POLL: Are the police obligated to protect you by law?


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Highland Ranger
December 8, 2008, 09:27 AM
It has come to my attention that many people have a misconception regarding this issue and that it is a fundamental concept at the heart of many folks position on the right to keep and bear arms.

Just wanted to see what the THR knows about the subject.

(hint for the google fans - there is a supreme court ruling on this topic)

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Deanimator
December 8, 2008, 10:02 AM
Not in THIS country.

I believe that the police where I currently live WOULD protect me, IF they COULD. They of course CAN'T, so it's unreasonable to expect them to.

Then there's the Chicago Police Department...

scottgun
December 8, 2008, 10:26 AM
The police protect the herd (society), but are not legally obligated to protect any particular sheep (individual citizens).

There was a case in Colorado Springs where a woman sued the police and lost, the ruling effectively said "the police are not there to protect you"

ar10
December 8, 2008, 10:54 AM
I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court ruled that LE is not obligated to protect private citizens. From what I remember a woman was being beaten by her boyfriend/ex/spouse she called the DC police dept once or twice, they responded 8 or 9 hours later and the woman was dead. Her parents, (I think) filed a law suit and it went before the SC. Apparently the ruling defined LE function as protecting the "general public" not individual citizens.
It was about 1 or 2 years ago.

PryItFromMyColdDeadHands
December 8, 2008, 11:07 AM
its our job to protect each other unfortunately....although we are not "legally obligated".

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 8, 2008, 12:05 PM
Just wanted to see what the THR knows about the subject

I think Warren has only been referenced a few hundred times.

Frog48
December 8, 2008, 12:08 PM
Anybody that answers in the affirmative is quite naive.

glockman19
December 8, 2008, 12:26 PM
Warren v. DC

Law Enforcement has NO OBLIGATION to protect any person.

The Police: No Duty To Protect Individuals
(Warren v. D.C.)



The Court's Decision: Appellants Carolyn Warren, Miriam Douglas, and Joan Taliaferro in No. 79-6, and appellant Wilfred Nichol in No. 79-394 sued the District of Columbia and individual members of the Metropolitan Police Department for negligent failure to provide adequate police services. The respective trial judges held that the police were under no specific legal duty to provide protection to the individual appellants and dismissed the complaints for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Super.Ct.Civ.R. 12(b)(6). However, in a split decision a three-judge division of this court determined that appellants Warren, Taliaferro and Nichol were owed a special duty of care by the police department and reversed the trial court rulings.

The division unanimously concluded that appellant Douglas failed to fit within the class of persons to whom a special duty was owed, and affirmed the lower court's dismissal of her complaint. The court en banc, on petitions for rehearing, vacated the panel's decision. After rearguments, notwithstanding our sympathy for appellants who were the tragic victims of despicable criminal acts, we affirm the judgments of dismissal.

Appeal No. 79-6

The Gruesome Facts of the Case: In the early morning hours of March 16, 1975, appellants Carolyn Warren, Joan Taliaferro, and Miriam Douglas were asleep in their rooming house at 1112 Lamont Street, N.W. Warren and Taliaferro shared a room on the third floor of the house; Douglas shared a room on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter. The women were awakened by the sound of the back door being broken down by two men later identified as Marvin Kent and James Morse. The men entered Douglas' second floor room, where Kent forced Douglas to sodomize him and Morse raped her.

Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.

Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 6:23 a. m., and was recorded as a burglary in progress. At 6:26 a.m., a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as "Code 1." Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect.

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they saw one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 6:33 a.m., five minutes after they arrived.

Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. They again heard Douglas' continuing screams; again called the police; told the officer that the intruders had entered the home, and requested immediate assistance. Once again, a police officer assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 6:42 a. m. and recorded merely as "investigate the trouble" -- it was never dispatched to any police officers.

Believing the police might be in the house, Warren and Taliaferro called down to Douglas, thereby alerting Kent to their presence. Kent and Morse then forced all three women, at knifepoint, to accompany them to Kent's apartment. For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse.

Appellants' claims of negligence included: the dispatcher's failure to forward the 6:23 a.m. call with the proper degree of urgency; the responding officers' failure to follow standard police investigative procedures, specifically their failure to check the rear entrance and position themselves properly near the doors and windows to ascertain whether there was any activity inside; and the dispatcher's failure to dispatch the 6:42 a. m. call.

Appeal No. 79-394

No Duty to Protect: On April 30, 1978, at approximately 11:30 p.m., appellant Nichol stopped his car for a red light at the intersection of Missouri Avenue and Sixteenth Street, N.W. Unknown occupants in a vehicle directly behind appellant struck his car in the rear several times, and then proceeded to beat appellant about the face and head breaking his jaw.

A Metropolitan Police Department officer arrived at the scene. In response to the officer's direction, appellant's companion ceased any further efforts to obtain identification information of the assailants. When the officer then failed to get the information, leaving Nichol unable to institute legal action against his assailants, Nichol brought a negligence action against the officer, the Metropolitan Police Department and the District of Columbia.

The trial judges correctly dismissed both complaints. In a carefully reasoned Memorandum Opinion, Judge Hannon based his decision in No. 79-6 on "the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." See p. 4, infra. The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists. Holding that no special relationship existed between the police and appellants in No. 79-6, Judge Hannon concluded that no specific legal duty existed. We hold that Judge Hannon was correct and adopt the relevant portions of his opinion. Those portions appear in the following Appendix.[fn1]

Judge Pryor, then of the trial court, ruled likewise in No. 79-394 on the basis of Judge Hannon's opinion. In No. 79-394, a police officer directed Nichol's companion to cease efforts to identify the assailants and thus to break off the violent confrontation. The officer's duty to get that identification was one directly related to his official and general duty to investigate the offenses. His actions and failings were solely related to his duty to the public generally and possessed no additional element necessary to create an overriding special relationship and duty.[fn2]

Here the effort to separate the hostile assailants from the victims -- a necessary part of the on-scene responsibility of the police -- adds nothing to the general duty owed the public and fails to create a relationship which imposes a special legal duty such as that created when there is a course of conduct, special knowledge of possible harm, or the actual use of individuals in the investigation. See Falco v. City of New York, 34 A.D.2d 673, 310 N.Y.S.2d 524 (App. Div. 1970), aff'd, 29 N.Y.2d 918, 329 N.Y.S.2d 97, 279 N.E.2d 854 (1972) (police officer's Page 4 statement to injured motorcyclist that he would obtain name of motorist who struck the motorcycle was a gratuitous promise and did not create a special legal duty); Jackson v. Heyman, 126 N.J. Super. 281, 314 A.2d 82 (Super.Ct.Law Div. 1973) (police officers' investigation of vehicle accident where pedestrian was a minor child did not create a special legal duty to child's parents who were unsuccessful in their attempt to recover damages because police failed to identify drivers of vehicle). We hold that Judge Pryor did not err in dismissing No. 79-394 for failure to state a claim.

In either case, it is easy to condemn the failings of the police. However, the desire for condemnation cannot satisfy the need for a special relationship out of which a duty to specific persons arises. In neither of these cases has a relationship been alleged beyond that found in general police responses to crimes. Civil liability fails as a matter of law.

One of the basic themes of gun control is that only the police and military should have handguns or any type of firearm. I cannot explain their rationale, other than to say that gun control proponents must believe that the police exist to protect the citizenry from victimization. But in light of court decisions we find such is not the case. You have no right to expect the police to protect you from crime. Incredible as it may seem, the courts have ruled that the police are not obligated to even respond to your calls for help, even in life threatening situations!. To be fair to our men in blue, I think most officers really do want to save lives and stop dangerous situations before people get hurt. But the key point to remember is that they are under no legal obligation to do so.


Case Histories
Ruth Brunell called the police on 20 different occasions to plead for protection from her husband. He was arrested only one time. One evening Mr. Brunell telephoned his wife and told her he was coming over to kill her. When she called the police, they refused her request that they come to protect her. They told her to call back when he got there. Mr. Brunell stabbed his wife to death before she could call the police to tell them that he was there. The court held that the San Jose police were not liable for ignoring Mrs. Brunell's pleas for help. Hartzler v. City of San Jose, 46 Cal. App. 3d 6 (1st Dist. 1975).
[Those of you in the Silicon Valley, please note what city this happened in!]

