police get training in disarming attackers.

Lhun
12-07-2010, 03:12 PM
It's a seven year old kid. Grab the knife-arm and she's harmless. Maybe distract her so someone can quickly grab her from behind.

Drachen Jager
12-07-2010, 09:17 PM
Just whack at her arm with a night-stick. No special training required for that move. She is only seven.

Might break the arm but I don't think many cops in those days would shoot a seven year old, even if she did have a knife.

Tasers were invented in 1974 but wouldn't have been in service for years after that.

JulieHowe
12-08-2010, 12:40 AM
Thanks everyone!

Marlys
12-08-2010, 12:58 AM
Pepper spray might not have been in use yet, but the original version of Mace (a teargas spray) was.
Use of Mace Spray Backed by Council in San Fernando. The Police Department's continued use of the chemical tear gas spray Mace has been approved unanimously by the City Council.--May 30, 1968 L.A. Times [direct link too long, but this (http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/advancedsearch.html?track=leftnav-archives)will take you to the LA Times archive]

Might be too extreme to use on a little kid, depending on how dangerous they thought the situation was. Bet she'd drop the knife, though.

RJK
12-08-2010, 02:06 AM
There's a nerve that runs along the wrist-forearm to the thumb. a light tap with a nightstick, blackjack, or even your knuckles, would cause the girl's hand to open. Or, as the others said, just grab the knife wielding arm. She's seven for God's sake. Even a psychotic 7 YO can be handled by a cop.

JulieHowe
12-08-2010, 02:07 AM
Thanks, Marlys! I have free access to the LA Times archives, so I'll pull up the link through my work computer and download the entire article.

In my WIP, there are already several dead people at the scene, including the child's parents, and this kid is completely out of control. But if the consensus is that a simple physical takedown will work, I'll go with that.

Edited to add: I seriously appreciate the help I've received from all the questions I've posted on AW. Thank you. :)

Rowan
12-09-2010, 05:37 AM
Tactical baton :)

JulieHowe
12-09-2010, 07:16 AM
Tactical baton :)

Thanks, Rowan. :)

Williebee
12-09-2010, 07:23 AM
Where is she? What's around? In the bedroom? Hit her with the mattress. Something relatively soft, bulky and heavy enough to knock her down. Tactical baton is the most likely tool at hand for the officers on scene, but whoever does it is most likely going to break something. That may, or may not be a problem for your story.

JulieHowe
12-09-2010, 07:54 AM
Where is she? What's around? In the bedroom? Hit her with the mattress. Something relatively soft, bulky and heavy enough to knock her down. Tactical baton is the most likely tool at hand for the officers on scene, but whoever does it is most likely going to break something. That may, or may not be a problem for your story.

She's in the hallway, playing dead next to her mother's body. There's also a dead baby and a hacked-up five-year-old bleeding to death nearby. My little psycho getting whacked with a police baton and ending up with a broken elbow (or arm) would fit perfectly into what happens later on in the story. You guys are great! :) Thanks.

Giant Baby
12-09-2010, 08:38 AM
Poor thing.

Yeah, in this scenario, cops would take her down easy if she had a knife. Mentally disturbed or not. A slice to the trousers of one of them, maybe. (Even that, I doubt it. Ten or eleven, I've seen some impressive fights. Adrenaline is amazing. But seven? I've never encountered anything like that from a kid her age.) Her bones and muscles are little.

:(

JulieHowe
12-10-2010, 12:44 AM
Poor thing.

Yeah, in this scenario, cops would take her down easy if she had a knife. Mentally disturbed or not. A slice to the trousers of one of them, maybe. (Even that, I doubt it. Ten or eleven, I've seen some impressive fights. Adrenaline is amazing. But seven? I've never encountered anything like that from a kid her age.) Her bones and muscles are little.

:(

Thanks!

quickWit
12-10-2010, 12:55 AM
Julie, I hardly think police would require a butcher knife to disarm a seven year old girl.

Unless, of course, she was wielding paste and glitter.

Respectfully Yores,

q-Money

JulieHowe
12-10-2010, 01:09 AM
Julie, I hardly think police would require a butcher knife to disarm a seven year old girl.

Unless, of course, she was wielding paste and glitter.

Respectfully Yores,

q-Money

The child is holding the knife. Or are you just trying to yank my chain, bunny? :)

quickWit
12-10-2010, 01:14 AM
I refuse to acknowlege the above posted post.





wait...

D'oh!

Drachen Jager
12-10-2010, 01:35 AM
Julie, I hardly think police would require a butcher knife to disarm a seven year old girl.

Unless, of course, she was wielding paste and glitter.

Respectfully Yores,

q-Money

Are you serious? How else are you going to get through the tendons?

quickWit
12-10-2010, 01:43 AM
Are you serious? How else are you going to get through the tendons?

You can gnaw through 'em. It's not as tough as you might imagine.