Video: A Reasonable Force Option – Pinning a Suspect on the Ground From Spartan Cops | Law Enforcement & Security Consulting

These guys Matt and Scott from Spartan Cops are great at simplifying the process of what I like to call “imitative driven tactics” for when the talk is over and control must be the goal. Take a look!


There is a saying that where the head goes, the body will follow. This is especially true when trying to control a suspect on the ground. If you are able to pin the suspect’s head to the ground, then he will not be able to move very easily and it will be very difficult for him to effectively assault you.

Many defensive tactics systems teach officers to take a suspect to the ground, but few teach officers how to properly pin the suspect on the ground. It is much easier to do than you might think. If you use your shin and knee properly, you can pin the suspect’s neck and chin to the ground where it is very hard for him to move.

Suppose that you have taken the suspect down with a straight arm bar on his right arm and he lands on his stomach. If you place your right knee in the suspect’s upper back between his shoulder blades and your left knee on his lower back while his arm is trapped between your legs, the average suspect can struggle enough to get you off balance and escape. This technique is extremely safe for the suspect, because you are not placing any weight on his neck or head. Unfortunately, it is not very safe for you because he has a good chance of fighting free and assaulting you.

Instead, let us look at an improved version of this technique. You have taken the suspect down with a straight arm bar on his right arm with him landing on his stomach. This time you place (not dropping your weight, but actually placing) your right upper shin and knee across his neck at the base of his skull, coming in at a 45 degree angle between his shoulder and head. By applying steady pressure with your body weight, you can actually pin his head to the ground. If he is really large and/or strong, just leverage more weight on him by pulling on his right arm which you are still holding from performing the arm bar. This will significantly increase the downward pressure on the suspect and make you much heavier. Your left knee can then be placed on his lower back, allowing you to control how much weight you transfer to his neck.

This technique shifts the relative safety to the officer, instead of the suspect. When performed correctly, the suspect cannot turn his head so he cannot see what you are doing. Combined with loud repetitive commands for the suspect to stop resisting and place his hands behind his back, this technique is quite effective.

I have performed this technique on my training partners and had them perform it on me hundreds, if not thousands of times over the past 14 years and we have not sustained any injuries from it. This is primarily because we control our weight and do not drop onto each other’s neck. If you suddenly drop all your weight onto the suspect’s neck in a knee drop instead of performing a controlled placement of weight, there is a greater chance of serious injury. That action should only be done if you can justify a higher level of force.

Therefore, be careful not to perform a knee drop on the suspect’s neck, unless you can justify deadly force.

Watch the video here

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