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Thread: Define Personal Space

  1. #1
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    In a nutshell, I had a (drunk) tenant unhappy with someone who was visiting another apartment in my building and wanted me to remove them. Without an order and no active misbehavior on the visitors part I had no cause to do so. Short while later unhappy bangs on my door, g/f answers and he starts screaming at her to do something about this individual who was at this time still not doing anything wrong. G/F tells him not to scream at her or she wouldn't acknowledge him and shuts door in his face. He yells as he leaves that he is going to "Get you bitch!"

    We go upstairs where other tenants are escorting visitor out to keep anything from happening. Unhappy comes out and starts screaming at g/f again. I place myself at ready (armed of course, he has a history of angry outburst). He gets nose to nose with g/f still screaming almost incoherently about events that happened before we even worked there when she tried to leave the scene. He made sure (very narrow hallway) he was in her way so she pushed through, he started jumping up and down like a chimp yelling "Assault, that was assault!" and bolted for the door, actually ran to the police dept. (2 blocks away) to report it. After LE interviewed him and his g/f and my g/f and myself.. they issued my g/f a ticket for harassment.. because in trying to leave she (with hands in jacket pockets) bumped shoulders with him..

    Now, I am looking for opinions.. LE tells us no matter what, if we touch the other person who is screaming at us and within inches of us that we can be charged with either harassment or assault.. can we not defend our 'personal or intimate space' of 1.5 foot or less based on Edward T. Halls 'reaction bubbles'?

    The next day Unhappy called theFire Chief into inspect 'violations' in our building, Unhappy got angry again because we passed out check, so while the Chief was jotting notes Unhappy got two inches off my nose and whispered to me that I had better not ever intimidate or harass him and his g/f ever while I was wearing my sidearm or toy as he calls it. Then proceeded to insinuate that he also had a gun at his disposal. Later, local LE show up to have a talk with him (arrest on existing warrants) so I get into a discussion with LE about my OC.. one officer 'suggests' that I get my CHL so as to not incite panic .. blah blah.. you guys know the routine.

    So in a nutshell and thanks for reading my vent.. If someone invades my personal space, I cannot try to leave the encounter if it means touching them or I can face charges.. so if backed in a corner? I am to suffer a tirade from someone I believe can become physically violent??

    I appreciate everyones opinion here and can't wait for some feedback.. and if anything doesn't make sense please point it out for me to clarify.. thanks..

    James

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    I am nota lawyer.

    It looks to me like he was the one who "came out" and initiated the confrontation.

    Did she have another avenue to leave? For example, to walk the opposite direction towards an exit?

    It seems silly to require a person to stand and take what he was dishing out.

    There isn't a self-defense expert in the world who would tell you to let someone that hostile remain that close to you. Pre-assault indicators/behavior and all that.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

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    I have to preface this with I am NOT a Lawyer...

    I have a couple of things for you guys to think about:

    1. When your girlfriend talked to the police, did she tell her side and admit to the police that she pushed her way past the guy? (I'm going to guess yes?)

    2. Did anything she said to the police help her avoid the citation? (Obviously not)

    The point in a nutshell is that I think she's just proven that talking to the police CANNOT help you. ESPECIALLY admitting what YOU have done in a situation. If she (and you) said nothing to the police about your own actions, and only describe what HE did, the police only have his word that you did anything and without any evidence or a confession I think they're probably not going to write a citation. Even if they did choose to cite you for something, If the officer has no notes that you admitted to anything, they're going to have an awful hard time proving it.

    I assume the citation for harassment was for violating ORS:166.065?

    166.065 Harassment. (1) A person commits the crime of harassment if the person intentionally:[/b]

    (a) Harasses or annoys another person by:

    (A) Subjecting such other person to offensive physical contact; or

    (B) Publicly insulting such other person by abusive words or gestures in a manner intended and likely to provoke a violent response;

    (b) Subjects another to alarm by conveying a false report, known by the conveyor to be false, concerning death or serious physical injury to a person, which report reasonably would be expected to cause alarm; or

    (c) Subjects another to alarm by conveying a telephonic, electronic or written threat to inflict serious physical injury on that person or to commit a felony involving the person or property of that person or any member of that person’s family, which threat reasonably would be expected to cause alarm.

    (2) A person is criminally liable for harassment if the person knowingly permits any telephone or electronic device under the person’s control to be used in violation of subsection (1) of this section.

    (3) Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor.

