Interview with John Nichols

Can you tell me what the early, the early orders to the police were on 12th Street that morning?


There were no orders that went out other than the normal orders that a police officer would go out. We've gotten a lot of questions about were they ordered to shoot or were they ordered not to shoot? I think that it goes without saying that that's a discretionary act with the part of police officer. And to say tonight we go out and we shoot all burglars would be just as, as inane as to say that tonight we go out and we don't shoot anybody. It's a question of the circumstances and the judgment of the individual commanders on the, on the street. The only thing that I do say that had the officers used fatal force in that situation it probably would have been a, it would have been a blood bath because there were a minimal number of police, the area in which the initial involvement was consisted of multiple high rise apartment houses and the police would have been caught in a, literally, in a valley from which they would have taken, I think, withering fire. At that time our experience was that many of the houses, many of the people there were armed. We had raided houses and apartments, usually got two or three firearms out of it. There is no doubt in my mind that if they did not ex--did not intend, or did not exercise their, their right to, ah, not their right but their ability to use fatal force then certainly it was not a bad decision to have made.