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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Highland Ranger, Dec 8, 2008.

?

Are the police legally obligated to protect you?

  1. YES

    33 vote(s)
    8.9%
  2. NO

    339 vote(s)
    91.1%
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  1. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Member

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    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)
     
  2. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    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...
     
  3. scottgun

    scottgun Member

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    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"
     
  4. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    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.
     
  5. PryItFromMyColdDeadHands

    PryItFromMyColdDeadHands Member

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    its our job to protect each other unfortunately....although we are not "legally obligated".
     
  6. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    I think Warren has only been referenced a few hundred times.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  7. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    Anybody that answers in the affirmative is quite naive.
     
  8. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    Warren v. DC

    Law Enforcement has NO OBLIGATION to protect any person.

     
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    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.
     
  10. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    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
     
  11. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    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.
     
  12. Gun Slinger

    Gun Slinger member

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    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.
     
  13. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    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.
     
  14. legaleagle_45

    legaleagle_45 Member

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    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...
     
  15. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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

    w_houle Member

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    I voted no: It's not my opinion, SCOTUS said so!
     
  17. sniper7369

    sniper7369 Member

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    "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
     
  18. withdrawn34

    withdrawn34 Member.

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    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.
     
  19. Gun Slinger

    Gun Slinger member

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    Huh? :scrutiny::confused::scrutiny:
     
  20. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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

    subknave Member

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    ``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.
     
  22. legaleagle_45

    legaleagle_45 Member

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    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.
     
  23. ar10

    ar10 Member

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    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.
     
  24. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Member

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    Very surprising number of people answering yes . . . .
     
  25. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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.
     
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