Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36

Thread: Is it self-defense if the unmarked Police officer doesn't announce himself?

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    23

    Is it self-defense if the unmarked Police officer doesn't announce himself?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20012732-71.html This was a big story on Sportbike forums.

    It doesn't show what he was doing, it's a clipped version of the video. I'll shorten it for you: he deserved to be arrested. He has being a total idiot. But the debate ranged from a multitude of things: Should he have had the gun pulled on him? (No.) Should he have been threatened with 16 years in jail for posting that video? (No.)

    But the thing that has always bothered me about this video is the fact he is totally unmarked and unannounced. He simply steps out of his car, draws his gun, and tells the rider to "get off the motorcycle". I don't know about you, but MY first reaction wouldn't have been "Oh damn, police!" It would have been "Oh damn, this guy's a lunatic jacking my bike!". Upon further thought you'd realize a person wouldn't jump out of THEIR car in the middle of the street to steal YOUR bike, but you don't think very clearly in the 4 seconds after you see a gun.

    My question is, what would have happened if the rider had pulled out his own gun (assuming he had one?) Most likely, the rider would have died where he sat, although it is quite possible that the rider could have gotten the jump. That shows two alternative outcomes:

    1) The Rider dies. Did he legally just die in self-defense? After all, the rider had zero evidence that that was an officer of the law. He was in an unmarked car, plainclothed, without announcing himself until after the fact. At this point, he is assumed to be a suspect with a gun.

    2) The Police Officer dies. Is the Rider now charged with murder or self-defense? Would the consequences be any different from gunning down any normal armed assailant?

    To me, unmarked anything is incredibly dangerous for both parties. Particularly when they say things like "get off the bike" or "get out of the car" without first announcing themselves as Police. If I am legally entitled to open fire in defense of myself, does it make any difference if you just happen to be a cop without my knowledge?
    Last edited by CoonDawg; 12-02-2010 at 05:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    If an officer does not announce that he is an officer, is out of uniform without a visible badge, exits an unmarked vehicle, points a gun, starts barking some orders, and gets shot as a result, I'd bet money that a self-defense excuse would work for the shooter in court. It won't be the first time someone shot a cop and got off on self-defense.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Lawful Aim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    129
    I agree with eye95, especially if the biker is explicit to state that he was in fear of his life.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Grennsboro NC
    Posts
    5,358
    But you've got to remember, this incident happened in MD.

    In MD, police can do no wrong, according to most MD Courts.

    The Federal Courts, however, often have a VERY different view on the unlawful actions of MD LEOs, and that is why MD as a state, pays out more money in Federal Civil Rights Violations Decisions per capita than any other state in the union...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  5. #5
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    862
    Some ten years ago, I was charged with improper backing, no insurance, and expired registration. The chief of police in that town wrote the ticket, but his secretary (a good friend of a friend of mine) passed me some info concerning this subject. As a result, I entered a plea of not guilty and a trial date was set.

    When I walked out of the little court room, the chief came outside to me and was pissed as hell lol. He wanted to know what was going on and why I plead not guilty. I told him I would not talk with him concerning the case but if he wanted to go fishing that weekend I'd be up for the trip.

    It turned out that the judge was interested in the case too. Ol' chief wasn't too well liked by the establishment in that town and the judge and the police clerk (mentioned earlier) were looking forward to my trial date.

    The reason I plead not guilty is because the clerk, on the advice from the town judge, handed me the printed out law concerning police and their requirement to ID themselves as such while performing their duties. On the day I was given the tickets, the chief showed up in his personal car at the scene of the accident and began writing me tickets. Never once did he identify himself as a police officer, even about 20 minutes later when we were in the police station. He had just finished a session at the local tanning booth and heard the call over a radio he carried in his car.

    Now, a reasonable person could assume that ol' chief was a policeman, given that we ended up at the station for a few mins during the encounter, as well as from the tickets he wrote. But, the fact remained that he never did ID himself as police.

    The judge had heard about the case and was wanting to have this go to trial so the chief could fall flat on his face as the judge tossed out the charges.

