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Supreme Court OKs use of deadly force against fleeing suspects

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by mkwerx, May 28, 2014.

  1. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    http://reason.com/blog/2014/05/27/supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-police-w

    The court decided that it is OK for police to use deadly force to stop vehicle pursuits. Their decision reversed a ruling from the 6th Circuit, after an incident in Arkansas in which police fired 15 rounds into a fleeing vehicle, killing the driver and the passenger, neither of whom were armed. While it's certainly understandable that the vehicle itself can be used as a weapon - it frightens me that the court is OK with this - as it's not just the driver of the vehicle they are using deadly force against. An unarmed passenger has a target on their back if the driver of the vehicle they are in flees from the police, and the police decide to use deadly force to stop it.

    I think this is a dangerous precedent, and I fear that this decision was largely made to cover the collective bubblegum of the government and it's agents should some of them start popping off rounds at people who don't stop for them at checkpoints - not just those actively fleeing in a vehicle. Not to sound too tinfoily - but the idea of Due Process goes out the window with this decision, at least for everyone in the car but the driver.
     
  2. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    It may surprise some, but I'm heartily in favor of this ruling. People refusing to stop and endangering everybody else on or near the road with their idiot behavior deserve what's coming to them. It's a long time coming and long overdue.

    As to the passengers, this will be a Tip To The Wise: buckle up, reach over and take the keys out of the ignition. Get off your passive behind and help stop the pursuit. And have a nice day. :)
     
    soberups and Rocky C like this.
  3. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    re: the bolded part - for adult passengers in the front seat - OK - you have a point - they *can* do that. But then there are pursuits involving vehicles with children, or passengers not in the front seat. Children can't be expected to do as you suggest. And cliche' as it sounds - this is a real "think of the children" point. I would hope that going forward of this decision, agencies maintain strict pursuit and deadly force policies and won't ease up on shooting at fleeing vehicles, but if the police *know* children are in the vehicle, or there are passengers in the back seats that can't just reach over and shut the car off - shooting ought to be the very last thing tried - after exhausting all other options - ie spike strips, PIT maneuvers, rolling road blocks, etc - and honestly, unless they are pursuing someone they know has committed some violent crime - I find myself more and more favoring no-pursuit policies, at least in the case of traffic infractions or misdemeanor crimes. Putting egos and adrenaline aside - police can always track down the suspects at another time and not put the general public at further risk by engaging in a pursuit.
     
  4. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Remember those LEOs who shot up that womans blue truck because they THOUGHT it was the suspects vehicle?.. I can see quite a bit of that happening.

    With leos anything that starts out with "good intentions" ends horribly for us civilians..

    And until we stop taking abuse from those jackboot thug street pirates and refuse their extortion, kidnapping and murder they'll keep getting away with it.

    That day as well as the line in the sand with our government is fast approaching.
     
  5. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    So if the police can do it, does that mean we can do it also? 14th amendment guarantees equal protection.
     
    Redcap likes this.
  6. rocky3

    rocky3 oregon coast Active Member

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    Do you really believe we have a constitution?
    Many years back I knew a few police officers, they were retiring as soon as they could and said the newer ones coming to the police force were scary. They were brutes in uniform and thugs at heart. Than came torture at a higher level and the trickle down theory of Reagans worked, in police circles only.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I'm in favor of this ruling. I grew up when it was still legal to shoot a fleeing felon that wasn't in a car. The only criteria was that they have committed a felony, not just have stolen a 6-pack from the corner market.

    The more "handcuffs" we place on the Police the more bold the criminal element becomes. Don't do away with the ability to deal with fleeing felons, do away with the Police Officers that aren't competent enough to make good decisions on when it appropriate to shoot----or not. It's time to break the stranglehold that the Police Unions have on the departments that allow the "Wyatt Earps" and "Cowboys" to remain on the force.
     
  8. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    A situation where a vehicle is driving slowly at you and is mistaken for another similar one is vastly different than one in which you've been chasing the same car at 90 MPH down a freeway for five to ten miles.

    It's pretty clear the fleeing vehicle at 90 MPH isn't someone who is trying out their new nitrous system and the mirrors are misaligned; this is somebody NOT stopping despite an unmistakable police presence.

