The Force Science Institute writes:

A federal appellate court has ruled that a sheriff’s deputy was justified in shooting dead the driver of a car heading toward him as a weapon, even though the deputy deliberately stepped into the vehicle’s path and stayed there when he had the opportunity to move aside.

The 10th circuit Court of Appeals said the deputy’s actions were reasonable and ordered a lower court to grant him qualified immunity from a claim that he violated the driver’s constitutional rights by using excessive force.

The fact that the deputy placed himself in jeopardy was immaterial, the court declared, and did not constitute reckless behavior.

PURSUIT FOR URINATION

The case began on an autumn Friday evening when a deputy on patrol in Box Elder County, UT, made contact with a middle-aged man he saw urinating on the shoulder of a rural state highway. The man smelled of alcohol and the deputy suspected intoxication. While the officer was running a warrants check, the suspect suddenly rabbited in his VW Jetta. A brief, mostly low-speed pursuit ensued, ending in a cul-de-sac in a residential area of the hamlet of Corinne.

The deputy angled his marked patrol truck across the road to discourage escape, but the suspect seemed determined to maneuver around it. To prevent him from advancing, the court decision says, the deputy “exited his truck, drew his service weapon, and stepped in front” of the car that was slowly coming toward him.

As the Jetta continued to creep forward, the bumper hit the deputy’s legs a few times. The deputy backpedaled, shouting “Get out of the car” twice and “Stop!” six times. When the suspect “offered no indication” of obeying and the car was “just inches away,” the deputy fired three rounds through the windshield, striking the driver twice in the chest. The Jetta crashed into a drainage ditch. The driver, who had an “extensive criminal history,” according to news reports, died at the scene.

Dash-cam footage accessible by clicking here as part of a newscast shows the deputy attempting to retreat. The actual shooting occurred out of camera frame, but the county attorney in deciding the shooting was justified claimed the suspect was revving his engine when the deputy fired.

CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION?

The suspect’s mother filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of his estate, alleging, among other things, that the deputy, operating without backup, had “voluntarily and intentionally positioned himself in front of [the suspect’s] slow-moving vehicle” and was not in “threat of serious physical harm.”

Thus his use of deadly force was an excessive reaction—“negligent, reckless, and/or willful misconduct”—that violated the dead man’s constitutional right to be free of unlawful seizure.

A District Court judge dismissed the deputy’s agency and sheriff from the suit but held in the plaintiff’s favor that given the circumstances the deputy was not entitled to a summary judgment based on qualified immunity.

The court explained that a jury could find that if the deputy “could have reasonably moved out of the way, his decision to step in front of the car and remain there when it became apparent [the suspect] was not going to stop [was] reckless and…unnecessarily created the need to use deadly force.”

On the deputy’s appeal, however, a three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled earlier this year that this was a reversible error, and thereby absolved the deputy of any liability.

APPELLATE REASONING

The appellate justices explained their reversal in a 27-page decision written by Judge Jerome Holmes.

The crux in determining whether the deputy acted reasonably in using deadly force lies with whether the suspect “posed an immediate threat to [the deputy’s] safety,” Holmes wrote. From viewing the available video, the panel felt the threat was “readily apparent.”

“Despite [the deputy’s] orders to stop,” the suspect “continued to drive his Volkswagen forward as [the deputy] stepped backwards; his vehicle’s bumper was just inches away….” A reasonable officer in the deputy’s position “would have feared for his life,” Holmes wrote, and the deputy “had mere seconds to act… Even if he was mistaken as to the imminence of the threat,” his actions could still be considered reasonable under the circumstances.

Although the plaintiff claimed that the deputy could have moved out of the way and was “required” to use “less intrusive” force in that situation, the justices ruled that these arguments were “immaterial to the question of whether a police officer could have reasonably perceived he was in danger at the precise moment that he used deadly force.”

Officers “do not always have to use the least restrictive means” of control, Holmes noted. And the deputy “was under no obligation to take cover in order to discourage [the suspect] from using his vehicle as a weapon to inflict potentially deadly force.” The panel denied that the deputy’s actions were reckless or unreasonably created the need to use force.

The fact that the case began over the minor offense of public urination “does not make the vehicle any less dangerous” at the point that the suspect was attempting to flee from lawful detention, Holmes added.

In assessing the “degree of threat,” the justices considered “the manifest intentions of the suspect,” that he failed to comply with the deputy’s commands, that “hostile motions were made with the weapon,” and that the distance between the deputy and the suspect’s vehicle was “mere inches.”

Conclusion: “[F]rom the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, the totality of circumstances…powerfully support [the deputy’s] position that his use of deadly force was reasonable [and therefore he was] entitled to qualified immunity.”

The 10th Circuit includes KS, OK, NM, CO, WY, and UT. This decision can be read in full, free of charge, by clicking here.

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130 Responses to Court: Deputy OK to Shoot Driver Even Though He Put Himself In Front of the Car

  1. Wow, a story where everyone is a moron. You practically have to try to get to this level of all round stupidity.

    • I have to agree but I’m about as cop friendly as anyone but for either pissing on the side of the road or DUI (or both) after you know where the guy lives (which he did) why escalate this to a fatal encounter? Yes, the dead guy was stupid but I have to slide the stupid scale in favor of the cop by a little.

      • So you’re gonna let someone flee in a vehicle while DUI?

        When he kills someone down the road, how are you feeling about that?

        • Better to let the person who is DUI go and arrest him later, than to *chase* him and thereby increase the chance that he’ll get into an accident and hurt someone.

          When we train our LEOs to dominate every scenario, we’re training them to escalate every scenario, and things get out of control quickly.

          The best solutions de-escalate the immediate crisis while still preserving order in the long run; this is not always possible, but it should be the goal.

