OFFICER UNIFORMS AND WEAPONS
The male Fall River Police Officer that responded to 120 Melville Street was wearing a full Fall River Police Uniform with markings that identified him as a police officer. The Officer was assigned a department issued .40 caliber service weapon with a 15 round magazine that was fully loaded and two additional 15 round magazines that were also fully loaded. At the start of his shift, this Officer’s Lieutenant examined his service weapon and found no issues. The Officer also had oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, a taser and a baton. The Officer completed his annual firearms re-certification on September 28, 2021.
The upper portion of the male police officer’s uniform, including a vest, was collected after the shooting. Each shoulder of the vest has an epaulet for holding a radio or other item. Upon examination, the epaulet on the officer’s right shoulder was partially torn (Uniform Photo 1). The officer’s uniform was worn with a pin affixed with two brass backings on the right side. One of the brass backings was missing and it was recovered in Mr. Harden’s room during a court authorized search of the apartment (Uniform Photo 2). In addition, there were two apparent scratch marks on the Officer’s left cuff (Uniform Photo 3). The male officer’s weapon was taken by police and determined to have 15 rounds of ammunition, consistent with the weapon not being fired.
The female Fall River Police Officer that responded to 120 Melville Street was wearing a full Fall River Police Uniform with markings that identified her as a police officer. The Officer was assigned a department issued .40 caliber service weapon with a 15 round magazine that was fully loaded and two additional 15 round magazines that were fully loaded. At the start of his shift, the Officer’s Lieutenant examined her service weapon and found no issues. The Officer also had oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray and a baton, but she did not have a taser. The Officer completed her annual firearms re-certification on October 14, 2021.
The female Officer’s department issue weapon was collected and inventoried. The magazine contained 12 rounds of ammunition. One live round of ammunition was chambered in the pistol. This is consistent with the Officer firing two of the 15 rounds in her weapon.
FALL RIVER POLICE DEPARTMENT’S USE OF FORCE POLICY
The Fall River Police Department’s internal policy regarding the use of force is contained in a document entitled “Use of Force – Lethal and Less Lethal.” Policy Number: C04-59. The policy provides the “rationale for the use of force is always to maintain and/or reestablish control over a volatile situation…” and that “particular force option shall terminate, when it is deemed to be objectively reasonable that a subject is fully within the law enforcement officers’ control.” C04-59, p. 3. The policy further defines “deadly force” as “physical force that can reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical injury.” C04-59, p. 3.
The policy indicates that a “law enforcement officer shall not use deadly force upon a person unless de-escalation tactics have been attempted and failed or are not feasible based on the totality of the circumstances…” C04-59, p. 6. According to the policy “(s)ome commonly used proactive approaches to stabilize a situation are: Verbal persuasion, Warnings, Slowing down the pace of the incident, waiting out a person, creating distance between the officer and a threat…and Requesting additional resources…” C04-59, p. 6. Under the policy an “officer is authorized to use deadly/lethal force only in the following circumstances and if there is no other reasonable alternative available:
- The officer has objectively reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to protect themselves or another person from a subject who is posing a current, active and immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.
- The officer objectively believes that using deadly force would not unnecessarily endanger innocent people.” C04-09, p.10.