Consider the case of Linda Riss, in which a young woman telephoned the police and begged for help because her ex-boyfriend had repeatedly threatened "If I can't have you no one else will have you, and when I get through with you, no-one else will want you." The day after she had pleaded for police protection, the ex-boyfriend threw lye in her face, blinding her in one eye, severely damaging the other, and permanently scarring her features. "What makes the City's position particularly difficult to understand," wrote a dissenting opinion in her tort suit against the City, "is that, in conformity to the dictates of the law, Linda did not carry any weapon for self-defense. Thus, by a rather bitter irony she was required to rely for protection on the City of New York which now denies all responsibility to her." Riss v. New York, 240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y. 1968). [Note: Linda Riss obeyed the law, yet the law prevented her from arming herself in self-defense.]

Warren v. District of Columbia is one of the leading cases of this type. Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate's screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived. When the two women went downstairs they saw that in fact the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: ``For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers.'' The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.'s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a ``fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.'' Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981). The seminal case establishing the general rule that police have no duty under federal law to protect citizens is DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (109 S.Ct. 998, 1989). Frequently these cases are based on an alleged ``special relationship'' between the injured party and the police. In DeShaney the injured party was a boy who was beaten and permanently injured by his father. He claimed a special relationship existed because local officials knew he was being abused, indeed they had ``specifically proclaimed by word and deed [their] intention to protect him against that danger,'' but failed to remove him from his father's custody. ("Domestic Violence -- When Do Police Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect?'' Special Agent Daniel L. Schofield, S.J.D., FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, January, 1991.)

The Court in DeShaney held that no duty arose because of a "special relationship,'' concluding that Constitutional duties of care and protection only exist as to certain individuals, such as incarcerated prisoners, involuntarily committed mental patients and others restrained against their will and therefore unable to protect themselves. ``The affirmative duty to protect arises not from the State's knowledge of the individual's predicament or from its expressions of intent to help him, but from the limitation which it has imposed on his freedom to act on his own behalf.'' (DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 109 S.Ct. 998 (1989) at 1006.)
About a year later, the United States Court of Appeals interpreted DeShaney in the California case of Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Department. (901 F.2d 696 9th Cir. 1990) Ms. Balistreri, beaten and harassed by her estranged husband, alleged a "special relationship'' existed between her and the Pacifica Police Department, to wit, they were duty-bound to protect her because there was a restraining order against her husband. The Court of Appeals, however, concluded that DeShaney limited the circumstances that would give rise to a "special relationship'' to instances of custody. Because no such custody existed in Balistreri, the Pacifica Police had no duty to protect her, so when they failed to do so and she was injured they were not liable.
A citizen injured because the police failed to protect her can only sue the State or local government in federal court if one of their officials violated a federal statutory or Constitutional right, and can only win such a suit if a "special relationship'' can be shown to have existed, which DeShaney and its progeny make it very difficult to do. Moreover, Zinermon v. Burch (110 S.Ct. 975, 984 1990) very likely precludes Section 1983 liability for police agencies in these types of cases if there is a potential remedy via a State tort action.

Many states, however, have specifically precluded such claims, barring lawsuits against State or local officials for failure to protect, by enacting statutes such as California's Government Code, Sections 821, 845, and 846 which state, in part: "Neither a public entity or a public employee [may be sued] for failure to provide adequate police protection or service, failure to prevent the commission of crimes and failure to apprehend criminals.''
In other words this means the only people the police are duty-bound to protect are criminals in custody, and other persons in custody for such things as mental disorders. YOU have no recourse if the police fail to respond or fail to protect you from injury!

Frank Ettin
December 8, 2008, 12:59 PM
What I find interesting is that, as of this post, two people indeed voted in the affirmative. I'd be very curious to know why they did so and on what basis.

TexasRifleman
December 8, 2008, 01:38 PM
What I find interesting is that, as of this post, two people indeed voted in the affirmative. I'd be very curious to know why they did so and on what basis.

Not everyone on THR is a US Citizen. It's possible the law is different elsewhere. The poll didn't specify.

Or there really might be people that clueless LOL

Deanimator
December 8, 2008, 02:54 PM
What I find interesting is that, as of this post, two people indeed voted in the affirmative. I'd be very curious to know why they did so and on what basis.
Maybe they're either confidential informants or in police custody, two of a VERY few exceptions to the general absence of police duty to protect individuals.

Gun Slinger
December 8, 2008, 03:07 PM
Legally, we are not. Morally, ethically I believe that we are.

I believe that the vast majority of those in the LE field care enough to try to do their level best when they have the opportunity. I know that I do and have.

glockman19
December 8, 2008, 05:42 PM
Legally, we are not. Morally, ethically I believe that we are.

Hey most of us only want to be able to defend ourselves but the law prevents me from it and goes a step further to punish me for it.

legaleagle_45
December 8, 2008, 08:04 PM
Anybody that answers in the affirmative is quite naive.

Or incredibly sophisticated enough to know that for every rule there are some limited exceptions.:neener:

Under some exceptional circumstances there have been a handful of cases which have imposed liability upon the police for failure to protect. None that I know of has arisen where Joe Citizen calls the police out of the blue asking for help. Where it has happened is in the situation where a restraining order has been issued and the police are familiar with the circumstances of the restraining order and fail to respond in a reasonable manner...

zxcvbob
December 8, 2008, 08:11 PM
Where it has happened is in the situation where a restraining order has been issued and the police are familiar with the circumstances of the restraining order and fail to respond in a reasonable manner...

I don't think that even rises to the level. Look up Castle Rock v. Gonzales

w_houle
December 8, 2008, 08:18 PM
I voted no: It's not my opinion, SCOTUS said so!

sniper7369
December 8, 2008, 08:32 PM
"Are the Police legally obligated to protect me?" ???? Is that supposed to be funny? :D
It always gives me a good chuckle when I see that "To Protect and Serve" on the side of a Police car. What it should read is: "To Enforce the Law."
Sure, SOME cops take their job seriously and would risk their lives for you in a heartbeat. Would I bet my life on the fact that one would when I need protection? Hell no. :scrutiny: That's what my training and the .45 on my hip id for. :D

withdrawn34
December 8, 2008, 08:42 PM
Well, the poll isn't really an opinion since legalities are legalities and really aren't up for debate except in a court of law.

At any rate, I can't say I disagree. Police really should not be under any obligation to protect to. To put them under that obligation doesn't make any sense. To do so would be making the responding officer and department personally responsible for whatever happens to the person - sort of like if the President's personal Secret Service agent decided to watch a football game instead of stopping the assassin behind him. In this case, the agent has an obligation to protect the President as that is his/her job.

The police have no such obligation. Their job is technically to enforce the law. This means arresting people who break that law. It doesn't mean protecting other people from lawbreakers, although ethically, that is what the police do.

Any decent policeman will do whatever they can to protect you in a case like this - but since there's no way they can be there instantly, or even if they are, know what the situation is immediately, it just isn't reasonable to give them that legal obligation.

They will try to protect you, but if they are simply unable to do so, then it makes no sense to punish them. However, in cases of gross negligence like the above story, punishment would be very appropriate.

Put it this way: there are threats that are bigger than any of us that we need people to protect us from. Terrorist attack, aggression by another country, etc. We cannot effectively protect ourselves from that. But for someone breaking into our house, for example, we should have the tools and legal ability to do so.

Protect yourself.

Gun Slinger
December 8, 2008, 08:48 PM
Hey most of us only want to be able to defend ourselves but the law prevents me from it and goes a step further to punish me for it.

Huh? :scrutiny::confused::scrutiny:

TexasRifleman
December 8, 2008, 09:20 PM
Huh?

If he lives in Chicago or DC or NYC I can certainly see why he'd say that, among other places.

subknave
December 8, 2008, 09:34 PM
``The affirmative duty to protect arises not from the State's knowledge of the individual's predicament or from its expressions of intent to help him, but from the limitation which it has imposed on his freedom to act on his own behalf.'' (DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 109 S.Ct. 998 (1989) at 1006.)

Maybe a sharp lawyer could argue that restrictive gun control laws are a ``limitation which it has imposed on his freedom to act on his own behalf.''

If you can't own a gun and the police don't have to protect you but will arrest you for having a gun its no wonder crime is rampant in places with strict gun control.

legaleagle_45
December 8, 2008, 09:51 PM
I don't think that even rises to the level.