    As it turned out, the chief came to me later in the day and offered to remove the improper backing and the expired insurance charges if I'd agree to the expired registration and work out a payment plan with the other party who I hit to pay for his repairs. I said "aight" and found the other party, worked out a payment plan with him and thought the deal was done.

    Here's where it gets really good....

    The day after that, the chief found out that the third party, after accepting my deal to pay his repairs, had went ahead and filed an insurance claim anyway, this making it so he got paid from them AND me. Chief found out and was pissed, so he came back to me, told me he was dropping all charges and that I didn't have to pay a damn thing to anybody.....on one condition: I would tell him just why I pleaded not guilty in the first place.

    I told him I could not agree to that, as he could then work around me and still charge me. He said "ok, just trying to get it out of you, i figured you wouldn't agree to it" lol.
    He was laughing to, and told me he was sorry for causing any problems, and that he knew I was telling the truth in all of this. He was just pissed at the other guy because they were friends up to that point. From there he dropped all charges against me, with no conditions.

    The judge was mildly upset but understood why I wouldn't want to go in and argue my case, especially if all charges were dropped anyway.

    As the next few weeks passed, the chief and I discovered that we were both avid fishermen, and we began fishing together. Actually we became very good friends. One night, we were both about knee deep into a case of beer and the inevitable question came out: why did I plead not guilty? What chance did I think I had to win the case? I finally told him that, throughout the whole encounter, he never showed me a badge, never said he was police, never identified himself whatsoever lol. I also told him to watch his back around town, how that many people were waiting for him to step on his dick so they could remove him as chief.

    His next words were priceless: "If my gun wasn't back up at the truck right now I'd shoot you in the f-ing head" lol

    I know, cool story bro, but still the basic premise is there. Unless police are working undercover, they must immediately identify themselves as police on any scene they are performing their duties.

    In the video here in question, you can here him identify himself as state police (or highway patrol") but it was well after he pulled the gun out after blocking that motorcycle's path. Personally I feel that if the rider tried to pull a gun out he'd be toast- not enough time to pull it and shoot at someone who was already drawing on him. Still though, if he had pulled it and shot, I feel he would most likely beat the wrap.

    Peace.
    Last edited by rotorhead; 12-04-2010 at 06:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Nevada carrier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    The Epicenter of Freedom
    Posts
    1,297
    I would have drawn on and fired at this guy, but in MD I would have been a disarmed law abiding citizen.

  7. #7
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    862
    After watching the video several times, I don't think I would have had time to draw and fire in that situation before he would have got his first shot off.

  8. #8
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    in front of my computer, WI
    Posts
    4,426
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    ... MD as a state, pays out more money in Federal Civil Rights Violations Decisions per capita than any other state in the union...
    Damn. Got arrested in the wrong state. How can I get some of those MD-area judges to hear the case we've filed?
    Quote Originally Posted by MLK, Jr
    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort & convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge & controversy.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie
    Citizenship is a verb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 27:12
    A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions.
    The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Proverbs 31:17
    She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by CoonDawg View Post
    [url]To me, unmarked anything is incredibly dangerous for both parties.
    Being unmarked is necessary in many circumstances, such as speed traps in a repetitively abused, wide-open stretch of road, or for most detecive work.

    [uote]Particularly when they say things like "get off the bike" or "get out of the car" without first announcing themselves as Police.[/quote]

    The FIRST word out of his mouth should have been "POLICE," preferrably with a badge in displayed in his left hand.

    I don't care what the guy looks like. If both he and his care are unmarked, he hasn't announced his status as law enforcement and he points a gun at me, he's a dead man. Or I am. I just hope I'm faster than he is.

    If I am legally entitled to open fire in defense of myself, does it make any difference if you just happen to be a cop without my knowledge?
    In the eyes of the law, no. In the eyes of the DA's/prosecutors office and a judge and jury, yes.

    ETA: I reviewed the video three times, and at no time did the officer point the firearm directly at the rider. In fact, he made an effort to keep it pointing at the ground, and re-holstered his firearm seven seconds after he drew it.

    Hindsight's 20:20, but upon review of the video, I would not have made a decision to draw and fire.

    But that's in hindsight. Were I the rider, I would never have stopped, as the rider wasn't at all "cut off." Plenty of road on the left.

