suspect gains control of an officer's gun, and you are the only one who can help...

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Apr 28, 2009
Lets say you are walking down the street (legally CCWing), and you come across a melee between a police officer and a drug-crazed PoS that spills out onto the sidewalk from a run-down apartment building. The PoS, through some act of Satan gains control of the officer's sidearm/taser/mace/club. Is that grounds to not only intervene, but draw your CCW and shoot and kill the PoS?
Yupper. Be careful of your backstop and be ready to do everything the nice policeman tells you to do.
Depends on which weapon the perp gets ahold of.

We are generally allowed to use the next higher level of force than the perp.

Perp has no weapon: we can use less-lethal or contact weapons.

Perp has a less-lethal or contact weapon: we can use a gun (provided he is within 25 feet of ourselves or the victim)

Perp has a gun: we had better shoot faster, straighter and preferably first-er than he does.

Watch your background and don't forget to try and gain the overall advantage. What if the perp has buddies that run out of the building with guns? What if the officer mistakes you for one of the perp's buddies and thinks you were trying to shoot HIM? What if a responding officer mis-identifies you?

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act... quickly... then repeat the cycle!

Any defensive engagement requires constant re-assessment.
I took a concealed carry course from a local police chief and he said that the main reason he taught these public service classes was to up his chances that, if he ever got into deep trouble on the side of the road, one of his student-citizens would stop and render aid or toss him a piece to end the problem.
...scoutsabout...that's one thing I don't miss for sure...that damned continuum of force...glad to be a civilian for sure!!! All I'm responsible for is deciding if deadly force is justified and necessary...we didn't have that when I was a cop...ran into it in security work in ' sucks.... the rest...I hope you would...I know personally two officers whose lives were saved by a citizen's intervention...
Not in my state. If it isn't you or your someone with you (family or friend) you are not justified. Unless the cop is part of you party then you have no rights untill the man turns his aggression towards you.

You are allowed to arrest them though under a citizen arrest. I'm not sure how gun laws would mix with that. Self defense laws won't cover you though.

I vote stand & watch unless you know the cop. It might sound bad but it would also be bad to go to prison or even shot by the cop for helping.

Now with that said I could never stand & watch it happen without helping. I would also hope that the cop would be grateful enough not to arrest me.
I certainly wouldn't watch a cop get beaten down, I don't care what the odds are. If he needed help, I would help him, if it got me shot by the cop or the crook or another citizen trying to help, then at least I wouldn't have to worry about taxes anymore.
Not in my state. If it isn't you or your someone with you (family or friend) you are not justified.

what state?
Depending on your own situation and jurisdiction

I would most likely not intervene. I have so little faith in our justice system this is what I would expect to happen. Assuming the bad guy has the gun and backup is on their way.

I shoot (or at least shoot at) the bad guy he falls over or runs away

Backup shows up. I am now a man with a gun and the police are in panic mode. I may get shot. If i don't I get tazered, or pepper sprayed or am found to be "resisting" and tackled and handcuffed. In the first few min. it may or may not come out that I am the good guy. If it doesn't come out I expect to get hurt. A lot. If the first officer is incapacitated or unable to back up my story I expect to spend an extended period behind bars.

If I am immediately recognized as the good guy I still expect to loose my gun (maybe permanently) I expect many hours of hassle and headache trying to get it back. I expect to be accused of being a criminal (because only criminals carry guns) I expect to be detained for an extended period of time that may or may not put my job (and the food on my families table and roof over their head in jeopardy)

I am a relatively new gun owner and have very limited training. As a compassionate human begin I am very sad to say that I would not intervene but I feel like I would be risking my own safety and well being in the process. In the course of my job I have seen many people die that should not have and I feel like I have been instrumental in saving a few as well. Bad things happen to good people every day. It has been very important for me to accept this as a fact of life.

I think you would be justified in shooting but I think the consequences would make it not worth the effort. The only reason I would draw is with the intent of insuring my own safety and making the situation 100% threat free.
If I came upon a situation where a crook was wrestling w/ a cop for his gun. I would come up behind the crook, close enough to engage. Draw my weopon and make sure Ive got a good bead on him. Then yell in my big boy voice "HEY! DROP IT! Then be ready for him to turn around toward me quick. If I saw anything in his hands like a gun. And it was coming up to aim at me instead of going down toward the ground. Lets just say I hope I would be quick enough and accurate enough to stop him. If I dont think I would be up to the challenge. I would probably take cover somewhere.
Shoot the POS.
Holster your gun.
Go and assist the LEO and stay right next to him so he'll ID you to his freinds as a good guy.
Do as your told after all the back arrives.