The "handfull" of cases where this arises usually follows this fact pattern:

Police respond to the scene of a reported domestic disturbance. The police discover that one of the combatants is subject to an outstanding retraining order obtained by the other combatant. In lieu of enforcing the restraining order, the police talk to the person who is violating the order, are convinced that s/he will cease and leave the scence, so they depart. The miscreant then kills the other party.

I read one such case with particular interest due to the fact that the court seemed to be pissed that the police ignored the restraining order that had been issued by the court. Hell hath no fury than a court ignored.

ar10
December 9, 2008, 04:40 AM
I work with a lot of LEO's at the range. Believe it or not they are just regular normal people like everyone else. The difference between "us" is they get to work with more scumbags then "us" 24 hrs a day 365 days a year. 90% of their job is reactive,(responding to an incident after it happens). Response time, around here anyway, is about 13 minutes, a lot can happen in that time.
In Ohio prior to the Castle Doctrine" being passed last September, allowed criminals to enter your house rob and steal your stuff. If you stop them by shooting them or any other form of self defense the homeowner may have been justified and no charges filed. The victim can and is sued in civil court either by the criminal in prison or if you kill them the criminals family sues. This happened all the time.

Highland Ranger
December 9, 2008, 06:06 AM
Very surprising number of people answering yes . . . .

Art Eatman
December 9, 2008, 10:47 AM
There is a website with a list of all the state court and federal district court decisions which essentially say the same thing as Warren.

As near as I can tell, the legal obligation of a police department is to maintain peace and order in a community.

Apparently, any legal obligation for protection of an individual has to do with proximity and an individual LEO's observation of an act.

expvideo
December 9, 2008, 11:41 AM
I'll protect myself, thanks.

glockman19
December 9, 2008, 11:56 AM
It always gives me a good chuckle when I see that "To Protect and Serve" on the side of a Police car.

Last year I attended a Police Commissioners meeting and brought this point up. I passed out a package that included National and state Constitutions, and Legal Cases for review. I specifically pointed out that the "to protect & serve" painted on the cars ammounted to False Advertising and the city could lose millions of dollars if challenged. I referenced Warren v. DC and guess what...Newly painted LAPD cars no longer have that written on the sides, (unless they're older).

sniper7369
December 9, 2008, 12:44 PM
Last year I attended a Police Commissioners meeting and brought this point up. I passed out a package that included National and state Constitutions, and Legal Cases for review. I specifically pointed out that the "to protect & serve" painted on the cars ammounted to False Advertising and the city could lose millions of dollars if challenged. I referenced Warren v. DC and guess what...Newly painted LAPD cars no longer have that written on the sides, (unless they're older).

That's interesting. I always thought it was wrong to give the general public the false impression that the police are there to protect them.

BullfrogKen
December 9, 2008, 05:04 PM
Neither answer is completely correct.

The answer is maybe.


There does exist a duty to protect, but it has been defined to only exist in limited and specific circumstances. Those limited and specific circumstances generally do not extend as a duty to protect specific and individual citizens.

sniper5
December 9, 2008, 07:17 PM
Not just no, but HELL no!

Darth AkSarBen
December 9, 2008, 07:21 PM
It is why the Second Amendment is so important to us, as citizens and as protectors of our lives and those in our presence.

shooter429
December 9, 2008, 07:28 PM
Not legally. And although many will do so when they can, when the SHTF they may simply not be able to. Just look at the LA riots for example. Can you imagine calling 911 only to see the police being chased out of the area by an armed mob. Not good. Oh, and now and then there are situations where they are not allowed to.

It is really important that we have a means of protection other than a telephone, because phones just don't make very good shields or weapons.

Shooter429

Jim K
December 9, 2008, 07:28 PM
It seems right to think that the police should protect everyone, but consider the ramifications of that idea. It would be impossible from any viewpoint to have public police officers assigned to protect each and every one of us at all times.

That is what courts consider in saying that there is no obligation of the police to protect anyone. A court ruling that the police must protect everyone would impose an impossibility; a ruling that the police must protect some people but not others would raise the question of discrimination in one form or another.

So the courts say that the police are not obligated to protect anyone. That does not mean the police MAY NOT protect those in most need of protection, only that they have no legal obligation to do so.

Jim

Iron Sight
December 9, 2008, 08:08 PM
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2361/1508695670_cc78a7f8db.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/cheukiecfu/1508695670/&usg=__NM6_B3RJ2nWC1oO2Pp9vpzSu8Wg=&h=375&w=500&sz=83&hl=en&start=6&um=1&tbnid=xmWmRo3ZdVCZuM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3DProtect%2Band%2BServe%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3DGGLJ,GGLJ:2006-49,GGLJ:en%26sa%3DN

Deanimator
December 10, 2008, 07:36 AM
Can you imagine calling 911 only to see the police being chased out of the area by an armed mob.
They weren't "chased" out. Gates PULLED them out, as "punishment" for the community. It wasn't the first time he'd done it either.

Harve Curry
December 10, 2008, 08:26 AM
It use to be on police cars ;
"To Serve and Protect"
Whatever ever happened to that and why was it on there?

expvideo
December 10, 2008, 09:37 AM
There is only one person on this entire planet, badge or no badge, that is responsible for my safety and protection.

Speedo66
December 10, 2008, 11:15 AM
The penal law in NYS says police and peace officers "may" take action, make arrests, and use physical force or deady physical force as required. In other words they have the right to do so.

It does not state they "must".

22lr
December 10, 2008, 11:26 AM
The police were never meant to protect you, they were meant to investigate crimes, and maintain law and order. Kinda surprised at how many people said yes though.

zombienerd
December 10, 2008, 12:00 PM
So, by law, a police officer could just stand there and watch as someone got raped and murdered, and arrest the offender afterwards?

That doesn't seem right.

I'm guessing this law is only meant for responders and not witnesses, but I could be wrong.

mljdeckard
December 10, 2008, 12:02 PM
I voted yes, in that they are certainly obligated to TRY. To say no is to imply that they can observe violence and ignore it.

I try to view it more as a partnership, in which I hold the primary responsibility, and they do what they can.

Deanimator
December 10, 2008, 01:52 PM
I voted yes, in that they are certainly obligated to TRY. To say no is to imply that they can observe violence and ignore it.
No, they AREN'T obligated to TRY, at least not legally. In most places they can WATCH you get injured/killed and not be criminally or civilly liable. Any penalties will be strictly administrative. And you can pretty much count on the local Fraternal Order of Police fighting ANY substantive punishment of ANY sort.

22lr
December 10, 2008, 02:00 PM
"So, by law, a police officer could just stand there and watch as someone got raped and murdered, and arrest the offender afterwards?"


Not at all, if they see something they are automatically legally bound to correct it. Has to do with court cases were people sued because the police "allowed" someone to break into there house. There is no possible way the Police can protect you 24/7, and hence they are only obligated to protect you if they see you in distress. In layman's terms, carry a gun and protect yourself, cus the cops cant.

jackdanson
December 10, 2008, 02:00 PM
The problem is that if this poll was placed on msnbc.com it would have the exact opposite results. People on THR generally know substantially more about this subject than the "average joe"

Ridgerunner665
December 10, 2008, 02:01 PM
Even if they were obligated to protect me....I still say I could do a better job of it than they could. No offense to any LEO's...but I'm quite sure I would fight harder for my life than you would...its human nature.

I'll fight my own fights...that state of mind has never done me wrong so far, just a few scars and memories.

Frank Ettin
December 10, 2008, 02:08 PM
There is in fact a basic, and very long standing, principle of the law that one is under no legal obligation to come to the aid of another. One may feel a moral obligation to do so, and that is good and proper. But in general, one will incur no legal liability if he just watches the carnage.

Indeed the common law rule was that if someone did, nonetheless, go to the aid of another, and made a hash of it, the person offering assistance could be held liable for any damage he did. Fortunately, that harsh rule has been mitigated, at least under some circumstances, by Good Samaritan laws adopted in most jurisdictions (And maybe all states have some form of such a law. I don't know for sure.)

TEDDY
December 10, 2008, 02:13 PM
so why do we pay them,when we have to do it ourselves.and then get thrown in prison for doing it.
and then some a*ol police chief refuses to give you a permit to be armed so you can defend your self.that should be sue able.there is an answere to that vote the mayor out and put in one that will install abetter chief,if there is one.our sheriff got voted out because he went lax.:rolleyes::uhoh::eek:

TEDDY
December 10, 2008, 02:15 PM
the chief in next county has got feed up with crime and has instigated a crack down.we will see.:uhoh::eek:

KBintheSLC
December 10, 2008, 02:21 PM
Didn't the US Court of Appeals say that they are not obligated to protect you? The basic answer is no, they are not legally obligated to save anyone.