    (4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, harassment is a Class A misdemeanor if a person violates subsection (1) of this section by subjecting another person to offensive physical contact and the offensive physical contact consists of touching the sexual or other intimate parts of the other person. [1971 c.743 §223; 1981 c.468 §1; 1985 c.498 §1; 1987 c.806 §3; 1995 c.802 §1; 2001 c.870 §2]

    It sounds on the surface like your g/f violated section (1)(a)(A):Subjecting such other person to offensive physical contact. However, depending on what exactly the other guy was saying to your girlfriend, I would think HE may be guilty of (1)(a)(B): Publicly insulting such other person by abusive words or gestures in a manner intended and likely to provoke a violent response. Also, if he was physically blocking her from leaving, and she HAD to push against him to leave, couldn't HE be guilty of (1)(a)(A)? There may be another statute that he violated by blocking her way, but I'm not finding anything specific...

    This IS a class B Misdemeanor. Your g/f REALLY doesn't want this as a conviction on her record. I would suggest a cheap consultation with an attorney. If you call the Oregon State Bar Association, they will direct you to a lawyer of the type you need, and guarantee something like a 1/2 hour or an hour initial consultation for pretty cheap, I think it's like $30?

    Another option for you AND your g/f is to both file an abuse prevention (restraining) order on the guy. Especially if he made threats against you when he said he had access to a firearm?If he's going to play the legal game, you sure can too, plus the filing of the restraining order couldn't hurt yourg/f's case either, in my opinion. The police report probably has enough documentation in it about him yelling, screaming, claiming he was going to "get you, bitch", physically blocking her way, etc. Do it quick before he does it to you, because if you have a restraining order filed against YOU, and you can't get it dismissed by the restraining order court date, YOU have just lost your RKBA for a whole year, thanks to federal law.

    Just my opinion, but you need to take a proactive approach to this guy before he screws you up, one way or another...

    ...Orygunner...

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    There were multiple people in the hallway leaving turning to her left pretty much the only option. Two people cannot pass in this part of the house without turning 90 deg to each other.Not to mention Unhappy (as I call him) was determined to make the encounter for his benefit, he had been 'fishing' for two days for any excuse or reason to 'get us'. He had called the Fire Dept. to force an inspection of our building, getting beligerint with the Chief over nithling details which were not applicable yet insisting beyond reason that the Chief write them in his report.. come to find out the LEOs were already aware of the Chiefs encounter before the rest of the story occured.

    I was informed to call LE to take care of the problem.. yet to get away to make the call, have to pass Unhappy and cause the 'touching' in question.. here lies my catch 22.. I figured this might be an interesting scenario to discuss as I know most of us are not lawyers and I am not looking for legal advice, just opinions on what any of us in similar situations can do to take care of a problem without causing ourselves undue legal hassle..

    James



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    Orygunner wrote:
    I have to preface this with I am NOT a Lawyer...

    I have a couple of things for you guys to think about:

    1. When your girlfriend talked to the police, did she tell her side and admit to the police that she pushed her way past the guy? (I'm going to guess yes?)

    2. Did anything she said to the police help her avoid the citation? (Obviously not)

    The point in a nutshell is that I think she's just proven that talking to the police CANNOT help you. ESPECIALLY admitting what YOU have done in a situation. If she (and you) said nothing to the police about your own actions, and only describe what HE did, the police only have his word that you did anything and without any evidence or a confession I think they're probably not going to write a citation. Even if they did choose to cite you for something, If the officer has no notes that you admitted to anything, they're going to have an awful hard time proving it.

    I assume the citation for harassment was for violating ORS:166.065?

    166.065 Harassment. (1) A person commits the crime of harassment if the person intentionally:[/b]

    (a) Harasses or annoys another person by:

    (A) Subjecting such other person to offensive physical contact; or

    (B) Publicly insulting such other person by abusive words or gestures in a manner intended and likely to provoke a violent response;

    (b) Subjects another to alarm by conveying a false report, known by the conveyor to be false, concerning death or serious physical injury to a person, which report reasonably would be expected to cause alarm; or

    (c) Subjects another to alarm by conveying a telephonic, electronic or written threat to inflict serious physical injury on that person or to commit a felony involving the person or property of that person or any member of that person’s family, which threat reasonably would be expected to cause alarm.

    (2) A person is criminally liable for harassment if the person knowingly permits any telephone or electronic device under the person’s control to be used in violation of subsection (1) of this section.

    (3) Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor.

