Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Police Responsibility

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Pigoutultra, Mar 15, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    Should police be just as responsible for every bullet they fire as we are responsible for ours? I believe so. Countless times police have accidentally wounded or killed someone who is innocent and face no charges at all, while if an average citizen accidentally shoots someone they are charged with homicide or assault. Countless times I have read stories of police serving a warrant and shootings somebody only to later find out they are innocent. It's not only with people, police SWAT teams routinely kill family dogs when serving a warrant when the dogs are not even acting aggressive but just simply barking. If a regular citizen were to shoot a neighbor's dog without provocation, they would be arrested and charged. Does anybody else feel that the police are granted rights that put them above the law?
     
  2. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    4,301
    Location:
    Plano, Texas
    You might want to check your facts. Police officers are routinely held responsible for negligent shootings.:scrutiny:

    But it was a good rant.:rolleyes:
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    Woah, there! You're making some pretty serious accusations. Do you know of instances where an officer shot someone by mistake and there were no repercussions? Considering the litigation that takes place when an officer steps over the line in using non-lethal force on a suspect, I have grave doubts that there are unlawful homicides that are going unpunished.

    Perhaps you could research some of these "countless" instances and find out what investigations took place afterward, what court cases were tried (both criminal and civil) and what the sentences or settlements involved.

    I'm not saying it never happens, but a thread like this should not be about what we "feel like" might happen. Without something concrete to discuss, this is no better than a thread asking if we "feel like" citizens who carry a concealed weapon are likely to kill the wrong person.

    We have enough paranoia about law enforcement already.

    Having said that, a sworn law enforcement officer IS granted more leeway than an average joe citizen in how and when he may draw and use his weapon. And, he is indemnified by his agency in the event of mistakes and unintended consequences of lawful police activity -- so long as he/she was following official procedure and acting under the authority of the department.
     
  4. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    I'm not saying that all instances of police negligent shootings go untried, but a number of them do, and most that are tried are acquitted due to their Official Immunity. Basically, they have to prove that what (s)he did was out of malice in order to convict. The rules are just different for police. Say a citizen is armed and they are in an argument with someone on the street, the other person suddenly reaches into their pocket so the armed citizen shoots them, turns out that person wasn't armed and was reaching for a vibrating cell phone. The one who did the shooting will be convicted of some form of homicide or assault depending on whether or not the innocent dies. If an on duty police officer does that same, they will most likely either get their conduct reviewed or get a citation, but nothing more than that.
     
  5. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    Okay Sam, consider collateral damage as an example. A police officer in a shootout hits a 7-year-old skipping down the street. Yes he will be investigated and there will mostly likely be a civil lawsuit filed, but, in most cases they will be acquitted of negligent homicide. If a regular citizen was acting in self defense and a stray bullet fired from his/her weapon strikes and kills a bystander, they will most certainly be charged with assault/homicide and sued, and the shooter will most likely lose.
     
  6. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,232
    Location:
    Down by the rivah, VA
    Sam1911,

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/re...s_cops_admit_accident/srvc=home&position=also

    Off the top of my head. Officer has a ND and kills innocent man, all due to executing a dynamic entry pursuant to a search warrant for a suspect they already had in custody

    How many citizens can kill someone due to a negligent discharge and not be charged? How many people could kill someone by accident at work and still be employed?

    Yes, he probably will be disciplined, possibly fired (although its not looking likely), and hopefully the family will sue, both the department and the officer.

    I am not a cop-basher, I have a family lineage of law enforcement, and I currently work with local and federal law enforcement. I know that there are good cops and bad cops, good departments and bad departments. But this blue wall crap has to stop and police need to start holding themselves accountable.

    EDIT: The Cato Institute has some good articles on the subject. Start here.
     
  7. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    Essayons21, I was actually considering posting that very same Cato map. I decided against it because it's a LOT of info.
     
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    You are at least somewhat correct. The rules are different to specific degrees as otherwise no person could act as a police officer. We, the citizenry, employ police officers as public servants who are granted certain protections (legal as well as physical) while on official duty. Surely you'd agree that has to be so.