Anyway, I think that most cops will do everything in their power to help us if we are being attacked. Unfortunately, without the aid of a teleport, the attack will likely be over by the time they get to you.

Frank Ettin
December 10, 2008, 02:26 PM
...so why do we pay them,when we have to do it ourselves.and then get thrown in prison for doing it.
and then some a*ol police chief refuses to give you a permit to be armed so you can defend your self...
Beats me. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep this in mind whenever there's an election.

mljdeckard
December 10, 2008, 02:43 PM
The court decisions said they are not obligated to protect INDIVIDUALS, but rather society as a whole. This doesn't mean they are allowed to stand idly by and watch bad things happen. It means they have to be doing the best they can overall, even if it means ultimately they can't be blamed if they don't have the manpower to solve all of the world's problems at once. Unless there was say, literally one cop for every household and business setting in America, it would be impossible for the police to protect individuals.

I generally support the protections provided to police by their unions and the law. If it weren't there, places with high crime would be absolutely paralyzed, because the police would be afraid to look at anyone sideways. It does however, carry the potential for abuse.

I do mostly LIKE the police. Ever since I got married, I stopped driving so fast, and my contact has been very limited. I LIKE them camped out in the school zones where my kids walk to and from school. I LIKE them congregated on the corners where kids hang out. On the rare occasions that I have had contact with them recently, they saw my carry permit, and pretty much said 'never mind' and let me go. I had a friend at work a few years ago here who decided to call in sick with her husband one morning, and got broken into coitus interruptus. Her husband chased the BG out with his AK, and when the police got there, they asked him why he didn't shoot the guy.

I also understand that I live in the town which houses the John M. Browning museum, and the culture of self-sufficiency is more alive here than most other places. I could see my views changing if I lived somewhere else.

Deanimator
December 10, 2008, 04:52 PM
The court decisions said they are not obligated to protect INDIVIDUALS, but rather society as a whole. This doesn't mean they are allowed to stand idly by and watch bad things happen.
Are you aware of a case in which the police knowingly failed to intervene to protect an individual not in a "special relationship" with the police and were held liable?

I'm not.

Indeed, isn't at least one of the landmark cases one in which police drove by the identified scene of an attack, took no action to investigate, and further harm was done?

Again, police who fail to carry out their duties in a conscientous manner may be punished ADMINISTRATIVEY... or not. I wouldn't bet on it in Chicago. Of course given the things which the FOP will go to the mat on, simply not doing anything doesn't even rate. Remember, the Chicago FOP has EXPLICITLY said on national radio that cops should be exempted from laws which disarm those convicted of beating their wives and girlfriends.

mljdeckard
December 10, 2008, 05:31 PM
I still say that police, by professional understanding, by department policy, by whatever made them want to be a cop in the first place, and by if no other statute than avoiding negligence, will act to intervene to prevent violence, WHEN THEY CAN. The case you are referring to reflects incompetence, not indifference. They were too stupid to know where they were supposed to go, and too absorbed in what they were doing to see the woman waving at them for help. They didn't willfully stand by and let her come to harm. It's not the same thing.

IME
December 10, 2008, 06:11 PM
These are the facts and circumstances that too many of our friends and family simply do not understand. Their ignorance as to this might spell disaster for second amendment proponents and society as a whole. Their education as to this might make all the difference in the world to the advancement and protection of our second amendment rights.

Deanimator
December 10, 2008, 06:35 PM
I still say that police, by professional understanding, by department policy, by whatever made them want to be a cop in the first place, and by if no other statute than avoiding negligence, will act to intervene to prevent violence, WHEN THEY CAN. The case you are referring to reflects incompetence, not indifference. They were too stupid to know where they were supposed to go, and too absorbed in what they were doing to see the woman waving at them for help. They didn't willfully stand by and let her come to harm. It's not the same thing.
"Professional understanding" is NOT law.

"Department policy" is NOT law.

"Personal motivation" is NOT law.

In order for there to be ***LEGAL*** LIABILITY, there must be ***LEGAL*** DUTY, either unperformed or performed improperly. Absent a "SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP" with police by the victim, there is NO duty.

Failure to leave the car, is both incompetence AND indifference. But absent that "SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP", there is "NO DUTY". No duty = no liability. You don't have to like it, just as I don't have to like that law that says I can't print and use my own $20 bills as legal tender.

Whether or not police personnel are punished ADMINISTRATIVELY for willfully or negligently failing to provide protection to INDIVIDUALS is purely a function of management, both internal to and external to THAT department, as well as the power and influence which the police union exerts in that jurisdiction. If through incompetence or disinterest by police, someone in Rocky River were harmed, I believe that the police would punish the officer(s) in question. Were the same thing to happen in Chicago, I would be utterly astonished if there were ANY negative consequences. After all, if a cop can get a thirty day suspension there for KILLING somebody (ON VIDEO), then lying about it, and get PROMOTED, simply not doing anything at all, isn't even a blip on anybody's radar screen. Again, you don't have to like it any more than you have to like gravity. Disregard either as you see fit.

mljdeckard
December 10, 2008, 06:39 PM
You skipped the negligence part.

Deanimator
December 10, 2008, 06:57 PM
You skipped the negligence part.
Negligence is in this case a nonsequitor. In order for there to be liability, there must be a DUTY negligently carried out or negligently not carried out.

No duty => no negligence => no liability

As I said, you don't have to like it. You don't have to like gravity either. In fact, you have every right to ignore both. Step off of a 10th floor ledge of the Wrigley Building in Chicago and see how that works for you.

wtfd661
December 10, 2008, 10:37 PM
Are the police obligated to protect you by law?

The answer is yes. Circumstance - when I have placed you under arrest and you no longer have the ABILITY to protect yourself.

Now I understand that this poll/post was created to enforce the correct answer/thought of why the 2nd amendment is important to everyone so that you HAVE the ability to protect yourself & loved ones and I FULLY agree with that.

What I have taken offense to is the stance of some of "The High Road" members who feel it is ok to bash my dedicated brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement who risk their lives everyday "protecting you and yours". I have personally been to too many funerals where my fellow officers have paid the ultimate price doing their duty "protecting you". I personally have been injured to many times to count while "protecting you". I have been to too many calls where I wasn't sure if I was going home to see my wife and children because I was "protecting you". So go ahead and argue about the legal/ethical obligation/duties of Police Officers, we will be out on patrol tonight protecting you and your ability to do that.

mljdeckard
December 10, 2008, 10:43 PM
Negligence is determined by asking if the person acted (or failed to act) in the way a normal person would under the same circumstances. A cop cannot expect to observe danger he could reasonably be expected to act to prevent, walk away from it, and have absolutely no legal consequences from it.

Deanimator
December 11, 2008, 12:31 AM
Negligence is determined by asking if the person acted (or failed to act) in the way a normal person would under the same circumstances.
A "normal person" with some DUTY to act.

Police have NO duty to act to protect individuals with whom they do not have a "special relationship". I'm about as likely to have that relationship with the police as I am to have a "special relationship" with Halle Berry.

Clearly you don't like that. Clearly that makes not the slightest difference in a court of law.

cliffy
December 11, 2008, 12:55 AM
Love my local police department, but INSTANT response cannot happen! Only what's under my pillow, may or may not suffice within an instant. The solice of what's available under my pillow always beats the swiftest response by my dedicated police force. Before I can dial 911, I can fire off a few effective rounds. I can fire a few deadly rounds before any professional human aide comes to my rescue. Is this a wrong approach to my family's safety? cliffy

RoostRider
December 11, 2008, 01:50 AM
I said yes.... sigh.... sometimes you should read the post before you vote.... that's the problem in this country, uninformed voters....

My "yes" was on the assumption (no one needs to point out what assume represents.. lol) that the police were there and able to protect you.... but even that may be wrong for all I know...

I sure would be pissed if it were legal for the cops to watch someone get beat to death and do nothing....

Nooblet
December 11, 2008, 02:03 AM
If the police were liable for every individual's safety society would pretty much sue itself out of existence... anyone who died or was injured as a result from the police not showing up instantly would have a case against their city...