    (4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, harassment is a Class A misdemeanor if a person violates subsection (1) of this section by subjecting another person to offensive physical contact and the offensive physical contact consists of touching the sexual or other intimate parts of the other person. [1971 c.743 §223; 1981 c.468 §1; 1985 c.498 §1; 1987 c.806 §3; 1995 c.802 §1; 2001 c.870 §2]

    It sounds on the surface like your g/f violated section (1)(a)(A):Subjecting such other person to offensive physical contact. However, depending on what exactly the other guy was saying to your girlfriend, I would think HE may be guilty of (1)(a)(B): Publicly insulting such other person by abusive words or gestures in a manner intended and likely to provoke a violent response. Also, if he was physically blocking her from leaving, and she HAD to push against him to leave, couldn't HE be guilty of (1)(a)(A)? There may be another statute that he violated by blocking her way, but I'm not finding anything specific...

    This IS a class B Misdemeanor. Your g/f REALLY doesn't want this as a conviction on her record. I would suggest a cheap consultation with an attorney. If you call the Oregon State Bar Association, they will direct you to a lawyer of the type you need, and guarantee something like a 1/2 hour or an hour initial consultation for pretty cheap, I think it's like $30?

    Another option for you AND your g/f is to both file an abuse prevention (restraining) order on the guy. Especially if he made threats against you when he said he had access to a firearm?If he's going to play the legal game, you sure can too, plus the filing of the restraining order couldn't hurt yourg/f's case either, in my opinion. The police report probably has enough documentation in it about him yelling, screaming, claiming he was going to "get you, bitch", physically blocking her way, etc. Do it quick before he does it to you, because if you have a restraining order filed against YOU, and you can't get it dismissed by the restraining order court date, YOU have just lost your RKBA for a whole year, thanks to federal law.

    Just my opinion, but you need to take a proactive approach to this guy before he screws you up, one way or another...

    ...Orygunner...

    You are correct in assuming we didn't refrain properly from giving too much information. Even knowing better and having read up on the subject I found we had given away more than was necessary. This is what we get for being good citizens and trying to pave the way forresolution to a problem. Even when you think you are right, you are not. My g/f was shocked when the officer issued the cite.. she has never had any legal issue ever and couldn't believe that this could happen. Just shows what happens in the heat of the moment when you have seconds to make decisions..

    As far as Unhappy being guilty of anything, the officer investigating the incident ignored the g/f when she asked about pressing a charge against him.

    She just said according to the investigating officer she had NO RIGHT to push past him in any way even if backed into a corner..

    We have already starting taking certain steps to prevent escalation on his side.. I got caught off gaurd to start but don't plan on letting it continue.

    James


    p.s. Unhappy had also ran back to the PD to report that I refused to release documentation on all animals living in the building. (shots/license) and demanded LE come over and check all animals.. of course in doing so they also got him on his outstanding warrant so kinda backfired..

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    Suggestions for the future:

    Carry a voice recorder. most cell phones have a voice recorder feature. My Nokia does, and with the micro-SD card, I can record 60 continuous minutes at a time. Just be aware that Oregon law seems to require you NOTIFY all parties involved in the conversation that they are being recorded (you do not need consent, they just must be notified).

    My only problem with using my cell phone is that if I have to make a call or receive a call... I have to stop recording.

    I'm still not able to find anything in Oregon State law that addresses it. Kidnapping only works if he actually forced you to go from one place to another, and intimidation only applies if it's offensive physical contact, or threatening because of "race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation," or substantial property damage. A lawyer may have some idea of something in the ORS that applies if such a situation ever arises again.

    I still think you should get a restrainingorder against the guy. If he wants to play the legal game, play it to your advantage. You probably have enough evidence to make it stick, and it gives you easy avoidance of any further confrontations.

    ...Well, unless he violates the restraining order... have to check and see what level of force is allowed in those circumstances ...
    ...Orygunner...

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    I am shopping for a recorder now as a matter of fact.. needed one anyway..

    I already have the paperwork to start the protective order, Unhappys g/f is kicking him out pending her own order and he has been served an eviction order as well.

    I have been reading ORS back and forth so as to be able to pass the bar soon.. :PI don't plan on being caught unprepared again.. and am reading on protective orders and such as well as escalation of force rules and other applicable info.. ack.. you would not believe how much coffee I have had in the last couple of days..

    James

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    This is very upsetting. What a weasel. Nothing to be done now about saying too much obviously.