Go home
In the mail get your new "friends of police " badge and never get a traffic ticket again.

Couldn't stand by and not render assistance. It's not in my DNA. Considering that your prints would not be on the officer's weapon, your chances of a faulty prosecution would be unlikely. Don't miss.
Wow... I hope I never find myself in that situation but the reply about the hassle afterwards and possibly losing my gun are surprising.

I would trade any gun I own for an innocent persons life any day. Says a lot frankly about character
Gotta Agree with Casaba. Don't think I could live with myself knowing I could have helped someone but didn't because I was worried about breaking a law that some pansy ass liberal concocted. Do right or do wrong, there is no middle.
Yes, assist.

While working patrol I could not tell you the number of times I had a private citizen assist me and I appreciated it every time. I worked a very bad area and resistant subjects were not out of the norm. I had a number of citizens provide assistance when I was in fights. Sometimes they asked and I said yes. Sometimes it was clear they were coming to assist me and it was appreciated just the same.

I would consider it a blessing if I am on the losing end of the battle for a private citizen to effectively end the fight in my favor.

That being said, you must be very careful about how you go about getting involved. You do not want to be mistaken for the bad guy's friends. As well, pulling over to assist on a simple traffic stop or the like is not kosher. If it is not readily apparent that you are needed, continue about your business.

I would say that universally a police officer will appreciate you coming to his or her rescue. Regardless of what the law may state, I cannot see anyone getting in trouble for performing such an act.
i would most definately assist an officer in a physical altercation if the subject was fist fighting/ trying to gain control of the officer's firearm. if the subject has allready taken control of the firearm i would take cover and only if there were no other people around that could be caught in crossfire would i draw my weapon and order the the suspect to drop his weapon.
Wow, I am surprised that some people here would actually not assist an officer when a suspect has him dead-to-rights with his own service weapon. This is one of those times where I think it is OK to shoot first, worry about court later. Like a couple of people here, I would gladly trade my freedom (and my rights) for the life of an innocent police officer in a life-or-death situation. I would not be able to live with the guilt of being selfish enough to not assist that officer and walk away, then turn on the news the next morning to find that that very same officer was shot and killed with his own weapon and the PoS that shot him is still at large, more than likely armed with the slain officer's gun.
Ok, so what if the guy you shoot ends up being an undercover cop and the guy in uniform is a bad guy going door to door raping people? Unless your there start to finish, you got to be careful about what you get involved in.

But generally speaking, I would assist as much as possible. If you've been involved in something (like a shooting) comply with the other officers when they arrive. Don't talk back, don't try to explain yourself. They say drop the gun, drop it. They say get on the ground, get on the ground. You'll get to explain yourself later. Unless you mess around and get yourself shot.
...what if the guy you shoot ends up being an undercover cop and the guy in uniform is a bad guy...

This is what I was thinking. Either way, you might be able to convince the DA that you were trying to do the right thing.
Ok, so what if the guy you shoot ends up being an undercover cop and the guy in uniform is a bad guy going door to door raping people?

Ok, while maybe not completely outside the realm of possibilities, that is pretty far fetched. Let's remain realistic here.

I'm not saying that there aren't police impersonators, nor am I saying that there are plain clothes officers that will sometimes be involved in an altercation without assistance readily available. However, I would say that the chances of those two things happening simultaneously is so miniscule that it would not create a valid argument.

Despite stories you may hear, there just aren't a lot of bad guys dressing as uniformed police officers (at least here in the U.S.). When you do hear about it they are making the fake traffic stops. When these situations do occur, it is even more unlikely that it is going to be a plain clothes officer responding. Ok, now you say, maybe the plain clothes officer was staking out that neighborhood for said bad guy. Rest assured if he was going after a guy like that there is a swarm of officers with him.

All that aside, if we remain realistic you are going to see a lot of other indicators as well, i.e. marked patrol car, etc. Even if you did not, I would argue that it is pretty easy to figure out who is the aggressor (perp) and who is the good guy (officer) on the face of it.

I'll respect anyone's right to not get involved based on their own moral convictions, but to use a far-fetched possibility for that same action is without merit.

This is what I was thinking. Either way, you might be able to convince the DA that you were trying to do the right thing.

That's right. It's called a good samaritan law. True, not all states have laws that would cover a good samaritan in such a situation. However, you are unlikely to find a police department that would forward such charges to a DA, less likely to find a DA who will prosecute the case, and even less likely to find a jury that would convict.
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