    Not necessarily. If the shooter can convince the arresting officers, DA, Grand Jury, or petit jury that his action was reasonable -- that he had a reasonable fear for his life -- then he certainly may be acquitted.

    How do you know this? Do you have any examples? I can't decide whether to agree with your or not based on a hypothetical that you think is the way these things work. I can say with certainty that police officers have been convicted and sent to prison for unlawful shootings. Is the standard somewhat different for a sworn officer? Probably. Acting not on official duty, maybe. (Note that most police officers are never really "off" duty -- without official duty to respond to unlawful acts, etc.)
     
  9. henschman

    henschman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,880
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Prosecutors do not like to bring charges against cops. Also, juries tend to be very biased in favor of cops. If anyone is hurt during a search executed by cops, a lot of jurors would not vote to convict or hold liable the cop because they figure that if you are being searched, you must be doing somehting wrong, and if you're doing something wrong, you had it coming to you and the juror will take it upon himself to see that this happens.
     
  10. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    657
    Location:
    Florida
    The other thing is, if the police are sued and lose, the taxpayers pay the settlement. Not much of a deterrent for bad actors, IMO.
     
  11. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,232
    Location:
    Down by the rivah, VA
    Not likely. A citizen who shoots an officer is guilty unless proven innocent, and thats almost impossible.

    See the Ryan Frederick case, one that was close to home for me.

    In fact, I'd like to see a single case in recent history where a citizen shot an officer acting in the line of duty and didn't serve jail time.
     
  12. Gouranga

    Gouranga Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    928
    Location:
    Gaston County, NC
    Wow they have a lot of scary incidents there. A few local to my area.

    I would say there is enough there to warrant a discussion on it.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    There is a different standard, certainly, in whether or not an officer or a government entity can be sued for various things. I still object to your "most likely" and "most cases" statements. I don't think you're working with concrete information.

    An officer acting in his official duties, who had to deploy his weapon in order to carry out those duties is going to be largely immune from prosecution for that kind of accident (I believe) because we view his need to act as in the interests of society and more compelling than the grave risks to bystanders that those actions may engender. Note, however, that police policy has shifted a long way in the last few decades to get away from this kind of thing. Shootouts are not encouraged, nor are high-speed chases unless the reason for pursuit or shots to be fired is so grave that the risks to the public are deemed worth it.

    Should these protections be extended to civilians? I won't argue against that. I'm a big fan of the felony murder rule.
     
  14. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    When did a citizen shooting a police officer enter the discussion?
     
  15. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    Hoppes, that's not always true. If you are suing a police officer and you win, you get paid by the police officer and what ever insurance they are required to have because of union membership. If you are suing the district, the taxpayer pay. Since you can't effectively sue each individual person who played a part in the events leading to the shooting and because of the individual investigations into the police officer usually end up determining the shooting as "justifiable" your only option would be to sue the district for damages and hope that the jury sides with you. Another problem is a cop's word takes precedence over a citizens word usually. And cops tend to stick together and defend their associates, whether by honesty or purgery.
     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    43,267
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    Where I disagree with the thrust of this thread is that I fault the political bosses of the city or county. THEY are the ones with specific legal power to clean up any such mess.

    Personal opinion, but ANY problem of whatever sort with any police department is the responsibility of the local elected officials. The voters can remedy the problem.

    A sheriff's office, where the sheriff is elected? The county commissioners are in control of his budget. Again, the voters can remedy the problem.
     
  17. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    Ok. So the case has not been settled yet. Not having all of the facts in this case, it appears the officer was acting in his official capacity and with the information he was given by his superiors. (He didn't knowingly enter the wrong house.)

    Negligent discharge during a felony arrest? Yeah, I'm sure that happens. Should the officer go to jail for it? Or should his department be liable for the multiplicity of mistakes that lead to the death?

    A "Joe Citizen" could never have been in that position to begin with as he has no authority to do any of those things, and would not have been required to perform that task as part of his official duty.
     