    I agree that a restraining order is a good idea, but it looks like you've already got that in the works.

    I also agree that personal research notwithstanding, a consultation from a lawyer familiar with assault cases would likely be extremely valuable.

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    Can't Unhappy be evicted?

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    It strikes me that "unhappy" committed a crime by unlawfully restricting your girlfriend's freedom of movement. "Unlawful confinement" or some such. I'm unaware of a law ANYWHERE which allows somebody in such circumstances to hold someone against their will. It seems to me that the cop who refused to take action was doubly wrong, both in stating that your girlfriend had no right to escape, and that "unhappy" had committed no crime. You should pursue this after the fact, especially if there are witnesses. This should also be an affirmative defense to the ticket. Otherwise, any man could sexually harass any woman by trapping her in a corner, and she'd have NO right to leave. I doubt ANY finder of fact would go along with THAT.
    --- Gun control: The theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists.

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    If this guy is a renting tenant of yours, eviction is the thing to do, but be very sure it's all legal. It sounds like you've got a wannabe lawyer who knows just enough of the law to be dangerous.

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    Talk to the DA and explain the circumstances. Chances are he will nol pros the case. If not, a judge will drop the charges. Touching is battery, not assault, by the way.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Unhappy tried to file assault but the officer would only go so far as the most minor statute he could think of for the 'offense'.. harassment.. I think in his own way he was trying to be nice.. (?)

    But yes an eviction is in progress and he has to sit 2 weeks for his existing warrant as the local judge is only here one day a week and that falls on christmas.. possible multiple orders of protection will be filed as well.. Unhappy is quickly becomming the victim of his own tirade..

    We fully expect a good ruling on this, the local judge is reported to be fair.. and Deanimator has really touched on what the main point of my discussion here is and that is the fact that you can be trapped by an angry and possibly violent person who can charge you with a crime if you attempt to get past them by even the slightest touch.. from what I have read so far ORS just doesn't give you the 'wiggle' room so to speak.

    So if you are backed into a corner, no witnesses, verbal assault, and the offender does cross into intimidation according to statute, victim tries to leave and touches offender.. LEO says victim now becomes the offender..

    I appreciate all your input, have been curious what other states/regions might say about the same situation... thanks guys..

    James

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    Talk to the DA and explain the circumstances. Chances are he will nol pros the case. If not, a judge will drop the charges. Touching is battery, not assault, by the way.
    166.065 Harassment. (1) A person commits the crime of harassment if the person intentionally:[/b]

    (a) Harasses or annoys another person by:

    (A) Subjecting such other person to offensive physical contact; or

    (B) Publicly insulting such other person by abusive words or gestures in a manner intended and likely to provoke a violent response;


    This is the statute used.. which covers such as 'spitting' on a person or poking in the chest or similar from what I understand.. there doesn't seem to be any definition for what offensive physical contact is..

    What I find interesting is when he targeted me by getting approx 2 inches from my nose and whispered his 'threat' that I had better not carry my 'toy' when I came to harass or intimidate him, and that he had a 'toy' too.. yet earlier this month he made the statement that I wasn't intimidating anyone with that 'thing'.. hey man, pick a direction..

    and btw, I have never harassed or intimidated anyone ever on purpose.. if anyone has felt intimidated I can only surmise they have a guilty concience..

    James

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    I have had a similar problem with a neighbor who likes to cause trouble. I subscribe to the "he who calls the cops first wins" theory. When Unhappy ran off you should've picked out your cellphone and called in a complaint to the police that Unhappy was being load and abusive and chest-bumping and so forth. Also tell them you think he may be drunk.

    I hate that it comes to this, but this is how the game is played. I also agree on getting a voice recorder, or even a video recorder. Jerks like these always hang themselves when given enough rope.

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    Talk to the DA and explain the circumstances. Chances are he will nol pros the case. If not, a judge will drop the charges. Touching is battery, not assault, by the way.
    I am also NOT a lawyer, and your mileage may vary. (Would the lawyers please stand up)

    Correct. In this situation "Unhappy" had committed serial assault on your GF. How you managed to convince the police to overlook this is beyond me. Unhappy obstructing the hallway to prevent her passage would would constitute either unlawful confinement or kidnapping depending on circumstances.

    The fact that unhappy had outstanding warrants also does not bode well for the competence of the LEO sent to your incident.

    You through luck of the draw got a questionable Officersent to your call.

    You should be able to talk to the prosecutor and get this dismissed. If not a reasonable judge will throw it out. Good luck.

