In the heat of battle, training intended to help officers secure their weapons often goes out the window, a police tactics expert told the New York Daily News.
When faced with a scenario in which someone tries to grab their gun, officers are taught in the Police Academy to initiate a complex martial arts move, said Daniel Modell, a retired NYPD lieutenant who used to work in the department's firearms and tactics section.
Officers are instructed to grab the gun, take a hold of the suspect's wrist, drop down to shift the body weight, and then roll, Modell said.
"It's almost like a square dance technique," Modell said. "Gun retention should probably be approached better."
The training critique came hours after a man snatched the gun of Officer Jorge Monge and used it to kill a deli worker in the Bronx early Tuesday. Police officials said the suspect, Efrain Guzman, 30, wasn't immediately handcuffed because he wasn't under arrest. He fired 15 shots, killing Wali Camara, 49, who had just kicked Guzman out of a nearby bodega after begging for $2. Monge's partner shot and wounded Guzman.
"If someone goes to grab your gun, you are under stress and adrenaline starts to flow," Modell said. "Your complex motor skills deteriorate. When they have to fall back on complex motor skills they are trained on, they rarely work in the streets."
Monge, 27, was not facing any disciplinary charges for losing his sidearm. The tactics used in the shooting were under review, officials said.
Monge would have had to unclasp the weapon and rock the pistol forward to unlock it before pulling it out, cops said. But Modell said the holsters have a weak clasp. Someone could rip the gun out of the holster if he was strong enough, he said.
The newer models, which were distributed in June 2014, have a stronger clasp and additional safety features, Modell added.