          Basically, we need more Andy Taylors and less Judge Dredds.

        • Cant reply to military guy (as if he is one) but I have an ED full of people hit and run over by DWI/DUI to say that the vehicle is just as, if not more dangerous than a firearm, especially a handgun. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes

    • “a story where everyone is a ‘moron'”?

      Yeah right “cop hater”, I suppose you or your wife/children want to be the ones hit head-on or broadsided at an intersection when the CAREER CRIMINAL decides he no longer wants to continue with with a “low speed” escape and nails the pedal to the floor and begins barreling down the highway in the wrong direction at a 100mph.

      The second the drunk POS refused to stop and flee he not only became a “felon” but a “danger to the community”, the officer had EVERY “right” to dispatch him like a rabid raccoon wobbling down the street in the middle of the day headed in the direction of a crowded children’s playground.

      Obviously the family was hoping they would be “winners”in the “ghetto lottery” suing the officer and department aka “taxpayers” hoping to reap the rewards for raising a POS. Good riddance to the CAREER CRIMINAL and DRUNK DRIVER.

        • “The stupid was attempting to stop a vehicle by standing in front of it, not in the stopping of it.”
          I’m curious: While I understand your point, the officer has not only a responsibility to stop a suspected DUI, but a duty to do so. It’s his job, and we want him to stop that perp. Public safety demands it. We demand it.
          The perp, in this case, demonstrated that he had no problem using his car as a deadly weapon against an officer of the law acting within the parameters of his job. He was attempting to use a deadly weapon at the time he was shot. Bad decisions often have bad results.
          Life is like that.

        • Local law enforcement isnt constrained by opinion unless that opinion comes down from the supreme or appellate courts. Where I live cops cant chase DUI’s but CHP can. San Francisco cops cant shoot in to a vehicle unless a person is shooting from that vehicle. None of this is relevant in this case because the constituency and courts that cover california have no bearing on how officers enforce the law in UT. If this was San Francisco that cop would be in deep doo doo. Until the voters, judges, and elected officials in Utah or the SCOTUS decide this was bad enforcement, this will continue to be considered good enforcement for Utah.

      • “…the officer had EVERY “right” to dispatch him like a rabid raccoon…”

        This might be one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever read on TTAG or anywhere else. Sorry to say that. I know it’s not nice, but fuck man, it’s like you tried to piece together all the stupidest parts of various other comments and succeeded in stitching together a Jack Skelington of stupid.

        Impressively dumb.

    • No, stupidity at this level comes naturally to those those nursing from the public teat. This whole thing pretty much says any costumed comedienne can shoot any driver if they stand in front of the vehicle.

      • No, stupidity is drawing the conclusion you came to from the narrow scope of circumstances considered by the 10 circuit court in this case.

    • Stopping a highly intoxicated driver from returning to the roadway is not “stupid”.

      Also law enforcement does not have a duty to retreat when enforcing the law.

      • Last I checked they don’t have a duty to “exit the vehicle and open fire when they shouldn’t probably have gotten out of the car in the first place” either.

        Cops ram other cars all the time. That’s why many cruisers have a guard on the front of them.

        • The push bars are used for clearing cars out of traffic or authorized use of the PIT, which is very restrictive. Hitting someone or ramming a vehicle with a patrol car is a use of deadly force which is tantamount to a cop shooting someone with a gun.

    • Wow. The butthurt. Jesus, I’m not sure they make enough hemorrhoid cream for some of you folks.

      Look. Everyone was a moron. I stand by that statement.

      The guy who ended up dead was a moron for running from the cop.

      The cop was a moron for getting out of his car rather than using that vehicle to take out the other vehicle. That choice put him in a situation where he had to shoot. Sorry, putting yourself in a situation where you’re forced to shoot when you have other options to resolve the situation isn’t “smart”, it’s pretty damn dumb.

      The three judge panel consisted of morons since they basically handed down a judgement that even if a cop does something incredibly stupid, putting himself in danger and raising the danger to both the suspect and the public at large, he bears no responsibility for that decision because he’s a cop.

      So yes, a story completely full of morons.

      • “Ram the other car”? Real smart, this way you find yourself pinned in your patrol car by the airbag and unable to draw your service weapon while the CAREER CRIMINAL and FLEEING “FELON” is free to exit his vehicle and possibly shoot you with a weapon he had stashed under the seat or in the console. And don’t tell me the offender’s airbag would’ve deployed, he probably removed it and sold it for drugs.

        Most people obey instructions of law enforcement, obviously the POS in this case had a habit of not only disobeying the same laws the rest of us follow but also had NO intention of following simple commands and refused to held accountable for his actions. I’ll say it again “Good riddance to the POS”

        • Well shit guys. This dude is obviously the most right, as all his responses use a LOT of capitalized letters. Our logic and reasoned debate can’t compete with his emotionally charged language and shouting. Might as well pack it in.

      • Strych9 has it right here. And the cop’s defenders – strike me as scary people. When the cop saw the perp was just gonna keep creeping toward him he knew he’d chosen a losing tactic. Killing the guy was obviously and painfully (!) inappropriate to urinating, suspicion of dui, and disobeying an order, all of which comes down to stupidity. Rather than adjust is tactics, he killed the guy to save his own pride. What would be wrong with shooting out a couple of tires?

        Commentors implying that keeping a possibly drunk driver off the road because he might cause an accident and a death justifies this killing are so far off base they resemble cats covering s**t. Sorry.

        • It all depends on Utah state laws, case law in the jurisdiction of the 10 circuit court, and the policies of that cop’s department. Deadly force isn’t evaluated through the prism of what the shooter (cop, citizen, soldier, etc.) could have done or what someone else thinks he/she should have done. Its evaluated through the prism of established laws that determine “reasonableness”. The court decided that the cop’s actions, within the specific set of circumstances and governing regulations and laws, was justified and reasonable for that cop in Utah in that circumstance.

