Many factors determine whether police use deadly force - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Many factors determine whether police use deadly force

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That decision begins with training at the police academy. (Source: CNN) That decision begins with training at the police academy. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - There's so much the public still does not know about the Michael Brown shooting. For example, it's unknown how close officer Darren Wilson and Brown were to each other when Brown was shot.

Police are trained to consider specific factors before deciding to open fire. For law enforcement, that decision begins with training at the police academy.

"Throughout the United States, this is standard training," Ron Martinelli, forensic criminologist, said. He said he's been an expert in more than 100 shooting cases, most of them officer-involved.

Police said Brown's body was found 35 feet from the police car. It's unclear from what distance he was shot, but these types of officer-involved shootings typically happen in close proximity.

At a San Diego shooting range, using training weapons, Martinelli demonstrated what's called the 21-foot rule.

The assailant rushes. "At this distance, there is no aiming," he said. Everything takes time: two seconds to unholster and lift the gun, the same amount of time it takes for the suspect to run 21 feet.

Change the scenario to a smaller, female assailant, and you gain a little more time, but not much. This doesn't factor in the officer's experience and adrenaline level, if there's cover or if people are in the line of fire.

Then add to the officer's duty belt. "The more things you add to the holster or duty belt, that delays the officer's response by 50 percent of reaction time," Martinelli said.

That doesn't mean every officer involved shooting is justified.

"That assailant poses an imminent threat, not potential, but imminent threat to that officer of serious bodily injury or death," he said. "If they don't have that, that deadly force would not be seen as objectively reasonable."

 Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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