    If the guy had managed to cut me off, I'd have drawn on the officer as he was getting out of the car, reholstering only after he properly identified himself.

    That was a very stupid thing for that officer to do.

    Of course, since the motorcycle rider was hotdogging, that was a very stupid thing for him to have been doing, as well.

    As for the wiretapping malarky, it's a HEAD-CAM. The rider certainly knew he was video taping, but if the cop didn't, with that camera sitting up there on top of the rider's helmet, then the cop is too stupid to be conducting law enforcement.

    What's the status of this case, anyway? It didn't happen yesterday... Was the cop suspended? Did the DA get a clue and throw out the wiretapping charge?
    Last edited by since9; 12-07-2010 at 07:04 PM.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  10. #10
    Regular Member robdoar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    154
    Look up the Treptow case in Minnesota...

    Mutual road rage involving a un-uniformed cop (Who was not on duty, but started acting like he was), Treptow ended up pleading out on felony charges.

    http://looktruenorth.com/liberty/rig...he-theory.html

  11. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    I don't assign credibility to folks willing to plead guilty. Had there been no there there, he should fight it. If not, he is guilty under the law and in my mind.

    Unfortunately, the article you posted presents a single side of the story and relies 100% on accepting Treptow's word. If Treptow did, in fact, draw first, or was (as was not truly disestablished) a willing participant, then he is guilty of felonies.

    Why on Earth would this guy let his testosterone lead him down such a path (one that resulted in a shooting) with his wife and kid in the car???

    This isn't exactly a-cop-came-outta-nowhere-didn't-ID-himself-and-pointed-a-gun-at-me case. Treptow's hands are unclean.

    The motorcyclist's hands in the Maryland case were not unclean. Big difference.

  12. #12
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Terra, Sol
    Posts
    2,779
    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post

    What's the status of this case, anyway? It didn't happen yesterday... Was the cop suspended? Did the DA get a clue and throw out the wiretapping charge?
    The case was dimissed by the Judge.

    "Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. 'Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes' ("Who watches the watchmen?”)."
    -Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 12-13-2010 at 03:58 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

  13. #13
    Regular Member Wolf0351's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Blue Springs, MO
    Posts
    7
    I haven't seen the intire viedo. From what I saw if it had been me and the way I ride. Someone dose this to me, I see car trying to cut me off hand go for what looks like a gun ( at this point I am pulling ) a fumble then a gun come out. Now Life takes over here I will say put it down.. maybe.. I am x military and you scare me enough to pull I plan to shoot. I don't pull to say get on the ground if I pull it is to kill no other reason. What I saw I would have pulled. If he had got out HWPD before I shoot him I would have stoped. To me this is a viedo of a LEO doing everything to get himshelf killed and being lucky enough to run into someone OC who dose not have the training to shoot. It took 8 sec for the LEO to anounce himself. I can easly get 8 shots on target at that distance in that time. I know I would have had my doubble tap +1 certain long before this LEO said who he was and I would have regreted it for the rest of my life, because LEO's just refuse to think those of us who are not LEO's don't have a right to carry if we follow the law. Many LEO's think if I bully everyone it's ok because I have a badge. This is a country made buy citizens for citizens. We pay you to show up and clean up. How many time's has and LEO been there when someone is getting muged, the convincence/liquor store is being held up. 2A can, (and I do beleive dose stop some) crime or at least bring it down.

  14. #14
    Regular Member Wolf0351's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Blue Springs, MO
    Posts
    7
    Now I just saw more of the viedo because of the LEO's stupid mistakes the judge dismisses, this guy should have had his lisence pulled.
    theres my 2 cents

  15. #15
    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Right Behind You!, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Resisting unlawful arrest

    I believe that when an officer fails to identify himself you may legally be entitled to "resist unlawful arrest".

