Reality Training: Suspect pulls butcher knife at traffic stop

Action may beat reaction 99.99 percent of the time, but Clarendon County Deputy Danny Graham may well represent that remaining 0.01 percent


Every so often, we see a video that shows us how amazingly fast reaction time can be.

A great deal of police training is based on the scientific study of human performance as it relates to time. Many police trainers — most, it seems — talk in some form or another about “action always beating reaction” time, and 99.99 percent of the time, this philosophy of “gunfight speed” may be right.

Clarendon County Deputy Danny Graham may well represent that remaining 0.01 percent. Deputy Graham had just issued a traffic citation to a motorist when Anthony Pearson approached the scene of the traffic stop, pulled out a butcher knife from concealment beneath an umbrella, and lunged at the LEO.

Deputy Graham quickly drew, moved, and shot the assailant. Following the incident, Sheriff Randy Garrett moved quickly to release the dash-cam video below, saying “It’s a justified shoot in my book. He’s clear."

Watch the incident unfold, and use the questions below for further discussion. 

In light of Deputy Graham’s performance, we can ask some questions about what enabled him to do such a great job that day in August. 

•    What pre-attack indicators did the assailant demonstrate prior to attack?
•    What dangers — other than the assailant — are present at this scene? 
•    What training/drills do you think played into Deputy Graham’s success?
•    What do you think you might have done differently if put in a similar situation?
•    Graham was offered the day off after the shooting, but he declined. Should time off after an OIS be suggested or mandatory?

About the author

This series of columns takes recent situations in the news and uses video footage to start a discussion.

  1. Tags
  2. Police Training
  3. Officer Safety
  4. Officer-Involved Shootings
  5. Edged Weapons

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