That being said, I think the fact that the courts have legally stated that the police have no legal obligation to protect citizens, means that self-defense is the only viable and logical recourse to this state of affairs...

JBURGII
December 11, 2008, 03:53 AM
I pulled the following directly from their website, the officers in my town are a pretty decent bunch of guys and the multi unit complex I manage is within direct sight of the PD front door.. I still carry. I believe the LEOs here do a great job of traffic patrol, petty crime abatement and follow up / cleanup.
BTW, I voted no.. I don't expect LEOs to be there to protect me like a private bodyguard, they are the nice fellows who come pick up the bodies and take care of the paperwork for me.. ;)

http://www.ci.junction-city.or.us/police/index_files/Pages617.htm

Understanding Community Policing



Community Policing, relies on partnership between the citizens of a jurisdiction and the police that service that population. The cornerstone of the Community Policing philosophy at the Junction City Police Department, is root problem solving. Solving the underlying problem generally reduces or eliminates the problem reoccurring. This frequently takes innovation and patience.

Community Oriented Policing is a philosophy and organizational strategy based on customer service and clear, effective communication, which in turn facilitates a problem solving process that deals with the conditions that create problems.

The Junction City Police Department has adopted Community Oriented Policing as its operational philosophy. The concept of Community Oriented Policing is frequently utilized by some police agencies as a program, rather than a department wide philosophy. That is not the case in Junction City, where every officer is required to actively engage in the application of Community Oriented Policing principles. However, to truly work, Community Oriented Policing is dependant upon the citizens of a community recognizing and accepting their role in successfully achieving the potential of this working philosophy.

The role of the police has undergone a number of changes over the last 100 years. Originally, American law enforcement was modeled after the modern Metropolitan London Police. The role of the police in this model was to do full time that which was every citizen's responsibility, which is to provide for the security, peace and welfare of their community. This charge was never intended to be the sole responsibility of the police. When you think about it, it really doesn't make much sense anyway. Making a fraction of one percent of a community's citizens one hundred percent responsible for its welfare is obviously doomed to failure.

Toward the end of the 1920s and early in the 1930s, American law enforcement evolved into a model that we now call the Crime Fighting Model. This model was largely an influence of one person, J. Edgar Hoover, whose vision for the FBI was that of professional crime fighter. This vision had many redeeming qualities. It demanded rigorous training, education, scientific investigation and standards of conduct. The flaw in this model was that it began to eliminate the community from the equation.

Initially, the community still had a role in the Crime Fighting Model. Conceptually, the community brought its law enforcement concerns to the police and the police utilized the benefits of their new professionalism to address the problem. Perhaps inevitably, this Crime Fighting Model evolved into a system whereby citizens effectively abdicated their welfare to the police. Both police and citizens agreed that crime fighting was the job of the police and citizens did not have a role except to pay for the service. The police stopped being peace officers and became law enforcement officers. You may even recall hearing someone actually say "That's not my responsibility. That's what I pay the police for."

During the years that American law enforcement subscribed to the precepts of the Crime Fighting Model, per capita crime in America increased over 1,000%. Certainly large increases in crime are influenced by population growth and population concentrations, but over 1,000%? The truth is that the Crime Fighting Model was a dismal failure, as it was destined to be. It was largely a reactive function, lacked root problem solution goals, and made a fraction of one percent responsible for their communities' security, peace and welfare. Yet, some of the brightest minds in the country endorsed this model.

Community Oriented Policing is a recognition that the citizens of a community have a role and a responsibility in making the community safe and peaceful and protecting its welfare. Both police and citizens have had to admit that the police are not the complete answer. Shear numbers alone should have told us otherwise.

This does not mean that every citizen should arm themselves and begin making arrests. Police are trained and equipped to perform most duties in a manner that protects the safety of all concerned, but citizens can and should play a vital role in enhancing the security of their community by getting involved. This would include reporting crimes and suspicious activities, even when not directly involved; being proactive in securing homes and property; not tolerating circumstances that breed criminal conduct; reporting such conduct and being a constructive part of their resolution; actively assisting police, when appropriate, in finding lasting solutions to root problems that contribute to crime. In other words, helping the police treat the disease, not just its symptoms.

Community Oriented Policing utilizes the best of the Crime Fighting Model and combines it with the best of law enforcement's original mission. Working as partners, the Junction City Police and our citizens can build a better, safer environment for all of our residents.

rayman
December 11, 2008, 05:56 AM
A lot of cops try their best.

rayman
December 11, 2008, 06:03 AM
The cops in Mumbai India, no.

moooose102
December 11, 2008, 06:24 AM
i just have one question, HOW IS IT THE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY (U.S.A.) IS UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THEY ARE "PROTECTED" AND HOW DO WE INFORM THEM THEY ARE NOT! ok, so really, it is two questions. i am going to start an e-mail and send this around, maybe some others should do the same. if enough people actually know this, maybe, just maybe, the pressure FOR gun control will ease up a little.

Darth AkSarBen
December 11, 2008, 06:58 AM
I was a Deputy for some 8 years. You can only be one place at one time. The duty is to society as a whole, to be a "presence" and to deter crime by being mobile, and at the same time to apprehend those that break the law. One definition is "Officer of the Court" meaning you carry out what has been signed by a judge in either a warrant, or a judgment (civil). Police protect society as a whole, but to expect a single person to receive individual protections is and was never possible. There are only so many LEO per capita in any given area. Most of the time they are there as fact gatherers after the fact of some criminal act.

Therefore, it is prudent, wise and actually a God given right for an individual to protect themselves and their loved one even though the law has been summoned. To assume otherwise is foolish.

Art Eatman
December 11, 2008, 08:16 AM
Morality, perceived duty, negligence, incompetence: These are all irrelevant to the legal issue.

The legal obligation has been set by court decisions, from state level to SCOTUS.

Cyborg
December 11, 2008, 08:59 AM
What I find interesting is that, as of this post, two people indeed voted in the affirmative. I'd be very curious to know why they did so and on what basis.
I do know that in Texas Peace Officers are sworn to protect the public. I also know that there are parts of the law which make it a $500 fine for NOT arresting an individual. I was taught that while as a Security Officer (and thus having the authority that any other private citizen has) I have the right to arrest without warrant for felonies and certain misdemeanors committed in my view, LEOs in Texas have a sworn duty to arrest for what they see. In cases of domestic violence the LEO who makes the call (using "make" in the sense of the LEO who actually goes to the scene) is the complainant and can be fined for failure to arrest if they have probable cause. I got a cop suspended not terribly long ago. My sister's former boyfriend hit her and the Deputy Sheriff who made the call failed to arrest the perp despite having "information that would cause a reasonable person to beleive that a crime had been committed". I got her to file a complaint and the Deputy got 3 days w/o pay for it.

In the sense that they have to be careful about discharging their weapon, they have a legal requirement to protect individuals because if they fail to do so they CAN be held criminally or civilly liable for actions taken in the line of duty and while ON duty. If you like, I can post the relevant parts of the Texas Penal Code to back that up.

All that being said, I still hope that Open Carry passes in Texas so I can have the wherewithall to protect and defend myself. What's the saying?
When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

Deanimator
December 11, 2008, 09:26 AM
Other than violation of a specific duty to protect someone with a "special relationship" (informant, in custody, etc.), I can't think of any plausible instance where there would be liability by the department or individual officers for a simple failure to protect, even with complete knowledge of the act from which protection was required.

On the other hand, I can easily see liability where failure to act is in furtherance of an explicitly criminal or tortious act.

Example 1 - Police intentionally fail to act to prevent or stop a racially motivated attack, and are part of a criminal conspiracy to commit that attack in which their failure to act is an explicit or implicit element of the conspiracy. Actual communications, either directly or through intermediaries with the principles would almost certainly have to be proved.

Example 2 - Police affirmatively fail to act to prevent a jewelry story robbery, in which their intentional failure to respond is an element of the conspiracy to commit the underlying offense.

Even if not a knowing participant of such conspiracies, the department itself would probably be liable for:

Failure to Supervise - If the department was negligent in taking no action or inadequate action to reasonably supervise its personnel, it could be liable to any victims. Examples would be failure to reasonabley address known misconduct or failure to investigate conduct which would to a reasonable person indicate misconduct or unsuitability for the position.

Negligent Hiring - If the department knew or reasonably should have known that the personnel involved in the tortious or criminal acts were unsuitable (violent racists, had criminal records, had been previously terminated elsewhere for misconduct, etc.), they could be liable for the harm that failure to properly screen applicants caused.

