I came across this the other day, a very good read:
" This topic had been brought up a while back and the consensus was pretty back and forth as to whether or not to speak with the Police after a shooting.
First off : I am an LEO. The following are my opinions only and are not intended to reflect the feelings of other LEO's or act as a guide for what to do after a shooting. This is nothing more than my take and as big boys and girls you need to make your own decision on the matter.
Secondly: I am a member of an organization in my state which basically can be described as Lawyer Insurance. I pay quarterly dues and in turn, they provide me with legal representation in the event I am being hassled by my agency, sued civily and/or facing criminal prosecution as a result of my actions while in an official capacity. Also, if in the event of a shooting, whether on or off duty, they will have a lawyer at my side within 1 hour, regardless of the time of day/night.
Here's my take, as an LEO, on speaking with the Police after a shooting: DON'T.
1. When a Police Officer (or anyone else for that matter) has been in a high stress situation, such as a shooting, it is recommended not to write our reports until a day or two has gone by. This is because immediately after the incident, our minds are racing with "OMG I almost died!" types of thoughts, etc.
After a few days, and calming, one is much more able to think clearly and put the chain of events into words.
2.Anything you say, whether before or after your Miranda Rights are read, can and will be used against you in court. Statements are not always put into context by the Police, they are just listed. So statements such as "The Mother Effer came at me with a knife so I killed him" will be put in the report and you will get to explain to a jury why you used those words. They are not going to be too concerned with the fact you just fought for your life and were amped up, but more concerned with why you used the language you did.
Also, just because you have not been advised of your Miranda Rights does not mean you should speak. Police only have to advised you of Miranda if you are placed into custody, taken from one place to another (talking at the station), or placed in a situation where a "reasonable" person would not feel free to leave. So statements you make to the police while sitting on your couch in your house when they ask "Can you tell me why there is a dead guy on your front porch?" will also be used. So choose your words wisely.
The way you describe the chain of events leading to your use of deadly force, while it may seem innocent and honorable enough to you, may not sit so well with the Officer interviewing you, or the jury hearing the case. This can be avoided by letting your Lawyer coach you on how to better give your side of the story. Perception is everything, and even though you are the good guy, you need to be "percieved" as the good guy.
3. The Police are not going to be your advocate. We will try to find out the truth based on the evidence, witnesses and your statements. If all that leads to enough probable cause to charge you, guess what, you have much larger troubles now. There are many a District Attourney out there looking to make a name for him/herself, and there have been enought cops and citizens who have stood trial for a "good" shooting to prove it. If any of you have read Massad Ayoob's columns in the gun magazines, you know he frequently speaks about covering one's hind quarters in court, both before and after a shooting.
In asking to speak with a lawyer before making a statement, you give yourself an opportunity to cool down, sort out in your own head what just happened, and run it past a person who is YOUR advocate and has YOUR best interests at heart. Not to mention a person who is trained in the law and can help make you look like the good citizen you are, and not a gun toting Rambo the public/DA's office may see you to be.
4. Choosing to speak with a lawyer does not automatically tell the Police your are guilty. When dealing with a "suspect" who refuses comment and asks for a lawyer, it tells me either they've been through this before or they more than likely are guilty. The key word is "suspect." When honest Joe Citizen who just waxed some crook tells me he/she wishes to speak with a lawyer it tells me someone has done their homework.
5. In the event I am in a shooting, I WILL NOT speak to ANYONE without my lawyer present. Not my chief, best friend, etc. It doesn't matter if the shoot is clearly a good shoot, I'm still going to run everything past my lawyer who is there for me and only me. Why? My agency will only be looking to see if my actions will cost them $ or cause them to be held liable in any way. Once they find they are in the clear, I'm on my own.
For those of you not in the LEO business, you're just on your own, period. In these days of liberal judges/juries and law suit hungry people, you need to protect yourself and your family the best you can.
My recommendation to people who carry a gun for protection, or have a gun in the home for the same purpose. Find a lawyer who has some experience in criminal defense. Alot of these people offer free consultations. Find one you have confidence in and can trust. It may take a while and several referrals, but once you've got one, keep them. Speak with your lawyer about his or her recommendations for you in the event you are involved in a shooting and get some 24/7 contact information for them so you can contact them right away should the need arise.
I'm not writing this in an effort to paint us LEO's as the bad guys, or try to create a feeling of fear or distrust for Law Enforcement. I'm only writing this because I feel every person carrying gun for self-defense needs to be prepared, both for the incident itself and the aftermath. I don't want anyone to get jammed up for something when they didn't do wrong. I honestly feel your consulting a lawyer before making a statement to the Police will help keep you from getting jammed up needlessly.
Finally, I, as an LEO, have the lawyers on stand-by in the event I'm involved in a shooting, so that in itself should say alot."