        • Oh… and the cop didnt shoot the guy for urinating in public, DUI, or evading. He shot him because while affecting a lawful arrest for the above charges, the guy made it clear he was intending to kill or seriously injure the cop to escape and had the means to do so. The 10th circuit court determined the cop didnt pull the trigger until that line was crossed. In fact we have lots of video showing the cop demonstrating tremendous restraint. To jump from A to Z and ignore all the intervening factors makes me fear for the public jurisprudence of this country.

        • Just like we should shoot perps only in the legs…sigh. Even a couple of the rounds in the radiator (provided they hit it) would still leave the vehicle with a considerable amount of time and power to do some damage before the vehicle was incapacitated…still leaving a healthy and intoxicated driver with whatever he had on board to do some serious damage if he so chose. Go back to your gated community with the private security…you know those low income people are being loud again….

    • “As the Jetta continued to creep forward, the bumper hit the deputy’s legs a few times. The deputy backpedaled, shouting “Get out of the car” twice and “Stop!” six times. “

      That’s as far as I need to read. He had plenty of chances to stop and let himself be arrested. He didn’t take those chances, so the cop ended the threat.

      Now, the cop is a moron for using his body to stop a vehicle, but that is a tactical error, not a moral or ethical one.

  2. Talk about “stand your ground”…

    … and driving into the deputy is vehicular assault, is it not? Driver actually drove into the deputy’s legs multiple times.

  3. George Zimmerman didnt have to confront Treyvon Martin. A victim of a home invation can always run away. Those people in england are supposed to run, hide, tell….. a drunk guy in a 5000 lbs car that can go 100mph is a threat to the public. The cop showed tremendous restraint leading up to the shooting and eventually drew the line. The guy was willing to run over a cop to get away. What would he be willing to do to you or your family to avoid responsibility for his actions? Good riddance.

        • You are absolutely correct…. he got out to check the street sign. If i could ammend the statement i would.

        • Your point was still valid. I just saw FedUp’s reply and immediately thought of a smartass reply and couldn’t help myself.

    • “victim of a home invation can always run away.”

      Unless they live in an apartment above the ground floor or maybe second story.

      Or unleas they’re old, disabled, or otherwise have a medical condition that prevents it.

      Or there’s another person in their care that they’d have to leave behind.

    • The police have the authority to stop crime,asshat should have stopped, thank God the officer wasn’t hurt. As for the estate? It should be forfeit (if it has any value) to the victims of dui. I personal want my police officers to intervene. I want them to intervene (risk their life by the way) when isis attacks, intervene when an idiot shoots up a baseball game, intervene when my neighbor is high on bath salts, intervene when a guy is beating his wife(or vis versa) intervene when a pedophile tries to take a child. I can think of a thousand reasons to intervene and be confrontational even if that puts the officer in harms way. To do that for me I give my fellow citizen l(by virtue of social contract) immunity for having to protect himself and others.

    • “George Zimmerman didn’t have to confront Treyvon Martin.
      Definitely not what happened.

      “A victim of a home invasion can always run away.”
      Definitely not true.

      “A drunk guy in a 5000 lbs car that can go 100mph is a threat to the public.”
      Truth.

      “Good riddance.
      Also true.

  4. Shot for noncompliance, not shot for being an immediate danger to the deputy. It was obvious he wasn’t going to comply any other way. I guess that depends on what’s considered a reasonable means of forcing compliance.

    I thought this was going to be one of those ‘cop jumped in front of car, driver veered to avoid hitting him, cop shot in self defense after the driver saved his life by driving around him’ stories.

    • Can you be killed or maimed by a car running you over? Yes. Was the driver in a situation where they were likely to use the vehicle as a weapon? Yes. Did the driver display an intent to use the vehicle in this manner? Yes.

      We have means, method, and intent. Good shoot. Everything else is just feelings.

  5. Here’s a plan: when a cop tells you to stop, stop! When he says get out of the car, get out of the car! When he points a gun at you, put your hands up, shut up, and don’t offer resistance. D’Oh! Contrary to some opinion, abject idiocy is a capital offense.

  6. When you commit a crime, a cop has the authority to detain you. When you flee, things can go bad, especially when you assault an officer with a deadly weapon.

    • I cannot see how anyone could rule against the cop in this case, he really seems to have done the best he could, but the focus is all wrong, as it tends to be with the courts.

      I just read most of the decision and the issue is that they use Graham v. Connor criteria to determine if 4th Amendment is violated in use of excessive force. The (apparently non-exhaustive) criteria are

      1.”the severity of the crime at issue,”
      2. “whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others,”
      3. “whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.”

      This is bad application to this case IMHO, because it has introduced the idea that being a cop is kind of like playing basketball…with modified rules
      1. If you physically get in someone’s way, they can’t move.
      2. If you suspect that they are about to foul you, you shoot them.
      3. The USA is your basketball court.

      Watch this video of an attempt of an off-duty cop to illegally perform a traffic stop.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy7Y8BPc-_M

      If this guy had stepped in front of the car (even after it started to move), he could have shot her, according to this decision. Simply because all 3 of the criteria have been met.

      “The reasonableness of [an officer’s] actions depends both on whether the officers were in danger at the precise moment that they used force and on whether [the officers’] own reckless or deliberate conduct during the seizure unreasonably created the need to use such force.” Sevier, 60 F.3d at 699

      So now, at that point, you’re having to argue that police cannot act like a 3rd grade bully who blocks you out of the bathroom. They respond that it is their right and their duty to be anywhere on public property, and on private property if they “suspect” something illegal is going on.

