On the old TV game show "The Match Game," it was up to a contestant to fill in that blank. Odds are pretty good that they might have picked a word like "bliss," or "partnership." However, if the contestant was a veteran cop, those odds would probably change considerably. For then, as now, "violence" might well be the first thing to come to his or her experienced mind.
It was the prospect for violence that found Volusia County, Fla., Dep. John Braman pulling up short of a single-story house in Deltona on the morning of Nov. 26, 2011. He'd driven there in the hopes of finding Corey Reynolds.
Earlier that morning in nearby DeBary, Reynolds had thrown his 24-year-old girlfriend to the ground and attempted to strangle her. Fellow Volusia County deputies were still in the process of taking the domestic violence report when Braman put the car in park and began a vigil on the Reynolds' residence. It wasn't until his backup deputy, John Brady, arrived three minutes later that Braman stepped out of his patrol unit. The two deputies made their way up the sloped driveway to the front door of the house.
Their knock was answered by a woman who identified herself as Corey Reynolds' mother. She told the deputies that she wasn't sure if he was at home, then ducked back inside the house to look for him. Returning to the door, she said that she couldn't find him.
Dep. Braman asked who owned the truck parked in the driveway.
"It's mine," she said. "But I haven't driven it today."
"The hood's warm," the deputy commented.
With Brady providing flanking cover, Braman met Reynolds at the front door.
At first glance, Reynolds didn't appear to be an immediate threat. The relative cool of the morning more than justified the jacket he was wearing and there wasn't anything to suggest that he was armed. But when Braman attempted to get Reynolds to step away from the door, the man bristled.
Everything about Reynolds' demeanor communicated a determination not to go along with any program the deputies had to offer. Brady recognized as much, and when Braman nodded an acknowledgment to him that it was time to go hands on, he was ready.
"Turn around and put your hands behind your back," Braman ordered, as he reached out for Reynolds' arm.
Instead, Reynolds attempted to spin on the deputies and retreat inside the house. Braman made a tactical decision to engage him then and there on the doorstep, grabbing Reynolds by the shoulders and throwing him to the ground.
Reynolds attempted to strike at the deputies. Brady countered with knee strikes to the man's side in an effort to incapacitate him.
Then it happened.