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Shooting a LEO in self defense??? Hypothetical

Discussion in 'Legal' started by possom813, Oct 30, 2007.

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  1. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    I'm not sure what part of the brain thought this up:what:. But are there any circumstances that you could claim self defense against a LEO?

    I'm not out to get any LEO's, it just crossed my mind today.

    The only scenario that I can think of would be if the cop went crazy or on a shooting rampage or something similar.

    -John
     
  2. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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  3. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    This topic comes up from time to time. As best I can tell, the "official" THR policy on this kind of thing is:

    1. No resistance is to be offered at all no matter what the LEO does.

    2. Hope you are not killed.

    3. Complain later. Presumably, if you are killed, someone else would file the complaint for you.
     
  4. Outlaws

    Outlaws Member

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    Yes. But you will no doubt be considered Guilty until proven Innocent.

    There was a cop or two in Miami if I recall that illegally entered onto someones property and opened the garage door, and started patting down the home owners wife, he came out and beat the cop up. I believe the charge of taking the officers weapon stood, because I guess that is illegal no matter what, but the assault charge against the home owner didn't hold up. I would think there are extreme circumstances where shooting would be justified, but its not gonna be pretty during the immediate aftermath, you will be branded a cop killer from the get go and better make phoning a lawyer top priority before the rest of the force shows up.
     
  5. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Right. In case somebody thinks the OP is looking for a chance to shoot cops, we in Texas have an interesting part of our lethal-force rules that specifically mention that we are allowed to shoot police officers if... they are using excessive force or some such, IIRC.
    http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/ftp/forms/ls-16.pdf#page=63
    Subchapter C, PC 9.31, c:
    "If, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and
    when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer's (or other person's) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary."

    I have no idea why it was put in Texas law, to be honest. Perhaps a tool in case of (very) excessive police brutality? In case somebody tries to plunger a prisoner? I couldn't say. I guess the people writing the law simply wanted it to be known that Texans have the right to shoot anybody who acts up badly enough, regardless of uniform.

    When you read our lethal force law, you do get the idea that the legislature had checked out THR for all the possible scenarios where you had the choice to shoot, and decided to make it legal to shoot in all those scenarios.
    I'm serious here. Texas wants you to shoot BGs. If we had an income tax, you would probably get a credit if you shot a BG, and extra if he didn't survive (saves costs to the state). You are only required to retreat if you run out of ammunition. :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  6. igpoobah

    igpoobah Member

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    Yup, that's a bit of a sticky wicket for sure. :D

    I hope it never comes down to that, cause you are pretty screwed; no matter how it goes down you're going to be the bad guy unless there are a bunch of witnesses that say otherwise. Even then it's going to be rough...
     
  7. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    It happens from time time that people attack LEO's and are not charged. There was a case in Florida not long ago that was widely discussed here where two LEO's were taken down serving a summons and entered the house without a warrant.

    The LEO's would have to be clearly breaking the law in front of witnesses for you to even contemplate not getting charged or prosecuted.
     
  8. Tyris

    Tyris member

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  9. Crunker1337

    Crunker1337 Member

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    I remember reading an article in which a CCW holder shot an undercover cop after said cop pulled him over for a traffic violation, and for no conceivable reason, pulled his own weapon on the CCW holder's wife.
    The CCW holder was not charged.
     
  10. lloydkristmas

    lloydkristmas Member

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    I'm thinking something along the lines of illegal entrance into a home and/or illegal weapons confiscation similar to what happened during the whole Katrina mess. I hate to talk about this sort of thing, but I think that would be one of the only times I would consider taking the life of a military or law enforcement officer.

    99% of them are good, honorable people but every once in a while you run across a bad one....
     
  11. joe4702

    joe4702 Member

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    There's a bridge in San Diego named after a young lady who was pulled over and strangled by a CHP officer in 1986. A few (really) bad apples in every bushel, unfortunately.
     
  12. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    Sure, I'd imagine there are plenty of situations in which self defense from a LEO is reasonable.

    However, juries overwhelmingly give police the benefit of the doubt. So even if your claim to self defense is legit, theres still a good chance that you'll end up spending the rest of your days in prison and/or death row.

    This, of course, assumes that you make it to trial alive.
     
  13. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Illinois Law:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilc...SeqEnd=9300000&ActName=Criminal+Code+of+1961.

    Most states have similar laws. Yes there have been cases where people have gotten off in cases of mistaken identity or in cases of extreme illegal conduct such as attempted murder by the police, however in most cases any resistance is just going to add to whatever legal problems you already have.