    A few interesting points about it on WIKI:

    • the person making the arrest never identifying themselves, causing the defendant to believe they are the target of kidnapping or robbery.
    • the reasonable belief that the person making the arrest is an impersonator with the intent of victimizing the defendant.
    • the reasonable belief that the defendant would be the victim of police brutality if taken into custody by that individual.
    More important, from SCOTUS:

    Jon Bad Elk V. United States

    And other interesting links on the subject here:

    http://www.constitution.org/uslaw/defunlaw.htm
    R[ƎVO˩]UTION

    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Lex malla, lex nulla

  16. #16
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Jefferson City, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    396
    All police should announce themselves but if criminals were smart, they would announce themselves as police as well.

    In a scenario similar to this one, a car jacker could pull a weapon on the rider while identifying himself as police and prevent that motorist from drawing his own weapon.

    If a group of armed home robbers were to kick in a door while a family was asleep and take them by force, one of the smartest ways of doing it would be to announce themselves as police officers as they breach the home, hopefully causing the startled residents to pause long enough to be subdued before they realize what's going on and arm themselves.

    One tactic that police use when serving no knock warrants is to create a disturbance in the opposite part of the home that they will be breaching from. They may go around back and bang on a door or break a window as a group plows through the front door. I sleep with a loaded firearm in reach. If I were awaken to loud noises or a breaking window, I would grab my gun immediately. I could easily see myself being shot in my own home if a search warrant is used in error on my residence.

  17. #17
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    211
    Quote Originally Posted by CoonDawg View Post
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20012732-71.html This was a big story on Sportbike forums.

    It doesn't show what he was doing, it's a clipped version of the video. I'll shorten it for you: he deserved to be arrested. He has being a total idiot. But the debate ranged from a multitude of things: Should he have had the gun pulled on him? (No.) Should he have been threatened with 16 years in jail for posting that video? (No.)

    But the thing that has always bothered me about this video is the fact he is totally unmarked and unannounced. He simply steps out of his car, draws his gun, and tells the rider to "get off the motorcycle". I don't know about you, but MY first reaction wouldn't have been "Oh damn, police!" It would have been "Oh damn, this guy's a lunatic jacking my bike!". Upon further thought you'd realize a person wouldn't jump out of THEIR car in the middle of the street to steal YOUR bike, but you don't think very clearly in the 4 seconds after you see a gun.

    My question is, what would have happened if the rider had pulled out his own gun (assuming he had one?) Most likely, the rider would have died where he sat, although it is quite possible that the rider could have gotten the jump. That shows two alternative outcomes:

    1) The Rider dies. Did he legally just die in self-defense? After all, the rider had zero evidence that that was an officer of the law. He was in an unmarked car, plainclothed, without announcing himself until after the fact. At this point, he is assumed to be a suspect with a gun.

    2) The Police Officer dies. Is the Rider now charged with murder or self-defense? Would the consequences be any different from gunning down any normal armed assailant?

    To me, unmarked anything is incredibly dangerous for both parties. Particularly when they say things like "get off the bike" or "get out of the car" without first announcing themselves as Police. If I am legally entitled to open fire in defense of myself, does it make any difference if you just happen to be a cop without my knowledge?

    Starr v. United

  18. #18
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod8812 View Post
    Starr v. United
    Bristol City v. Leeds United

    Your turn.

    Can you expound on that post?

  19. #19
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    , ,
    Posts
    211
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Bristol City v. Leeds United

    Your turn.

    Can you expound on that post?

    I don't really have a theory or idea of the case, I just happen to run across us v. Starr when searching for another case(Gourko v. United States: and Wallace v. United States).
    After that, I happen to see this thread and thought I would post, Thats why I only posted the name of the case and I didn't go in to detail (Or my opinion).

    After I Googled Starr V. us and it seems to be more than one case.

    THe one I was referring too http://www.davekopel.com/2A/LawRev/S...ense-Cases.htm (Section B)



    Bristol City v. Leeds United
    All I came up with was soccer, I even searched US v. Leeds all I came up with was http://openjurist.org/457/f2d/857/united-states-v-leeds

  20. #20
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NY-CT
    Posts
    210
    The answer will change with every jurisdiction. If you have an objectively reasonable belief that you need to use deadly force to mitigate an IMMEDIATE threat of death or grievous bodily injury, it is technically justified. Period. If your belief is deemed to be objectively unreasonable under the circumstances it depends on what types of defenses are available to you. Imperfect self-defense is an option in some places, and will allow you to mitigate from second degree unpremeditated murder to voluntary manslaughter if the jurisdiction recognizes such degrees. You can also play games with the elements of the crime, some theories might mitigate by eliminating malice (where imperfect self-defense is an affirmative defense).