But again, this is something wholely different from mere failure to protect, even intentional failure to protect. Being a conspirator or an accessory would be actionable. Merely being an idiot or a coward would not.

sailortoo
December 11, 2008, 01:35 PM
The posted question has a direct and legal answer, as per SCOTUS : NO. The further question by another poster; why does the public seem to feel otherwise? The standard saying by any given police department seems to be "To Serve and Protect" - nothing wrong about that, except the inference to those not aware of the law, is that they, personally, are to be protected by the police. A very understandable mistake, in the legal sense. Education always helps, and the "gun shy" portion of the public needs to be more aware.
sailortoo

mljdeckard
December 11, 2008, 01:47 PM
What I like or don't like is irrelevant. The only opinion that matters is that of the jury.

Deanimator
December 11, 2008, 02:09 PM
What I like or don't like is irrelevant. The only opinion that matters is that of the jury.
You still don't understand.

It isn't going to GET to a jury.

"Dismissed for failure to state a cause of action for which relief can be granted."

You can no more sue the police for failing to protect you as an individual with whom they have no "special relationship" than I can sue you for not praying for me. It's not ACTIONABLE.

mljdeckard
December 11, 2008, 02:28 PM
All it takes is a judge that's willing to listen. He can rule that it is allowed to go to trial. Again, If I were a cop, (and this is one of many reasons I'm not,) there is no way I would walk away from my duty and not expect legal consequences as a result of it.

BTW, I'm done. Arguing on the internet is like being in the special olympics.

Deanimator
December 11, 2008, 02:38 PM
All it takes is a judge that's willing to listen. He can rule that it is allowed to go to trial.
He'll be reversed on appeal.

You don't have to like it.

It'll happen whether you like it or not.

Kleanbore
December 11, 2008, 02:45 PM
All it takes is a judge that's willing to listen. He can rule that it is allowed to go to trial.

Not gonna happen. Others have been there, done that, and the issue has been decided by the highest court in the land. It is to that (precendential case law) that the judge will listen.

Deanimator
December 11, 2008, 02:57 PM
Not gonna happen. Others have been there, done that, and the issue has been decided by the highest court in the land. It is to that (precendential case law) that the judge will listen.
"Stare decisis"...

Darth AkSarBen
December 11, 2008, 03:48 PM
Without sounding like an argument in the special Olympics, a judge might listen to it, and it might be heard, but any defense lawyer worth his salt would quickly figure out that there has already been precedence set by SCOTUS and that argument, by in and of its self, would get the case dismissed.

There would be no reason to continue as the end result even if a conviction would be passed up to the appellate courts and there it would be dismissed.

It is not illegal to be scared, nor is it illegal to not be the "best" cop that there is. These are all matters of interpretation which SCOTUS has already heard and replied.

The crux of this thread is not to determine is someone is a good cop-bad cop, indifferent or lax. It is to show that people must take upon themselves a certain responsibility to protect themselves as they should not count on 100% that old adage "the police are called let them handle it". Circumstances, beyond anyone's imagination, may happen and waiting and relying on someone else who is really not paid as your personal body guard or protector would be unwise, as well as naive. IF you hired a full time staff of body guards and they reported to you and you alone you might have a case of lawsuit showing you had cause. Lawsuit against the general protectors just because you think or have been lead to believe as such just won't cut it. And, it is true, there are more people, in the general populace, those not so much interested in firearms and 2nd Amendment rights, that are blind sided to this information.

mgkdrgn
December 11, 2008, 04:09 PM
don't need a "poll" ... as this is clearly defined in case law .... and the answer is a resounding:

NO!

Highland Ranger
December 12, 2008, 02:42 AM
A number of comments:

- we are still running almost 10% yes ON A PRO-2A board! Amazing.

Some of the postings indicate the real opportunity here - case in point is my recent conversation with a fellow gun owner who is pro-2a but not particularly politically aware.

In response to a question regarding his purchase plans in acknowledgment of Obama's election he replied, I don't need an Uzi, and there are some guns only the police should have.

So once I un-puckered my butt, I got to the root thought which was his perception that it is the police's job to protect us.

SO THE OPPORTUNITY: Have this conversation with everyone - I think there is a significant grassroots opportunity to have an impact just by educating folks about the police role in society.

To the cop bashers - please stop.

To the cop defenders/groupies - try to look the other way on this one or be a little less sensitive.

Let's try to keep the conversation going; more people we make aware the better.

Darth AkSarBen
December 12, 2008, 07:29 AM
I find this thread very interesting. I even asked a co-worker the same question and his answer was "yes" he believed Police were legally obligated to protect you.

I am not for bashing cops and I used to be one. But common sense tells one that there can only be so many "protectors" in a certain populace at any given time. They do more in deterring crime and catching criminals in acts they witness and in their daily duties. A simple stop for speeding can reveal a lot of information. People have been arrested for being fleeing felons, current warrants, drug smuggling/dealers, and a whole host of other offenses just off a simple car stop. I do believe they try to be there to prevent crime, and as the GENERAL rules always give it 150% to be there. But, time is not on their side, and many times a crime is committed and the "committer" has left before they even arrive. Time and distance is the criminals gamble and edge, and most of the time it pays off. But, because of this time and distance, I do not think it prudent, right or necessary to sue a police or department for their inability or lack of protection when truly, YOU, are not their only concern in their jobs. Is this not a free country? Then YOU are responsible for the exercise of your own protection.

You eat in a restaurant and your waitress hopes for a good tip. However, this is a perk to them, and to you. If you do not tip the waiter/waitress that is your prerogative and you cannot sue the establishment for poor service and seek relief, neither can your waiter/waitress sue you for lack of a tip.

The Second Amendment is an affirmed "RIGHT" that the Constitution does not give, because it is a God given inalienable right, and merely affirms that every person has and should have the ability to protect themselves at all times from tyranny, oppression and from those that wish to do them harm.

subknave
December 12, 2008, 10:40 AM
But what happens when the government ( as in DC) restrict your ability to protect yourself. Would this not place you in the situation of making the police responsible for your protection? Perhaps you could sue those who took away your means of defense knowing that the police had no obligation to protect you. In short instead of suing the police sue the city council, state legislature or whatever entity made it impossible for you to defend yourself.

ZombieHunter
December 12, 2008, 12:49 PM
Hey Art,

Any way you can post that link with the court cases?

bpsig
December 12, 2008, 01:44 PM
There is no duty to protect you. It was always a public service. Which is a courtesy. Not obligation. if some one is free yes can send to help. But you are on your own. All of us have to see to our families first. Then others always has been that way and will be. Only way I could trust someone else is if I worked with them for years and they were like a part of my family to help them out.

Cyborg
December 12, 2008, 02:06 PM
I was one of the ones who answered in the affirmative but that was a coupla pages of discussion ago.

Let me see if I get this straight. I am in a state that does not have open carry (I live in Texas and until/unless somebody in the state house of senate sponsors the bill it ain't gonna change any time soon) and I personally do not have a CHL and somebody comes up and hits me over the head and takes my wallet. One of San Antonio's Finest is just a few feet away when the badguy walks up, raises a really nasty club and tells me to give him my wallet and other valuables and the cop does nothing. Are you saying that he has no legal duty to intervene? :what:

I was taught that a LEO has a DUTY to intervene when a crime is being committed while a civilian is ALLOWED to intervene.

So I get mugged with a cop a couple of yards away with his thumb stuck some place smelly and I have no cause for action? Is that what you are telling me? I know that cops aren't bodyguards and that they are here to protect us corporately not individually, but if they see a crime going down do they not have a legal requirement to intervene? :eek: :eek: :what: :what:

If that is true then what are they there for?:(

wjustinen
December 12, 2008, 02:14 PM
"- we are still running almost 10% yes ON A PRO-2A board! Amazing."

Pro-gun doesn't necessarily over-rule wishful thinking.

expvideo
December 12, 2008, 02:15 PM
If that is true then what are they there for?
Simple. To investigate crimes and uphold the law. Period.

