Paperwork is hard. If a cop kills an innocent American, it's the American's fault and the only recourse a cop has is to frame the innocent victim.
Throw-away Weapons: A Cop Insurance Policy or an Abuse of Power? - Guns.com
By way of an example, what would happen if an officer were confronted with an assailant aiming a toy pistol at the officer? The answer would be that the officer would hopefully aim for center-mass, thereby ending the perceived threat. Well, okay, but that’s when the officer’s troubles begin.
The very next step would be for the officer to face his or her internal affairs division’s investigations. “What, you mean even in the dark you couldn’t tell that the gun was really a plastic toy?“ There would sure to be a judicial review board, followed, at the very minimum, by a lengthy unpaid suspension, a stain on the officer’s perhaps otherwise stellar personnel record, thereby preventing future promotions, perhaps even termination, perhaps even criminal prosecution with the possibility of incarceration. So what were those aforementioned preparations put in place by some very well-meaning veteran officers? Well, many, if not most, carried, what became known as, “throw-away weapons.”
Those weapons had any and all possible serial numbers removed, were impossible to trace back to the officers, and were concealable. The weapons in question ranged from switchblades to daggers, derringers to small caliber two-inch revolvers, to the smallest of semi-automatic pistols, and just about anything else thrown in for good measure. The common denominator was that they could all be used if and when the unimaginable were to happen. In the case of the plastic toy gun, in the frantic seconds after the fact, the throw-away derringer, sans serial numbers, could be substituted for that toy gun, thereby ensuring that disciplinary actions would be prevented. And just where does one acquire such a strange and assorted mix of weapons? Well, if you work on the streets long enough, they just somehow place themselves in your hands. You come across those items on nearly a daily basis, and not all of them get turned over to the evidence division.