      In short, the decision does not emphasize (as it should have) the importance of the propriety, legal right, or responsibility, of the officer TO put itself in the position or location that prompted the Graham v. Connor criteria to even be considered.

      IE conclusion should have been

      “Because the culprit chose to run from a lawful traffic stop and Because the culprit gave sufficient dashboard camera evidence of driving intoxicated on a public road and Because the culprit chose to run again after every attempt was made to corral him and despite the officer choosing to give him one more chance to stop his flight by blocking the way with his body where the car had failed, but Because even then the culprit made his intentions clear that he would not stop the car and gave every threat of running over the officer…Because of this, it was the officer’s duty to use lethal force to protect himself and the public road from a reckless criminal.”

      There should have been an “asshole” caveat on the decision. Antagonizing a citizen by physically infringing on personal space in absence of clear breaches of law could greatly endanger an officer’s legal claim to defend himself or have qualified immunity.

      Another issue is that many of their supporting decision language comes from cases where there was a guy brandishing weapons, which is different than “suspicion” of DWI or “suspicion” of unlawful activity happening on private property. Next thing they’ll be “suspiciously” walking around your back yard and blocking your doorway when you try to go in.

      • I understand what you’re saying. However, they’re using precedent for brandishing because the vehicle is the weapon in this case. The repeated contact & revving engine is being equated to brandishing a firearm. The officer took the career criminal at his word (actions speak louder than words).

      • “whether [the officers’] own reckless or deliberate conduct during the seizure unreasonably created the need to use such force.” – this means the cops have to behave reasonably during the seizure.

        • “whether [the officers’] own reckless or deliberate conduct during the seizure unreasonably created the need to use such force.” – this means the cops have to behave reasonably during the seizure.

          Ahh, so you’re saying they have to behave reasonably? This is why I don’t like courts and legal language. If you don’t watch it, the courts turn regular English on its ass and make it into whatever they want it to mean, step by step by step.

          Read that. It’s not a technical as the article I remember, but it touches on some of the ideas.

          You’re not wrong about this case specifically. If you are actually a lawyer, you have studied legal language more than I have and could know much more about what will fly in court. I’m not arguing that I will win a court case, I’m saying that Jefferson would not approve of the precedents being set here.

          Corruption is a web, not a single strand. You whole statement above relies on the definition of the word “reasonable.” If a union lawyer can corrupt what the jury is allowed to be told is “reasonable,” none of what comes after in that sentence is meaningful.

          In this case, it was reasonable to think and do what the officer did. He wanted to keep the culprit off of the public road when he had reasonable belief that he was intoxicated, and had concrete proof he had fled a traffic stop. If I was on the jury, the only unreasonable part of an argument would have been if the officer said he could no let the guy back on the road. That would have been a lie. He knows, and I know, there is no legal standard forcing police to do their job.

          “I didn’t have a choice” means I’m dealing with a liar.

          There is a disturbing pattern going on as far as what “reasonable” means. I read an article about it not too long ago. There has been a gradual (but purposeful) effort by police unions to pervert the meaning of the word “reasonable.”

          The meaning is supposed to be “Would a normal person behave this way” or “Would a person with equal knowledge and experience think this is appropriate?”

          The effort has been to turn it into “Is it reasonable to assume the officer thought X?

          This is a perversion of the meaning. You can go to the insane asylum and have any psychiatrist swear up and down that it is reasonable to believe that patient 123 thought the aliens were coming yesterday.

        • I believe the court ruled the objective standard, what a reasonable person would have believed, was the standard. A case based on the subjective standard, what the jury thought the officer actually believed, would probably be reversible error.

  7. Whatever the court decides, this drunk is proof that the best way to win the Darwin Award is to threaten a cop. Hope the courts stand up for this cop. The cop deserves a medal for taking a career criminal off the street by placing himself in danger

    • This case is over. The cop was given qualified immunity, and the lower court was ordered to enter summary judgment in his favor.

  8. If the officer let this man go, and then the drunk killed a pedestrian, people would be crying out about how a law officer allowed this drunk to roam free.

    • Can we get past the “what if” stuff with these situations? We can throw out an “what if” scenario to support any position.

      What if the cop missed and killed a child?

      What if the guy was actually a diabetic, complied and was left in the drunk tank to slip into a coma and die (as has happened dozens of times in Colorado in the past decade)?

      What if the dead guy was a psycho on his way to rape and kill a child and drown a puppy?

      Pretty much everyone here acted like a fucking idiot and the stacking tolerances of stupidity are nearly mind boggling. Leave it at that.

      • Aren’t the what ifs why we’re armed? Have first aid kits? Insurance on all our shit?

        Remove the what ifs from the table and we got nothing.

  9. Listen, I think that a cop has an obligation to stop drunk drivers and that includes with his own person if necessary. I also think a jury would have reached the same conclusion.

    That said, if I stepped in front of a moving car and used that as reason to shoot the driver, I’d be in front of a jury defending myself, I guarantee it. The thought that cops get passes not available to the rest of us really grinds my gears

    • As a society we encourage the cop to step in front of the car. It’s one of the many reasons we cut them some slack.

      Society encourages you and I to not put ourselves in that situation and they are probably right.

      • “It’s one of the reasons we cut them some slack”. Really? “Oh yeah, we give a certain subset of the populace the authority to use violence, except them to be offensive in their use of it, and thus we cut them some slack”. You see how backwards that is, right? Plenty of cops acquit themselves VERY well in complicated, deadly situations. It is entirely possible, so why don’t we expect that from all of them? (I’m speaking from a purely ideological standpoint; I’m well aware that training, culture, enlistment requirements, etc vary WILDLY from one department to the next, and that those factors also play a huge role in how cops conduct themselves, despite being out of the direct control of individual, ground level officers).