Frank Ettin
December 12, 2008, 02:54 PM
...somebody comes up and hits me over the head and takes my wallet. One of San Antonio's Finest is just a few feet away when the badguy walks up, raises a really nasty club and tells me to give him my wallet and other valuables and the cop does nothing. Are you saying that he has no legal duty to intervene?...
The key phrase here is "legal duty." He may have a moral responsibility to act. The agency that employs him may consider him obliged, as part of his job, to act; and it might take some employment related action (reprimand, a negative comment in a performance evaluation, etc.) if he fails to do something. But the absence of a legal duty means that you won't be able to successfully sue him (or his agency) and collect monetary damages from him (or his agency) if he fails to prevent you from being mugged.

Adam Carpenter
December 12, 2008, 02:59 PM
America was built by guns. But some people say that guns are destroying this great country. I find out for myself by shooting a lot of death machines at non-human objects.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQiq8utSlMQ&feature=channel_page

Deanimator
December 12, 2008, 03:34 PM
I was taught that a LEO has a DUTY to intervene when a crime is being committed while a civilian is ALLOWED to intervene.
You were taught wrong.

Absent a "special relationship" (confidential informant, in custody, etc.) there is no LEGAL duty to protect individuals. And that is the ONLY duty which is relevant to this discussion.

If a cop fails to protect you, he may be administratively punished by his police department. There's still no legal duty. He doesn't have to be a cop and can quit at any time. If you're dead, crippled or blind, a week off without pay or a pink slip for the cop helps you HOW?

You have no cause of action against the cop. You have no cause of action against the department. They owe you NOTHING. You will recover from them NOTHING.

Police have NO LEGAL DUTY to protect you as an individual without that "special relationship". End of story, like it or lump it.

Defend yourself or in most cases don't get defended at all.

expvideo
December 12, 2008, 03:37 PM
I personally do not have a CHL and somebody comes up and hits me over the head and takes my wallet.
That's your problem. Get a CHL or accept that you are just another sheep in the flock. You are the one that chooses to go around unarmed. The cop didn't make that choice for you. The only person that is responsible for you is you. That's it. End of story. If you consider your tax dollars a payment for police protection, you are WAY underpaying your assumed body guards.

jad0110
December 12, 2008, 04:26 PM
But what happens when the government ( as in DC) restrict your ability to protect yourself. Would this not place you in the situation of making the police responsible for your protection? Perhaps you could sue those who took away your means of defense knowing that the police had no obligation to protect you. In short instead of suing the police sue the city council, state legislature or whatever entity made it impossible for you to defend yourself.

The exact thing you describe actually happened. In D.C.:

Warren vs District of Columbia (SCOTUS). Google it to learn more. Here is a good link to this case and more: http://www.endtimesreport.com/NO_AFFIRMATIVE_DUTY.htm

http://psacake.com/dial_911.asp

DC 1, Warren zip. In DC, not only are the police are under no affirmative duty to protect you, your rights to do so are severely curtailed (pre Heller anyway). This is why crime in DC is so freakin' bad. You are at the mercy of thugs.

Sadly, most of our fellow American are totally clueless on this issue.

f4t9r
December 12, 2008, 04:43 PM
They need to take the protect and serve off the side of the cars.

Deanimator
December 12, 2008, 04:58 PM
They need to take the protect and serve off the side of the cars.
Or they can just add: "society as a whole, as well as those individuals with whom we have a 'special relationship' as defined in applicable court decisions."

Then it'll be perfectly accurate. Of course they'll have to switch to stretched limos so that it all fits on the door...

Darth AkSarBen
December 12, 2008, 06:55 PM
Expvideo said: The only person that is responsible for you is you. That's it. End of story. If you consider your tax dollars a payment for police protection, you are WAY underpaying your assumed body guards.

Bingo! Precisely well put. Police, Deputies, etc cannot be there for each individual as theirs is the duty to the county or city or state they are hired. Would I be chastised if I did not do a lab test for my boss at the winery? Of course. Would I be sued if I did not perform it. No, but I'd be looking for another job.

Police work is kind of like that but they have a more deep rooted desire to be on the side of protecting "citizens" (note plural word), and, when the opportunity (seen) or need (called in) arises they will do their level best to help out and protect. But, you cannot expect someone 15 miles away from your house to be there in 1 minute(or less) when they have distance and time against them, including road conditions, animals (deer, etc), traffic to watch out for and so forth. Even at an average of 60 MPH, that call will take more than 15 minutes of response time. Even if he arrives in a timely fashion and is only a few minutes away, there is no guarantee to you, that he is not quite up to snuff for the task at hand. Because you are dealing with an individual person, hired by the department, and trained for his job, that does not mean he is perfect in it's execution or maybe a bit indifferent or scared for his life. Many things come to play. But, the greatest point of the whole thread is that they are paid individuals, and by and through court decision, we are not to expect personal protection from them, and as such we can not show cause for a lawsuit to recover damages. Rare, though, is the police that are indifferent, but as in all things, it can happen.

Americans, it seems, are not aware of this thought. If they were aware that they need to rely on their "own" devices, of self protection, even if it's a broom handle, a stick or anything you can grab to defend yourself with, it is better than to wait idly by for the LEO to show up. I have seen videos of even armed robbers thwarted in Mom&Pop stores with nothing more than a broom and courage to face them and drive them away. The LAST thing you want to do is lay down and do nothing, because the criminal mind expects that and also they prefer not having witnesses who can later identify them if they do get caught. Don't be sheep! If you ever have a chance to read a book of Skip Coryell's called "Blood in The Street" it will serve you well. Get it for a Christmas present for someone you love. Website - Skip Coryell (http://www.skipcoryell.com/id2.html)

sailortoo
December 12, 2008, 07:06 PM
subknave has raised a valid point for this thread: If the police force is not legally bound to protect you (the SCOTUS has affirmed this), yet the same police force is obligated to prevent you from having a means of defending yourself (city council ruling, state statue, whatever), then are you not in an impossible situation? D.C. vs Heller has been an obvious, yet restrictive answer to this question, yet how about NYC, or California, or any other part of the U.S.A. that will not allow a citizen, or some citizens, not otherwise disallowed firearms ownership and right to bear, that fundamental means of self defense. I realize the reality and the confusion within the courts, but it does seem that a citizen should be able to either sue the force or the legal body that is keeping them from a legal means of defense. If the police are just "doing as ordered", and have no obligation for protection, then the governing body that has taken that "inalienable right" away, should be liable for any harm to a citizen. Any clarity out there? :confused:
sailortoo

wjustinen
December 13, 2008, 02:37 PM
"If the police are just "doing as ordered", and have no obligation for protection, then the governing body that has taken that "inalienable right" away, should be liable for any harm to a citizen. Any clarity out there? "

We are each responsible to defend not just our persons, but also our rights.

As long as we continue to accept laws that restrict those we see as "bad guys" from exercising rights that "shall not be infringed" we give tacit approval to being restricted ourselves.

We either accept the downside of rights being for everyone, or we lose them ourselves.

expvideo
December 13, 2008, 05:06 PM
If the police are just "doing as ordered", and have no obligation for protection, then the governing body that has taken that "inalienable right" away, should be liable for any harm to a citizen. Any clarity out there?
sailortoo


The police don't force you to live in a restricive state. It is a risk that you choose to take. The restrictive laws are the ones to blame, not the police. Of course it is an impossible situation, but you choose to live under those circumstances. It's not the fault of the police, nor is it their duty to protect you because of your choice to live defenselessly.

sailortoo
December 13, 2008, 07:44 PM
I believe that I have been misunderstood by both wjustinen and expvideo - I do not choose to live in a restrictive state - far from it. If the laws of the state, city, country say that I cannot arm myself for self protection, that is not my choice - but I would have to break the law in order to be able to defend myself. This is not a police protection argument, as the police, de facto, do not have the obligation nor legal demand that they protect me - I am the sole protector of me and mine - no question about that. My problem is, if the city or state takes away my ability to defend myself, just as in the legal sense of law enforcement arrest, where they are then responsible for my safety, why is there no recourse to go after the governing body that took away my "inalienable right", assuming that I am harmed because of their actions? Again, not a police question, but a loss of the ability to defend myself, by law. If I do not "choose" to live under a restrictive law, how am I to change that? I am but one vote! I would appreciate how wjustinen would "disapprove" of a restrictive law! Any pointers, like disobeying a law?
sailortoo

Bryan_Willman
December 13, 2008, 11:46 PM
So, aside from the point that preventing people from protecting themselves and then failing to protect them is something out of Kafka, most of this thread is not very relevent to reality.

That's because the entire discussion has been about obligation, and in particular, civil obligation.