    Also, unless you have specific information to believe that this is false, you never draw on a drawn gun...its basically suicide. The 1-3 seconds it takes you to draw is a lifetime compared to the time needed to pull a trigger.

    People have shot police, mistakenly, and gotten off...it is theoretically possible...

    Also, in general, you don't have the privilege to resist an unlawful arrest unless you believe that it will be a vehicle for your death or grievous bodily injury.
    Last edited by emsjeep; 12-22-2010 at 02:17 AM.

  21. #21
    Regular Member rickc1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Battle Mountain, NV.
    Posts
    192
    If you fill your life is in danger I think it can even extend to uniformed LEO, case in point. about 16 years ago I went to elect. school in Albuquerque NM. and my wife and I were staying in a motel, one night while my wife was at work me and my daughter was in the room, she was asleep in one bed and I was watching TV from the other. All of a sudden the door flew open and I grabbed my Ruger which was under my pillow, the person coming in was LEO, he had his firearm drawn, he looked at me then at my daughter and then back at me, he said i`m sorry, holstered his firearm and closed the door. I got up holstered my firearm got dressed and walked outside, by the time I got outside thay had the bad guys handcuffed and was walking them down the hall, I seen the Officer that came in my room walked up and said "excuse me", he turned around to see what I needed, I enformed him it was my room he entered and I showed him my firearm, I told him that if he was not in uniform I would have shot him. He said he was glad I didn`t, he said he violated my 4th amendment, and I easly could have claimed self defence. I shook his hand and said what I did was called gun control. Thay left and I went back to my room.
    Last edited by rickc1962; 12-22-2010 at 10:22 PM.

  22. #22
    Regular Member OldCurlyWolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    912
    Quote Originally Posted by rickc1962 View Post
    If you fill your life is in danger I think it can even extend to uniformed LEO, case in point. about 16 years ago I went to elect. school in Albuquerque NM. and my wife and I were staying in a motel, one night while my wife was at work me and my daughter was in the room, she was asleep in one bed and I was watching TV from the other. All of a sudden the door flew open and I grabbed my Ruger which was under my pillow, the person coming in was LEO, he had his firearm drawn, he looked at me then at my daughter and then back at me, he said i`m sorry, holstered his firearm and closed the door. I got up holstered my firearm got dressed and walked outside, by the time I got outside thay had the bad guys handcuffed and was walking them down the hall, I seen the Officer that came in my room walked up and said "excuse me", he turned around to see what I needed, I enformed him it was my room he entered and I showed him my firearm, I told him that if he was not in uniform I would have shot him. He said he was glad I didn`t, he said he violated my 4th amendment, and I easly could have claimed self defence. I shook his hand and said what I did was called gun control. Thay left and I went back to my room.
    Aren't you glad it ended so friendly?

    That must have been an adrenaline pumper for a short while.

    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do those things to other people and I require the same of them.

    Politicians should serve two terms, one in office and one in prison.(borrowed from RioKid)

  23. #23
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766
    Quote Originally Posted by rickc1962 View Post
    <cop crashes hotel room report>
    I would have had a nice chat with the front desk clerk, just in case.

  24. #24
    Regular Member rickc1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Battle Mountain, NV.
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I would have had a nice chat with the front desk clerk, just in case.
    The motel was in the downtown erea and not the best place to stay, we moved to an apartment shortly after that.

  25. #25
    Regular Member rickc1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Battle Mountain, NV.
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by OldCurlyWolf View Post
    Aren't you glad it ended so friendly?

    That must have been an adrenaline pumper for a short while.

    YES I AM! it could have ended ugley, because I kept my firearm under my pillow, and thought before I reacted, we are both alive. I don`t think he know I had my hand on it until I stopped him on the breezeway, it was a long time ago but I thing there were two other LEOs in agreement with the first, maybe just one can`t remember. The funny thing was that my daughter never even woke up.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •