Charlotte police rarely use deadly force while making arrests, but there has been a spike in the past three months, reports the Charlotte Observer. Officers have shot five suspects since Feb. 27 — killing one and injuring four. Not since fall of 1998 have Charlotte police used deadly force as frequently. That year, police also shot five suspects in three months, killing three.
Retiring Chief Darrel Stephens says the spike reflects an increasing number of encounters with armed suspects. “We’ve seen things that just defy rational explanation,” he said. North Carolina law allows police to use deadly force when an officer believes his life, or the life of another, is in danger. Of 28,000 arrests last year, police said they used force against 505 suspects — including three who were shot. That means force was used in less than 2 percent of all arrests. Police are finding more guns during arrests. Last year, police confiscated firearms in 9.7 percent of arrests, up from 8.8 percent the previous year.