So, Alice is being murdered by Eve, and Bob calls the police for help, and they come with all dispatch, and arrive to find Alice dead. They are, I think, obliged to investigate. They are obliged to arrest Eve. But even if Bob had the right to sue, and won big, ALICE IS STILL DEAD.

Sadly, all police officers are required to be mortal humans, limited by such things as human bodies, the limits of human intellegence, time, laws of physics, and so forth. They are also surely burdened with the desire to live to see tomorrow (I hope so.) Being human, they will make mistakes.

Therefore, EVEN IF EVERY OFFICER HAD INIFINITE PERSONAL LIABILITY and they went to jail and had to pay every penny they ever made for screw-ups (and somebody would still take the job), IT WOULD NOT HELP because that liability would not make them super human nor enable them to engage in time travel.

What the police must do (and mostly do do) is arrest BGs before they commit more crimes. So when officer G arrests Eve for murdering Alice, that doesn't help Alice, but it helps every other person Eve might have attacked. And it helps maintain a rule of society that says we don't murder each other, which is why fairness and justice are so important.

Liability is really only useful as a stick to force changes in behavoir. In the case of the police it's more important to have just and honest and realistic oversight capable of holding its own with unions (and crazy citizens filing bogus complaints!) than to have the right to sue.

Uneven treatment is a common part of reality. The same society that promises you all sorts of rights might still draft you and send you off to your death in some war. And in any case, it's a matter far beyond your control whether you are born in the glorious US or some awful hell hole ruled by sadists.

As to the real point of this forum, pointing out to people *who don't read this forum* the realities of what LE can do, and is obligated to do, including the point that just because they're obligated doesn't make them able, is probably a good tactic. In other words, if more people understood why they really ought to work to protect themselves, that would be good.

But a different force is at work "the vague whole vs the individual" - there is a kind of gun control argument that goes "yes, you were murdered for want of a gun, but the total number of murders in society is lower due to gun control, so society accepts that trade off. have a nice eternity"

You must fight that mind set by pointing out society is made up of individuals that the police cannot possibly protect. There is no "we" there are only a collection of individuals that get refered to that way.

Highland Ranger
December 14, 2008, 08:53 AM
Sadly, all police officers are required to be mortal humans, limited by such things as human bodies, the limits of human intellegence, time, laws of physics, and so forth. They are also surely burdened with the desire to live to see tomorrow (I hope so.) Being human, they will make mistakes.

Don't make it too complicated.

How about, instead of focusing so much effort on less important duties, we start have the police agree to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for 911 response time.

If Fedex can deliver a package overnight for a few bucks, then I bet we can figure out the logistics of making say a 2 minute response the guarantee.

So fewer parking and speeding tickets might be written, but what would happen if every violent criminal knew he had a stopwatch running on him?

Even if that doesn't make sense, there is always some way to do better.

Macmac
December 14, 2008, 09:56 AM
I voted NO. In the mid 80's I found this out the hard way.

I had a wacko show up in my rural area over 3 nights. I lived off a dead end of another dead end, backed up to the Withe Mountian National Forest.

The first night apx 3:30 AM in Spring, think mud season. The wacko pulled in gunning his engine in my door yard, part drive way, part lawn, spun up mud making donuts.

This is damage that sets up how the door yard will be for the next 9 months, and no one wants ruts created at this time of year.

This action woke up my dog, a Great Dane, woke my 4 year old son at the time, scared my working wife and scared me too.

I called the cops after the wacko left, because he didn't stay long. I figured it was a one time event and some punk kid did it. I was wrong.

Next night same thing only this time after messing up the mud, and covering the front of the house, all the vehicals, the barn, and scaring my horse out of it's skin in the process, the guy got out and began yelling swears.

I called the cops. They refused to do anything, because they said the guy would be gone before they could gets there.

The next evening I called the cops to request assistance. That was refused instantly. All I asked for was for a cruiser to be somewhere near by at about 3:30 AM. So when they refused I asked about "To Serve and Protect" using those exact words. The reply was "The police are not personal body guards."

Simply trying to get a better responce I threatened to shoot a firearm, which got me no where...

So I watched some very late night tv that night, determined to bring this situation to a end. The wacho showed, and I watched him do everything he had done the 2nd night, plus more. He then got out and began to yell.

Not satisfied because no lights turned on, he came to the front door, which only the storm door was closed. He came in, and when he saw my dog who was already barking he pulled a knife or maybe he had already pulled the knife. I wasn't clear on that and I wasn't in the same mode of protection I am now.

So I shot him in the legs with # 8 bird shot. That made a mess, but the wacko could still walk, and he limped away back to his car.

At that point probably I was wrong, but I fired again and took out the rear window on the car and most of the tail lights.

Then I called the cops again :D About 45 minutes after that call, my phone rang. It was the cops of course. They asked me questions about this wacko, like telling me his name, wondering if I ever knew him. I did not to both questions.

Then I was told they had to break both of the wackos thumbs as he was caught in the act of choking his girlfriends infant. I was told this wacko was wanted for 6 outstanding bench warrents, all for violence and drug related crimes. I was told this wacko had already done time and lots of it.

That still causes me to be angery with the system. It makes me wish the entire paroll board would go to jail for their revolving door system, because some scum bag's rights to a happy life might be violated.

That last phone call was the last contact. I didn't even get a free ride down town.

So my vote is NO..

Highland Ranger
December 14, 2008, 10:12 AM
If he was in your house, you should have aimed higher . . . . . that was no kid pranking you, that was mortal danger dude.

Macmac
December 14, 2008, 10:20 AM
It was very rural and mid 80's. I was not informed I was a youngman with a wife and small child, and had no handguns other than a Ruger Single Six, in the 3 screw version, and a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44mag.

Self defence in those days was nothing I was involved with.

I learn fast though. Most of my beef is with the system for letting this type of crimal go.

Perhaps had I somehow known who I was dealing with the shottie might have been pointed upwards somewhat more. I would almost bet money this guy either has been released, or will be released AGAIN!

Bryan_Willman
December 14, 2008, 01:53 PM
"Even if that doesn't make sense, there is always some way to do better."

That is surely the right attitude, but it may be the case that things cannot realistically get much better.

I can think of two arguments for not putting 100% of resources into 911 calls.

A. Some other activities - especially arresting impaired/negligent drivers - probably save as many or more lives as running to 911 calls. Somewhat odd given the start of this thread - but an officer who arrests a drunk driver some miles from you is in fact protecting you (and everybody else.)

B. Applying 100% of resources to 911 calls might not shorten the call times enough to matter. Even if officers were spaced to have the shortest delay to any 911 call, and did nothing but wait for such calls, the response time would still be minutes almost all the time. More than long enough for lethal violence to occur.

C. Some important fraction of the time, the 911 call comes in AFTER someone has been killed. It happened not too far from here last night. Paper reports woman shot husband and then called police to report it. Maybe murder, maybe self defense. But in any case, the first the police heard of it, somebody was already dead. Reducing 911 response time to zero would not have helped the slain person.

D. I'm not LE, but it sure seems that a lot of LE depends on chance. As in, Joe Crook is stopped for speeding, and it's then discovered there's a warrant for his arrest, and the arrest is made. Or Sarah Stupid is stopped for erratic driving, and it's discovered she has no license, and perhaps that the car is stolen. (This apparently happens quite often in rural towns not far from Seattle.)

E. Some apparently unimportant activities (parking tickets) are net revenue makers for the jurisdiction - so stopping those things would likely *reduce* the number of officers responding to 911 calls.

However, that doesn't mean it couldn't, and shouldn't, be better.

Rather, I think the reality is that people need to defend themselves. All the police will ever be able to do is restrain the hazard level by arresting criminals.

Ragnar Danneskjold
December 14, 2008, 02:08 PM
The police have no such obligation. Their job is technically to enforce the law. This means arresting people who break that law. It doesn't mean protecting other people from lawbreakers, although ethically, that is what the police do.

Any decent policeman will do whatever they can to protect you in a case like this - but since there's no way they can be there instantly, or even if they are, know what the situation is immediately, it just isn't reasonable to give them that legal obligation.

They will try to protect you, but if they are simply unable to do so, then it makes no sense to punish them.

This.

The law does not require police to protect you. BUT that doesn't meant they won't try, or don't want to. It's simply making it so they can not be punished for being human and not always succeeding.

Art Eatman
December 14, 2008, 03:07 PM
This has circled around more than enough...

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