  18. KenW.

    KenW. Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,096
    Location:
    Out West
    In my area, for an officer involved shooting there are at several investigations. The first is by the agency, (in my area, by a task force is selected from several nearby agencies; the leadership rotates) to determine if the shooting was reasonable and necessary. The next by the prosecutor's office to see if criminal charges are warranted,
    Another can be done to compare the officer's actions to the agency's policy.

    LEOs are looked at more stringently, by more investigators, and more agencies, than others. We had the FBI look at one of our more recent shootings; and no one was even hit.
     
  19. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    A larger cause of these problems is mainly due to the policies of the 80's and 90's that began to militarize the police. Nowadays(I apologize for using that word), the SWAT team is used to execute warrants on nonviolent people who are not an immediate threat, which was the original purpose of a SWAT team. The use of violence to stop violence is justifiable, but the use of violence to arrest a nonviolent, non-retreating person is not justifiable.
     
  20. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    33,736
    Location:
    Central PA
    I agree that this must sometimes be so. Maybe most of the time. But it sure cuts both ways. If a good attorney can convince the jury that this is a case of the big bad police strapping on the jackboots and oppressing someone and/or infringing their rights, there can be some surprising results.
     
  21. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,276
    Location:
    Kodiak, AK
    Art makes a very good point above.

    Who is responsible for the police? Ultimately it is ourselves, the voters, who are responsible for the actions of public employees. We elect those who set and enforce the rules under which the police operate. If you don't like the rules (or think those rules aren't being enforced), fire the rulers.
     
  22. ZeBool

    ZeBool Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    New Castle PA
    While I have a lot of respect for law enforcement, it is obvious that we in no way, shape or form play by the same rules. If I shot someone in self defense, I would almost certainly spend the night(or longer) in jail. If it was decided by the powers that be that I must defend my actions in court, it is possible that I may have to post bail while waiting for a trial. Police in the same situation at most might be suspended with pay pending investigation.

    That said, I don't agree with the vitriol towards police in this thread, and do not feel that they are out to get us.
     
  23. Gouranga

    Gouranga Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    928
    Location:
    Gaston County, NC
    x2, There is no great conspiracy but (basing this off the news article I am seeing) it does seem that there is way too much leniency given to their mistakes.

    I mean I am seeing multiple cases where a SWAT is executing no-knock raids for Marijuana possession (that's a misdemeanor), and then doing raids based solely on the words of an informant who is likely a criminal himself. Seems to me the officers doing these raids need to be held criminally liable for the outcomes when they grossly screw up like going to the wrong address. I would also hold the leadership giving the orders needs to hold a higher level of liability than the officer on the street particularly when they order a raid on an incorrect address.

    To be certain and clear THESE ARE RARE EVENTS. However, imagine middle of the night, cops kick in your door cause they transposed 2 digits on an address, or looked at the wrong mailbox. I would be likely to open fire on them believing I was being robbed. I would likely be killed because of that. Seems ti me upping the stakes on leadership for screwing up these raids would be a good way to up their fact checking.
     
  24. Pigoutultra

    Pigoutultra Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Near Fort Dix, NJ
    ZeBool, I agree with you that if you're a cop and you shoot someone you get to go home that night, while if you're a citizen and you shoot someone you spend the night in an interrogation room and a jail cell waiting for your lawyer to come in the morning.
     
  25. ATBackPackin

    ATBackPackin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,125
    Location:
    Valley Forge, PA.
    The problem as I see it is that most of America has become so obsessed with the illusion of safety that the police are give quite a lot of liberties. Some warranted, some not. Most people feel that if an innocent person gets hurt by the police that it is better than allowing the guilty ones to get away and continue their bad ways. If this were not true, there would be outrage every time an innocent person was hurt or killed by the police. Most Americans would rather see an innocent person in prison than a guilty one free.

    The worse part of it to me is even after the police realize they made a mistake, they fight the people or family tooth and nail for any kind of compensation for their wrong actions.

    For the record I am not against the police or LE of any kind. Quite the opposite actually, but I feel that these kind of mistakes are going to continue to happen until America becomes outraged. But that's never going to happen to me right, so everything is OK. All in the name of safety, after all it is all about the children.

    Shawn

    Oh by the way, if you ever get to watch a documentary called "After Innocence", I recommend it.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page