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Thursday, October 07, 2010
Officers Praised for Using Taser Instead of Gun
By Astrid Galvan
Journal Staff Writer
Two Albuquerque police officers who Tasered a teen after he wielded a machete-style knife at them used fast thinking and smart tactics, police said.
Officers David Ritchie and Mikal Monette were dispatched to a home in the 13000 block of Marble NE on Saturday after a woman reported that her intoxicated 16-year-old son had stormed out of the house after they fought.
When the officers arrived, they heard a loud noise coming from the opposite end of the street, an incident report states. Although the street was poorly lit, they were able to spot the teen, who was holding a 16-inch machete blade.
The boy, identified as Daniel Halate, started walking toward the officers while holding the blade, the report states.
The officers told him several times to drop the blade, but Halate responded that they would have to shoot him before he'd drop it. He began walking toward his house, and officers feared for his mother's safety.
"They certainly could have used deadly force on him," spokeswoman Sgt. Trish Hoffman said.
APD policy states that officers should use equal force in life-threatening situations, meaning the officers could have shot Halate because he was threatening them with a lethal weapon. But because there was enough distance between the officers and Halate, and they had sufficient time, they opted to Taser him instead.
"It's just a testament to their thinking ... that they dealt with him that way rather than shoot him," Hoffman said. "As any police officer would, that's them doing their job."
Halate let go of the weapon after being Tasered twice.
His mother allowed officers to search his room, where they found a marijuana plant and other knives. The teen was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, domestic violence and possession of marijuana.