General Question

robmandu's avatar

Under what circumstances can you imagine where a person could shoot a policeman in self defense?

Asked by robmandu (21201 points ) February 13th, 2009

Sorry, been listening to Bob Marley.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

eambos's avatar

Corrupted cop turned hitman out to get you?

miasmom's avatar

Unfortunately there are crooked cops, so maybe in a situation where the cop was doing something illegal and trying to hurt someone…

nikipedia's avatar

Is the policeman acting on behalf of the law, or is he just some dbag who happens to, coincidentally, be a policeman?

If the former scenario is the case, is the law corrupt? If the latter scenario is the case, is he a dbag who happens to be a policeman who happens to be threatening you in some substantive way?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

These ones: if the police broke down your door without warning because they thought your house was the crack house but it was actually next door or it was the same number on a different street (which happened recently in my town) and you didn’t realize they were the police (because they didn’t give any warning because they thought you were a crackhead), and you thought they were a burglar, rapist, or other criminal trying to break into your house, you might shoot in self defense.

(And if you live in Texas, and it actually is a criminal, you can get off scot-free for shooting and killing more than one person, even if they’re breaking into your neighbors’ house, not yours, and not even threatening you in any way, good going, Joe Horn).

marinelife's avatar

I can’t imagine being in a position to shoot anyone, especially a law enforcement officer.

Snoopy's avatar

….undercover cop playing a roll that may involve assaulting someone who may in turn use deadly force in self defense….

marinelife's avatar

@Snoopy Sourdough or Kaiser? :D

robmandu's avatar

@Marina & @Snoopy, a donut-famished cop coming after my cinnamon roll would likely find himself in a hard place real fast.

marinelife's avatar

I think people have put forth interesting reasons here that are thought-provoking. Saving my pastry definitely gives me pause. The reason I know I wouldn’t shoot is I don’t and won’t own a gun.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Coming from someone with a law enforcement background of over 20 years, it is seriously hard for me to come up with good reasons why someone might shoot a police officer in self-defense.

marinelife's avatar

@Bluefreedom I have felt that news stories are indicating what I think is a disturbing, growing trend of people defying law enforcement and creating bad situations that could have been avoided. (Note: I am not excusing any out-of-line behavior by police officers), but some of the provocation seems needlessly engendered by people’s growing innate sense of entitlement.

Zaku's avatar

A situation where the police are currently using deadly force against you. Fighting back would be self-defence, seems to me, especially if you weren’t threatening them beforehand. Why an officer would be doing that, well, is a different question. Also, just because it might be self-defence, doesn’t mean it’s be the right or best thing to do – I expect in almost any situation, it wouldn’t be.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The only way I would shoot anyone, including an officer of the law, is if I felt that my life was in imminent danger of being lost. True, I’d probably either be shot down myself or go to prison, but there it is. I can’t imagine what the situation would be wherein I felt such danger, though, so I put the chances of it happening at nil.

Unless we had a Red Dawn thing going down. Then me, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell and all the other teens on the block? We’d be fighting the power!

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Marina. You make a very good point. I would still venture to guess that a majority of police officers use proper force within department guidelines and do their jobs admirably well according to the letter of the law. Being a police officer (I have many friends who are policeman) and myself, who has been a military policeman for over 20 years, it is not an easy job at all.

It goes without saying that there is corruption in law enforcement and ‘bad seeds’ in police departments but I certainly do not think this accounts for a majority of law enforcement officers in the world today.

laureth's avatar

Most cops are heroes that devote their life (and sometimes lose their life) to protecting the rest of us. They are a wall between you and me, and danger. My grandfather was a Detroit cop during the race riots, and he’s one of my biggest heroes.

That said, I think one of the benchmarks in growing up is the day we realize that authority figures (parents, teachers, cops…) don’t always get it right, and aren’t always good. Sometimes they don’t act as they should, or in a way that is just. Sometimes cops beat people up way more than the pursuit of justice demands. Sometimes, they are out for personal vengeance or agenda, not public justice.

If you brandish a gun at a cop, you’ll very likely die for it, and that’s just the way it is. However, would Rodney King have been right to defend himself? Were the gay patrons of the Stonewall bar right to defend themselves? I think so. Cops are people, just like you and me, and we all have our triggers, our prejudices, and our occasional feet of clay. The difference is that the cops can back it up with their bigger sticks.

buster's avatar

A few years ago in Lebanon Tennessee the police went to execute a drug raid. Somehow the dumb pigs raided the wrong house which was next door to the intended target. They busted in the home and the homeowner a 62 year old man raised a shotgun because he was in fear for him and his wife’s life. He shot thinking he was being robbed. He ended up with 17 slugs in his body. That really happened because of the socalled war on drugs. That man shouldve shot every cop that ran up in his house for no reason.

Heres the story

Knotmyday's avatar

Well, there are dirty cops. Internal Affairs are constantly working to root them out; a known fact.

Imagine being a cop in a shoot or no shoot situation with a member of your own force… THAT is one messed up situation.

Blondesjon's avatar

I believe as long as Texas Cage-Match rules are in effect…anything goes…

@laureth…Your GA made it difficult for me to answer as I did.

then i remembered you have a sense of humor

laureth's avatar

Heh. :) One is lost if one cannot laugh!

augustlan's avatar

The only way I can see it is in a rogue cop situation. Perhaps one who has lost his mind. I’d have to first get the gun away from him, though, since I don’t walk around armed. Seems unlikely.

@aprilsimnel Lurve for Red Dawn! Great movie :)

dabbler's avatar

@laureth “If you brandish a gun at a cop, you’ll very likely die for it”
That’s all too true and no matter how justified you are, and maybe even effective in your first volley, the cops have backup. And if there is an “officer down” they are not likely to use much judgement at all. You will be considered guilty until proven lifeless.

@buster Excellent example of the worst kind of police action. And that is far from an isolated incident.
Stupid drug war has eroded whatever respect we want to have for our hard working peace officers. The very few police officers I’ve met seriously lament what a waste of manpower and resources the drug war is. And it makes it easy it is for the public to dismiss the police as uniformly stupid or agents of jackboot policy.
Makes it harder for them to get done the things for which we do actually need police.

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