    Regards

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    It wouldn't fall under kidnapping under Oregon State law. ORS 163.225 (http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/163.html) It'spretty clear that you have to actually TAKE a person to another location or secretly restrain them in them in a place they would not likely be found.

    I can't find any Oregon State laws concerning Confinement...

    I would definitely suggest JBurgII get a copy of the police report. Not exactly sure how you'd go about it, but your g/f is absolutely entitled to it.

    ...Orygunner...

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    confinement might come under the false arrest statutes in your state.
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
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    Monday we will be asking for all reports and filing a few things of our own, I am still trying to unravel the knot on how you can get stuck in a situation where you have to act but if you do you are liable.

    Looks like we got stuck with the new guy on the force here.. most LE here have been in this place on numerous occasions.. the officer investigating didn't even take a look at the area where the event occured.

    I haven't even really gone into the 24 hrs surrounding the event.. he not only targeted us, he verbally attacked quite a few of my tenants over various gripes he had. Not only that his g/f locked him out overnite over the whole thing!

    I like how he had to make sure I knew he also had a weapon available.

    James



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    I'd go with a restraining order, mention in the complaint that he told you he has access to a gun, whether or not the physical stature of your GF in any way can be intimidating to him at his stature..

    You are essentially responsible for numerous tennants, and at what point in a probable retaliation by Unhappy can you employ brute/lethal force to prevent what you may suspect could be an effort to arson,attack w/ afore mentioned accessable gun, I'd cover all possible squares with an unreasonable and vendictive drunk..

    sounds like the cops may be working in your favor serving warrants, and the fire inspectors version of unhappy probably didn't bode well for him with the cops either.

    I'd be prepared for retaliation!!

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    JBURGII wrote:
    There were multiple people in the hallway leaving turning to her left pretty much the only option. Two people cannot pass in this part of the house without turning 90 deg to each other.Not to mention Unhappy (as I call him) was determined to make the encounter for his benefit, he had been 'fishing' for two days for any excuse or reason to 'get us'. He had called the Fire Dept. to force an inspection of our building, getting beligerint with the Chief over nithling details which were not applicable yet insisting beyond reason that the Chief write them in his report.. come to find out the LEOs were already aware of the Chiefs encounter before the rest of the story occured.

    I was informed to call LE to take care of the problem.. yet to get away to make the call, have to pass Unhappy and cause the 'touching' in question.. here lies my catch 22.. I figured this might be an interesting scenario to discuss as I know most of us are not lawyers and I am not looking for legal advice, just opinions on what any of us in similar situations can do to take care of a problem without causing ourselves undue legal hassle..

    James

    I don't know about Oregon but in Utah it is a crime to INTEREFERE with anyone attempting to make an emergency call.... depending on the circumstances I think it can go all the way up to KIDNAPING!

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    So if you are backed into a corner, no witnesses, verbal assault, and the offender does cross into intimidation according to statute, victim tries to leave and touches offender.. LEO says victim now becomes the offender..
    "No witnesses" turns this scenario into one persons word against anothers. In this event you could knee the obstructing persons balls up into his throat, walk away, and then deny that you were even there....if there are no witnesses, of course.

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    Carnivore wrote:
    I'd be prepared for retaliation!!
    Sound advice. Clearly Unhappy does not respect accepted boundaries, and drunks are capable of incredibly dangerous behavior. That coupled withhis implied threat of theuse of deadly force would have me in an advanced state of readiness for a potential future personal encounter with him. Good luck...stay safe.

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    cccook wrote:
    Carnivore wrote:
    I'd be prepared for retaliation!!
    Sound advice. Clearly Unhappy does not respect accepted boundaries, and drunks are capable of incredibly dangerous behavior. That coupled withhis implied threat of theuse of deadly force would have me in an advanced state of readiness for a potential future personal encounter with him. Good luck...stay safe.
    This is something that does concern me and I am watching very carefully. Thankfully we have another week and a half of lockup to plan for him. One thing I might not have made clear on the events that occured.. during the entire thing Unhappy was very intoxicated and very loud / almost incomprehensible at times.. he went into the PD station at least 5 different times during the day and it never occured to LE to charge him with DC or public intox?? I should have jumped on that one myself I know but if I were to walk into PD drunk and screaming, I am pretty sure I would be staying there for a while.. hmmm

    James

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    Find out of unhappy is related to anyone on the force.

    No accusing, just saying.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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