WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Wilmington Police Department wants to make sure officers don’t unnecessarily resort to lethal force when in a threatening scenario. 

What You Need To Know

  • Police have killed 14 people in North Carolina so far in 2023, according to mappingpoliceviolence.org
  • This number is higher than in previous years
  • Brazilian jiujitsu is a self-defense martial art and combat sport based on grappling, ground fighting and submission holds 

Christian Marshall is a corporal with the Wilmington Police Department. Within the police department, he is also a jiujitsu instructor. 

“If this was truly on the street and I was actually on top of you trying to hurt you, whether I [was] trying to choke you unconscious, punch you in the face — not a good place to be, right?" Marshall said. "We may be thinking like, 'I can't get this guy off. Maybe I need to go to my gun, my Taser or whatever.' And you could be justified 100%. But needless to say, we want to find ways where we can efficiently get out of these positions. OK. So that's what we start showing today.”  

Police use of force has been a hot topic in recent years, and Marshall wants to equip his officers with every skill to avoid lethal force. 

“Because they know what they're capable of and therefore they're less likely to get scared and use an excessive amount of force,” Marshall said.

Marshall says these workshops have made a huge difference in the police force. And because he started jiujitsu after being an officer for many years, he has witnessed the massive difference it has made. 

“I really got to see the difference of being an officer without the jiujitsu and then learning jiujitsu and seeing how beneficial it's been for me in my career,” Marshall said. 

Marshall tells us since introducing martial arts to officers, the department has noticed a decrease in use of force by officers. 

All new officers who come through the police academy are required to go through these jiujitsu courses. 

The department also offers voluntary courses officers can sign up for as "open mat" days to refresh what they’ve learned.