    • I get that they are ordered to go do things that the rest of us find distasteful or unpleasant, and that they deal with the nastiest portion of society on a daily basis. The commission of these tasks would be almost impossible without some kind of special considerations. (How do you conduct a traffic stop for running a red light if no one has to stop driving their car)

      WITH this increased privilege, comes an increased responsibility. Especially when all occurring on the public dime.

      Introducing the problem of “No Duty”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

      I do have a huge problem with granting them huge privileges to do almost whatever they want whenever they want, in an atmosphere where your ability to meaningfully appeal and seek redress is measured in years, and in millions of dollars.

      “No Duty” = “No Privilege” in my book.

      In other news from an alternative universe where the military is held to police standards,

      Army platoon that refused D-Day orders re-enlisted with all honors and backed pay returned!
      “No Duty to take Omaha beach” say judge.

      • As to your D-Day analogy, if a cop refused to do their job when told to by a superior, I’m pretty sure they would be fired.

        • Not good enough. You’re trying to blur two very different things. I don’t care what the policies are for turning in time sheets and keeping the desk in order, or being “volunteered” to show up to the annual bbq. I care when sword public servants betray an oath to uphold the constitution.

          I (and you) shouldn’t give a rat’s ass if they do what their chief tells them…when it infringes on the constitutionally enumerated rights of every citizen of this country.

          They are fired for all kinds of things, even when they are trying to abide by their conscience and possibly save the taxpayer some money.

          http://ktla.com/2017/05/12/lawsuit-alleges-west-virginia-police-officer-was-fired-for-not-shooting-armed-suspect/

          They are fired chiefly for political reasons in my experience. Actually I would swear this is true where I live, but you would have to apply big city TX to the entire US in order to come to that conclusion for the entire country. That flake Acevado just go transferred to Houston PD though…California can’t take him quick enough.

          It is honestly a bit cruel to let an officer think he will live a week if he obeys an unconstitutional order, or “understands” a general order in that unfortunate way. If there are no consequences, then it’s a hard choice. Keep my job, or do what I know is right?

          You do understand that’s why Russians guarded the Gulags, and Germans watched the concentration camps right?

        • Your analogy is the one blurring lines. You were the one talking about soldiers disobeying direct orders to go into harms way. If a cop was ordered to do so and didn’t, he could be fired.

          I said a cop ordered to do his job. I’m pretty sure his job is not to violate the constitution.

          “Just following orders” isn’t what we are talking about at all.

        • The first general order in the army is “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.” It gets into obeying orders later, because the only point of orders is to secure things from the enemy.

          The issue seems to be that the understood first general order of police is “I will never antagonize, annoy, or question the orders of my superiors.”

          There are lots of other things that should be more important than that.

          This backwards culture in police departments comes to light occasionally like in the case of the officer who got fired for not shooting the guy trying to suicide-by-cop

          https://www.rt.com/usa/387930-cop-lawsuit-shooting-black-suicidal/

          The officer, a military veteran, obviously had some kind of moral code that he deemed more important than department policy.

          The conduct of the department afterwards shows what they do to people who hold their Judeo-Christian morals above policies made by bureaucrats.

    • Timothy,

      Here is another way to look at it. Suppose I am sighting-in a rifle or plinking at an obvious target which is 100 yards away … and the rifle is clamped in position and cannot be swung in any other direction. For whatever reason, a police officer wants to interrogate me or detain me. And for whatever reason, I keep plinking at the target. If the cop steps in front of my rifle which has been pointing at an obvious target the entire time, does that justify the cop to use deadly force against me?

  10. “the suspect suddenly rabbited in his VW Jetta”

    If only the suspect had jetted in his VW Rabbit, he’d still be alive today.

  11. And que the bootlickers! ” when da lawz tellz sumtin ya lizen” . He still put him self in a dangerous situation by jumping in front of the car. He didn’t have justification to draw a side arm upon exiting his vehicle as there was not a threat to life and limb atm. Perhaps this guy was spooked by a cop coming at him gun drawn? Cops are not special. They are not allowed to use more force than nessecery to arrest. Common law historically held that resistance to unlawful arrest was just. I have a hard time believing someone would be arrested for pissing in the dark in a free country. Shot down over taking a piss. I swear the logic you folks use would justify Waco and Ruby Ridge. What happened to the notion in our community of victimless crimes being bad?

    • You might have an argument, we’re he not driving a vehicle & attempting to use it as a weapon.
      The suspect elevated the situation with every decision he made.

    • So where the branch dividians right to burn their children? Why not take their case to the law? Regardless this was different a person on public land was violating the law and the officer attempted to stop him. That’s what the police are for, to stop crime.

  12. I consider it murder if you jump in front of a car in order to have an excuse for killing someone when you didn’t have to in the first place.

    It’s reasonable to shoot someone if they were shooting at people from the car or just murdered someone. In those cases firing your weapon could be safer for the public than allowing the person to continue.

    These days police think it’s okay to shoot anyone they want, when ever they want, if they can articulate any excuse for it regardless if they are putting the public in more danger or they could have ended the situation without violence. They think this way because of their trainers, their leadership, the courts and attorney general are condoning it for police (only). It’s now become so normalized that it’s okay even if the police create a contrived scenario in order to get to fire their weapon at a human…

    It’s the whole “get some” mentality.

    • Exactly. This cop deserves to be sentenced to being run over by a Jetta repeatedly. The court’s reasoning only holds if the VW was armored, both front and tires, because a car creeping along is only dangerous if it can move — but last I knew, a round to each front tire and if that didn’t work a series to the radiator and engine block should have removed the threat.