    As to that L.A. incident.
    I've been in the position of standing there waiting for a certain type of vehicle to come around the corner and the driver to start shooting everybody (as he'd promised he would soon do and he had the means, ability, and opportunity).
    It is a unique situation and looks much different when it's happening to you, than it does sitting back after the fact with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight and perhaps little to no street experience. I am not so quick to judge nor so sure about how I might have reacted.
    As it went in our deal, the guy did show up during the following shift and the officer arrested the guy without a shot being fired. That one didn't make the news, know what I'm saying?
     
    soberups likes this.
  9. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    My uncle said the exact same thing about his force in the mid-80's, Canby PD. He left and became a forest ranger. Before retiring, he said it was starting to happen there too.

    ZA_S's last sentence is very true, I'm afraid.... actually, his whole post is.
     
  10. John H

    John H Whatcom County Well-Known Member

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    I disagree, you guys are suppose to be professional's, when means you are suppose to be able to identify a target before opening up on it, even under stress.
     
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  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Having "been there", you probably just love the "Use of Force" guidelines that Seattle PD has been saddled with by the Fed's. Some officers no longer refer the book as a "Manual" but as a "Suppository".

    The reason the Fed's have ordered SPD to hire so many more Sergeants is that under the guidelines an officer just about has to ask permission of a supervisor if he needs to use any force in effecting an arrest.
     
  12. John H

    John H Whatcom County Well-Known Member

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    The problem I have with is 1) it will be used for more then it's intended purpose 2) cops can barely hit a stationary target a few meters away, and now they are going to hit a fleeing car.
     
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  13. John H

    John H Whatcom County Well-Known Member

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    Good. SPD is out of control and needs to be reined in. If not they will be like LAPD soon.
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Agreed but the issue isn't so much with most of the patrol officers, it's the leadership problem at the top and the Union that protects the bad apples.

    Something tells me that there's going to be a "sea change" in the internal culture of the SPD with their new Chief. Not only someone from outside but one that "uses the ladies room". Some officers may just go looking elsewhere for a job or retire.
     
  15. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    deadshot has a very insightful post here.

    I have had some very difficult discussions with retired police from other departments about the SPD environment both inside and outside of the department.

    Their argument is frequently that Seattle is a very dangerous place to work, and that dangerous environment shapes the protocols that have been created to deal with it. We can understand that working a beat in Chelan is not the same as doing the night shift in Rainier Valley.

    The profession itself has a culture of giving a wide benefit of the doubt for fellow officers' behavior (in other cities even) and a tendency to lose objectively when evaluating the policies. This is why people with years of experience are very slow to draw conclusions especially if they weren't there to see and hear everything that happened.

    The culture itself. We all know what is expected of us when we have worked a job long enough- what's permitted and what's expected and what's never done. That's the crux of it here in my opinion.

    BTW we were not working in Seattle city limits but south, in the central valley on that shoot-everybody-up job.
     
  16. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    The thing with cops is that regardless of how small your traffic infraction may have been, if you see those lights behind you and don't pull over, you will eventually get shot by them.

    Does it surprise me they would allow shooting at cars? Not at all, but like the Supreme Court has any real legitimacy anyway.

    Kokesh 2020
     
  17. Darknight

    Darknight Salem Active Member

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    I guess if you happen to be the guy who just got carjacked and have a gun pointed at you by a bad guy telling you to drive 90mph or he will shoot you, it won't matter because the police will shoot you anyway. the bad guy will flee the scene and be tackled in a nearby field and you will have a funeral where your family will hopefully say nice things about you.

    To the union comment; it's not the unions claming up and protecting each other, it's the Officers that protect each other. Then the court systems don't do anything about a rogue officer either, because the DA goes to the grand jury, who are ordinary citizens and tells them about the awful person the officer had to shoot and there you go no true bill and off the hook he/she goes. The reason you see use of force being defended on an individual basis is it violated a policy or procedure not a criminal offense. Think of it like a set of parentheses; the state law on use of force is inside ten feet wide parentheses and the department policy or procedure use of force is the center 8 foot section with it's own set of parentheses. It is set up that way so if an officer acts outside of the department policy or procedure on use of force then they will still be within the state law and not have any criminal liability issues.

    As far as the criminal investigations go, those are usually done by another close by agency that works closely in the field with them. Do you really think another agency that may have you or your fellow officers from your agency as their back-up will recommend charges against you. Nope, not going to happen. They will do everything they can to get you off because it may be their turn next.
     
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  18. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Remember this: in an average year, police kill 500 unarmed Americans. Last year a total of 33 police officers died from homicidal violence or non-negligent manslaughter. I don't think the police need any more liberal lethal-force policies for their protection or anybody else's.
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you could share your source(s) for the stat's you gave. Hopefully they're not the usual "hate the cops blog's or websites.
     
  20. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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