    Jeff
     
  14. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    I could be mistaken, but I believe the OP is refering to instances in which a cop is off duty or acting outside the scope of their duties. I believe those type of laws only apply when the LEO is acting in an official capacity.
     
  15. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Its pretty scary that here in Illinois they dont want you to resist. It seems that the legislators put to much faith in law enforcement.
     
  16. doubleg

    doubleg Member

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    "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six."

    Do what you need to do to defend yourself.
     
  17. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    If he's acting outside of his duties and not in any official capacity, then the same laws apply as if it was another civilian. Cops, being human sometimes, do stupid things just like everyone else.

    The kicker is, if the officer identifies himself as an officer and acts in an official capacity then the law I posted applies. Also all of the other laws, battery being a felony, etc. kick in then too.

    Jeff
     
  18. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    don't know about shooting a cop but having called the state cops on the local cops even that gets pretty weird for a while. one trooper 5 back peddling confused manassas cops. its was interesting to see him take command over the 5 using the usual methods
     
  19. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Tecumseh said;
    I think you are letting your personal bias against law enforcement over ride common sense. Imagine a world where it was legal to resist arrest. Do you really want to settle all legal issues on the street with violence?

    We have a thing called court. And court is where we resist arrest, if we're smart we get a lawyer to help us.

    I challenge you to show me a jurisdiction anywhere in the US where the legislature wants you to resist arrest. Sheesh............:uhoh:
     
  20. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    It originally was just a thought, I've been off work for almost two weeks on vacation and my mind is starting to wonder.

    The situation that I was thinking about wasn't necessarily the LEO being in uniform. Just if an officer snapped, in uniform or not. With the stress that particular profession must have associated with it, it seems that this is, however; unlikely, feasible

    -John.
     
  21. SMLE

    SMLE Member

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    I'll try to find the info, but a few years aga, a fellow here in Albuquerque Shot a cop in his house. He was aquitted of murder because it was detirmined that the cops were acting illegally.

    That said, it would have to be a really grave situation for me to consider shooting a LEO. Probably involving a baltantly illegal assault on an innocent person.

    FWIW: What does the majority here think of the "Rodney King" scenario? Would that justify armed resistance to LEOs?
     
  22. Albatross

    Albatross Member

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    Probably the 3 S's don't apply here.

    /Shoot, shovel and shut up?
     
  23. AZRickD

    AZRickD Member

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    Let's say Rodney King was able to get off one lucky punch (or pulled a gun after being batoned) that severely injured or even killed one of the LEOs. That would have changed the calculus of the situation, but all else being equal, one could argue its justification.

    Rick
     
  24. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    No, lets not forget he was a wanted criminal, a fleeing felon, and had charged at and been trying to attack officers before what appears to be excessive force was used.
    The footage widely shown however is only of that end result. In fact the media continuously played that footage over and over building on the emotions of blacks for ratings. Eventualy that would erupt into the riots that are so infamous.

    If a guy was a felony suspect that just led police on a pursuit, and then proceeded to attack police when they pulled him over and you were the officer being attacked by a heavily built man with a long history of prison time,high on PCP, and very strong...
    You would probably want to be justified in shooting him.

    They instead began to use thier nightsticks, he continued to try to resist, they continued to use them. Eventualy it crossed a line and became punishment for his actions based on officer emotions. However that is a grey area under the circumstances, and a jury aquited them all.



    A better real life example would be the ruby ridge incident. Officer's acting on a "valid" warrant attempted to sneak onto someone's property and when confronted by armed property owner's in a rural location in the free state of Idaho (where being armed in your yard is perfectly acceptable) fired at the dog accompanying them and then aimed thier rifles at the individuals. The child on seeing his pet killed cried out and aimed his rifle at the officers who were clearly posing a threat to anyone on the property. The officers shot at him and hit him, I believe in the arm, injuring him.
    The child then attempted to flee and while running away was shot at multiple times eventualy being shot in the back. The man with the child who was a family friend then opened fire on the officer killing him.
    That was later deemed to be a justifiable shooting.
    Of course there was multiple arguments in that ruling, one being that the officers did not identify themselves as U.S. Marshals.

    However that was in Idaho and a very public case with local support.
    I imagine a similar incident on either coast would have resulted in the man going away for life.
     
  25. novaDAK

    novaDAK Member

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    If no laws were broken to incite the reason for my need of defense, I'll do whatever is necessary to protect myself or loved ones.
     
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