      I hope there’s an appeal and the cop goes to prison where he belongs.

      • Please make up your mind. Either you want police to stop criminal activity, protect the public, apprehend the criminal or do you want police to just document that a crime took place and nothing else. Your stance, in this instance only, is unsupportable. Fact- the suspect committed several crimes and endangered the public showing disregard for any “rights” of others- thinking of only himself. The suspect escalated the incident and continued a pattern of violating State statutes and the violations increased in danger of harm to humans. The officer placed himself in danger attempting to stop the suspect from being able to cause any harm to others, by standing in the front yard of a residence. Vehicles do not drive through the front yard of other’s homes. A motorized vehicle can be and is considered a weapon everywhere in the United States when used in the manner the suspect used his vehicle. The officer was struck several times with the weapon and the suspect kept coming toward the officer ie. kept using the weapon (capable of causing serious physical harm or death) aggressively against the officer. The officer, after great restraint, finally returned the deadly force being used against him which then ended the crime spree. Your logic dictates that officers must avoid any contact or position that could make the use of force (force and deadly force parameters work both ways) an option and ignores the fact that the use of force is the only proven thing that controls human behavior when humans don’t want to behave.

        • I don’t want those govt goons doing shit. I will take care of me and mine. This country existed fine for many years without police. The concept was a rather late development in country anyway. Feel free to research it.

        • Society has always had rules, herehere. The enforcers of those rules haven’t always been called cops or law enforcement but they’ve been there.

          even in ancient times each society set its rules and you had to live by them. Find any society thru out history that had no laws, rules, taboos and ways to enforce them.

          That “law enforcement is a fairly modern concept” is at best, a half lie. But you knew that. You argue from the same level as the anti gunners.

      • “I hope there’s an appeal and the cop goes to prison where he belongs.”

        In the habit of driving drunk yourself eh?

    • Your view has absolutely nothing to do with legal reality, though you are entitled to feel however you want.

      But legally, if the police can detain you, they are not required to get out of your way so that you can flee. Not if you point a gun at them, not if you point a car at them.

      • Cops are allowed to do things that non police would go to prison for even if the scenario was the exact same. When a citizen does something it is considered vigilantism and unacceptable, when a cop does the same thing they are defended and considered a great cop. California is a great example of how being a police officer puts you in a privileged class over other citizens.

        The job for a cop isn’t to carry out the entire process of justice. The police are part of a system, not the system. There are situations where they don’t have to take justice solely into their own hands because they feel like it. If they are allowed to go around being a wolf all the time, society will deteriorate when the citizenry start to notice. Then it becomes “us versus them” culture — a self fulfilling prophecy.

        So if you can end a situation without resorting to killing someone, the more the people will be on your side when you have to take a life. People won’t associate your uniform with death. At this time, a large portion of people see the US police as killers instead of nice people you can hang out with.

        Here is an example of cops (successfully) trying not to end something by killing a bad guy even though they could have easily done so legally and tactically. It would have been much easier, and faster, to shoot the house up with their AR15s instead of sit there for hours talking with this dumb guy. The end result is no one was hurt and the public don’t have another thing that makes them think cops are only doing the job to kill people:

        • “So if you can end a situation without resorting to killing someone, the more the people will be on your side when you have to take a life. People won’t associate your uniform with death. At this time, a large portion of people see the US police as killers instead of nice people you can hang out with.”

          What’s the ratio of “end a situation without resorting to killing someone” to “you have to take a life”? 100:1? 500:1? 1000:1? I’d wager a year’s worth of your salary it’s much higher than that even. But, that “1” is the squeaky wheel that gets all the grease, and the “1000” are hardly even known outside of those involved. Just because “a large portion of people see the US police as killers” (erroneously/irrationally) doesn’t really validate the argument.

    • Spare us your precrime bs. Until he hits someone, he has done nothing wrong. Killing people with cars is already illegal ya know. Your logic is the same precrime garbage as displayed by the antis. Furthermore, the cop shouldn’t even had a legal reason to discover his alcohol, as pissing in the dark is surly not against the law in a free country. Nor did the officer have a valid reason to draw his weapon whike exiting his vehicle. I can’t draw down on you for being drunk. Why should this idiot cop be any different?

        • (incidentally, I think that DUI has been over-demonized when it’s probably about on par with fatalities caused by talking on a cell phone- but it’s still illegal for a reason)

        • Never had an arrest, let alone a dui. I take issue with how the dui was discovered just aw much as I do with the concept of DUI. What free nation would jail someone pissing outside of city limits in the dark?? Assuming it wasn’t illegal to piss (I don’t know UT indecent exposure laws) there was no legal reason for the stop in the first place. Being parked on the side of the road could not give him reasonable suspicion of dui. It would seem rather easy to justify dui by finding alcohol after having access to the interior of the car post shooting. I also refuse to buy into your seperate class of citizen nonsense. Leo are not justifies in creating a dangerous situation that results in death anymore than the next guy. The leo is the one who escalated the situation by exiting his with a drawn weapon and jumping in front of the car. There is no justification here to have exited with weapon drawn. I for one would have been nervous and less likely to comply when someone drew down on me without justification. You also over look common law holdings since the 1600’s that support resistance of unlawful arrest or arrest of excess force. Basing the contact and arrest on pissing seems borderline unlawful arrest. Drawing a weapon while exiting the cruiser was certainly a use of excessive force that needlessly escalated to the next level on the force continuum. Assuming this is justified, so was Waco and Ruby Ridge (obviously not). So I guess cops can pull guns on people and create the life or death situation and ice anyone who resists. Contempt of cop can be sentenced with summary execution..got it loud and clear. Land of the free home of the brave ehh?

      • Herehere – Show me a state or even a country where drunk driving isn’t an offense until/unless the drunk hits someone. Go ahead, I’ll wait. While I’d be almost absolutely certain that the deputy was a rookie, this was one of those mistakes of the head rather than the heart I’ve mentioned previously. There are times when cops have no choice but to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, but this wasn’t one of them. It puts me in mind of an incident when one of the members of my police academy class stepped out in front of a dirt bike being illegally ridden on the street and held up his hand in the universal signal to stop. That was almost 50 years ago and I’ll bet he still has knobby tire track marks on his chest where the guy ran right over him.

        And “Hiya, Hannibal”.

        • Howdy. I assume most people have made a mistake like that (stepping out and putting your hand up to say stop).

          I won’t say if it was a good idea to chase this guy to begin with. But at the point the shooting happened, I see the officer’s reactions as reasonable. They had already been in a chase where the guy had shown he was a danger to the community (cutting across lawns, etc) and there is no reason to believe stepping out of his way would have ended that.

        • For reference I have never had a DUI, or even been arrested. But I find this precrime bs a poor excuse. Just because other countries adopt anti liberty precrime legal systems does not mean we should follow. That argument is weak sauce. We are not bound to poor decisions just because other nations think them a good idea. If that is how you feel, goodbye 2nd amendment! Pissing outside of town in the dark is such a crime hazard! We better make it illegal!

  13. shooting a guy over what amounts to a DUI and acting like a drunk….no wonder ordinary people hate cops so much.

    • riiiight… and you think Michael Brown was shot over jaywalking and Trayvon Martin was shot over skittles, right?

  14. The original judge obviously doesn’t know the law. The appellate judgement was a legal smackdown on the first decision.

    And it should be, because the legal issues here aren’t even in question. A police officer who has reasonable suspicion or probable cause for someone committing an offense (be it DUI or public urination) can legally detain that person. The police officer can use physical force to detain that person if they resist (this goes back to common law). The officer can only use that force which is ‘objectively reasonable’ but at no time has a court ever found that a police officer has to surrender to force used by the suspect (i.e. get out of the way of a vehicle and allow the suspect to escape). Let’s remember, as it related to the content on this site, a vehicle is a weapon just as potent as a gun. If the guy was trying to ride away on a bicycle, this wouldn’t have happened.

    It’s pretty basic. The police simply don’t have a duty to retreat when they are acting within the law in terms of detaining someone. They don’t have to back away from someone swinging a knife while walking towards them (in this country…) and they don’t have to retreat when someone is driving a car at them. Not only that, but they are expected to put themselves between those people and society. If you read the entire decision, this wasn’t something that just happened right away- it was after a vehicular chase where the guy was cutting through lawns and generally endangering everyone in the area.

  15. Saying it wasn’t justified because the COP put himself in harms way is up there with “prohibit food growth during famine to raise price on food to increase taxes” on stupid ideas. He’s a cop, by definition he’s putting himself in harms way as part of his job.

  16. I wasn’t there. But I find fault with the cop and the “allegedly” drunk urinator. Sometimes you just have to pee…you shouldn’t DIE for that.

    • Why the he’ll would you run if all that was transpiring was a bladder emergency?

      He didn’t get shot pissing alongside the road.

    • He died because he fled, commited assault with a deadly weapon, and tried to do both of those things again.

      You could also argue MADD killed him by making DUI such a serious offense that people feel fleeing the police is worth it.

  17. The difference between a cop and a private citizen is that it’s a cop’s duty to intervene in situations that a private citizen is free to avoid and may be well advised or even required to avoid. There are situations where a cop has enough information to make an arrest later and the risk of letting the suspect escape temporarily is less than the risk associated with a forceful arrest. A drunk willing to use his automobile to intimidate a cop for the purpose of avoiding arrest isn’t a trivial risk. There are also situations where a cop reasonably expects no serious resistance but finds himself in a fight to the death because the suspect, for reasons of his own, is willing to kill to avoid arrest or die trying.

  18. Healthy portions of stupid all around. The guy who got shot should have not been driving drunk and should have listened to the cop. The cop shouldn’t have stepped in front of a slow moving vehicle thereby creating the “need” to shoot the guy.

  19. The suspect was willing to run over the cop in order to resist arrest. It should not matter if a suspect is running a cop over at 5 miles per hour or 50. If the cop did not back pedal he would probably have been run over and he should not have to wait until he is under the car before defending himself.

    • He could have stepped to the side, or chosen not to step in front of the car in the first place. Instead he killed a (stupid) citizen who didn’t need to be killed.

  20. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Navy I’ve seen a drunk or two and the aftermath of their night on the town. (Usually not pretty!) I once knew a 1st Class Petty Officer who was selected for Chief go out and get so drunk celebrating his pending promotion that he stripped in public and the police in the Spanish city we were in had to give him a whuppin’ to settle him down. Needless to say, he was busted and never made Chief. I never asked but he probably doesn’t even remember anything until he woke up with a bunch of bruises and a black eye. In the above incident the man may have not had full use of his faculties and was only trying to not get arrested and didn’t seem to want to hurt the officer. At least initially. The officer escalated the incident unnecessarily. At that close a distance he wasn’t in that much danger as he could easily dodge a vehicle just getting moving. Once he realized the guy wasn’t going to comply he could have shot out the tires on the driver’s side if he wanted to shoot something. Then called for backup and followed the car and/or ram it off the road. There are a lot of tools in the toolbox. Police depts. should try teaching some of them. I don’t think if I was this guy’s chief if I’d let him patrol again. Got to work on decision making. On the other hand, if the guy had had a running start at the officer, fire away!

    • Easily jump out of the way? Just shoot out the tires? Someone’s been watching too much action television….

      You sound like those antis who always whine “Why didnt they just shoot the gun out of his hand?” or “Did they have to kill him; couldn’t they just have shot him in the arm?”

      • Note how the bootlicker just lies about circumstances.

        The cop deliberately stepped in the path of the vehicle. Without recklessly endangering himself, he would not need to jump out of the way. The concept of causality is well beyond the minds of these government lawyers.

        • It’s to bad we don’t have an adversarial system where the decedent’s family could have hired lawyers to argue their side.

        • “It’s to bad we don’t have an adversarial system where the decedent’s family could have hired lawyers to argue their side.”

          I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, so here goes:
          We do have such a system; it’s called civil court. And several (actually a lot) of cases have been brought for just that.

        • I was most definitely being sarcastic. More Dead Soldiers seems to believe that a bunch of government lawyers decided the civil matter all by themselves. I’m not involved with civil litigation against a government or a government actor, but I’d bet most of the lawyers in this case were private practice attorneys. Most of those were probably private practice attorneys who work for the governments’ insurance company or companies.

        • “I was most definitely being sarcastic.”

          Cool.
          I often point out that sarcasm in print often doesn’t work unless you’re at least a little over the top with it.
          I hope I wasn’t being too offensive with my answer.

        • Cute non-argument. There are two legal systems, one for the government, and one for everyone else. As we just saw, even causality is thrown out the window in the former. The cop can literally create the circumstance which led to him killing a person, it does not matter.

          Having a lawyer argue for you does not change the massive pro-cop bias in the law itself.

        • “Cute non-argument. There are two legal systems, one for the government, and one for everyone else. As we just saw, even causality is thrown out the window in the former. The cop can literally create the circumstance which led to him killing a person, it does not matter.”

          You missed the point altogether.
          The cop didn’t create the circumstances, the idiot perp did. But for his actions, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened.
          This is a case of blaming the victim being valid, because the victim is the one who brought about his own death.

  21. There is a worse case, 19 year old Samantha Ramsey who was leaving a house party that was being raided. The cop (Deputy Tyler Brockman) actually ran across the road, jumped on the hood of her car and shot her 4 times, claiming that he was in ‘fear of his life’.

    Of course, he was not indicted….

    Disgusting

    http://www.fox19.com/story/25350687/samantha-ramsey-shot-and-killed-by-boone-county-officer

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/11/06/grand-jury-declines-criminal-charges-against-tyler-brockman/18614785/

  22. Standing in front of a car operated ny someone who is impaired both in motor skills and judgment is probably not a good idea or the best tactiic. Nevertheless, that’s the officer’s choice in hiw he wants to stop this offender.

    The driver jas no choice, no legal option, but to follow the officer’s lawful order to stop the car. Intoxication is no excuse. That the officer stepped im front of the car is no excuse. After all, officers step into danger just ny coming to work.

    I’m ok with the officer having shot this guy.

    • “After all, officers step into danger just ny coming to work.”

      Not even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in this country.

      “I’m ok with the officer having shot this guy.”

      Bootlicker OK with licking boots. Shocking. 🙂

      • I know it made the top ten most dangerous jobs list I read. Seven or eight of the jobs on that list had one thing in common. Those jobs required spending a great deal of time in a vehicle. Some of the vehicles weren’t automobiles. Being a cop is dangerous because being in a car or on a motorcycle is probably the most dangerous thing most people do on a regular basis.

        • “I know it made the top ten most dangerous jobs list I read”

          Was it on policeone? It is in the top 10 for injuries, not fatalities. One wonders if those injuries include ones self-inflicted, like when they walk in front of a moving vehicle in order to execute someone.

      • Oh, the irony. The man that describes communist soldiers as “freedom fighters” calling somebody else a bootlicker.

        • I am sorry you still have not gotten over the freedom fighters in Vietnam killing all your friends. Maybe they shouldn’t have fought for the bad side. 🙂

        • You feel the need to spam not one but two threads with your lies? Sad.

          Then I will ask for proof of accusation in both threads. 🙂

        • You just provided my proof. Freedom fighters in viet nam. Communist soldiers to the rest of the world. You admire them so much that you can’t even call them by their real names. Communists.

          If you’re not a communist you’re an enabler.

  23. The pig that hurled himself onto the hood of Samantha Ramsey’s car and shot her in the head got off scot-free too. That government lawyers protect government thugs is hardly surprising.

  24. This is one of those situations that doesn’t seem clear cut to me from the story.

    I question the wisdom of stepping in front of a car to stop it.

    however, if the cop had simply let the guy go and he slaughtered a family in a drunk driving accident, everyone would be commenting on how he failed to perform his duties.

    • “everyone would be commenting on how he failed to perform his duties”

      Wrong, nobody says that. Everyone is well aware of how cops have zero obligation to protect anybody but themselves.

    • “everyone would be commenting on how he failed to perform his duties.”

      Nobody says that. We all know cops have zero obligation or duty to protect anyone but themselves.

      The cops let that family in Connecticut burn to death for “officer safety” and everyone just shrugged their shoulders.

  25. Lots of comments already and I only skimmed through them so I apologize if I missed it farther up, but trying to think “spur of the moment” as the cop had to I keep coming back to another point.

    Vehicles have far more deadly destructive potential than guns do. When somebody simply waves a gun in a cops direction we don’t second guess them shooting back. This guy used his car to both evade the cop and to advance at the cops position, even before he stepped into the direct path. Wouldn’t we give the cop at least the same benefit of the doubt when he was being threatened with a far more deadly weapon than he had at his own disposal as we would when both have a gun?

    I’m not 100% sure I agree with my own train of thought here but it should at least be part of the discussion.

    • Depends on what that extensive history is. It could be a few charges but not convictions. Could be a bunch of convictions for really minor stuff.

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