Do Citizens Owe Deference to the Police or Vice Versa?

Atatania Jefferson shooting Fort Worth

Courtesy Fort Worth Police Department

In the wake of the murder of Atatiana Jefferson by a Fort Worth cop, many people have been noting a point that I have tried to make for years: police need to cease viewing the possible presence of a gun as probable cause that a crime has been committed, and that deadly force is automatically justified. Our nation supposedly operates under the principle of presumed innocence; it is time for the police to recognize that.

The belief otherwise appears to be so ingrained in the Fort Worth Police Department that they even edited the killer’s body-worn camera video to add still shots of a handgun in the victim’s home (above), as if to say, See? Gun! He had to shoot her, thus outraging the sane.

And then there is Jim Schutze, of the Dallas Observer.

Morning News Says Cops Should ‘Defer’ to Gun Owners. They’re Totally Nuts.
The Dallas Morning News editorial page took a blindfolded backward step off the diving board Monday in an editorial asserting that police have an “obligation of deference” to armed homeowners in terms of who may shoot first.

But (the) paper says this: “It’s not too early to say that Jefferson did not have an obligation of deference to an unidentified person skulking around her backyard. There was, however, an obligation of deference. In this case, it was (the police officer) who had an obligation to be deferential to Atatiana Jefferson’s rights.”

Schutze asserts that the officer had no such obligation to respect his victim’s rights…or her life. To support this claim, he cites the philosopher Hobbes.

Whoever wrote this editorial must have skipped school in college on the day his or her instructor was explaining “Leviathan,” a seminal work on this topic by the 17th-century English philosopher and scientist, Thomas Hobbes. The topic is violence and who or what has a right to use violence legally.

Hobbes said only the state has a “monopoly of violence.” Since Hobbes, no thinker important to the laws of this nation has questioned his basic premise, though some have pointed to exceptions, mainly in the area of self-defense, which is what Atatiana Jefferson would have been doing if it turns out to be true she pointed her gun out the window and the cop saw it.

I don’t consider Leviathan recommending reading, except in the “know your enemy” sense. Let me summarize the book:

  • Individuals are anarchic and incapable of good.
  • Only a single, powerful, undivided government can force “good” — order — on those individuals.
  • Government must be all-powerful; in force of arms, economics, culture, and even religion (determining in what the people are required to have faith).

Schutze apparently made it to his Philosophy for Totalitarians classes, but he skipped American History and Constitutional Law, as his claim that “no thinker important to the laws of this nation has questioned his basic premise” demonstrates.

Consider, for example, our Constitution. It could well have been drafted by people using Leviathan as a guide of what not to do.

  • Our government was designed to be divided: An executive branch, a judicial branch, a legislative branch further divided into a House and Senate with (originally) differing selection processes meant to hold each other in check.
  • Rather than being all-powerful, the government was assigned specific limited duties, and expressly forbidden to do several things (Bill of Rights; and pay special attention to the Ninth and Tenth amendments).
  • The very first amendment to the Constitution forbade the government messing about with religion, directly contradicting another of Hobbes’ ideas.

The Leviathan of which Schutze is so enamored is exactly what wiser Constitutional Convention attendees were trying to avoid. They wanted a government that would serve free individuals, not own them. A government which would protect individual rights.

That includes the right to presumed innocence. True, they didn’t use the formal phrase in the Constitution. But they certainly included it by detail in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. And that specific right to be armed without being automatically assumed guilty is protected by the Second.

Yes, the police do need to defer to the rights of citizens, lacking any actual probable cause to believe an actual crime has been committed.

Ah, but then Schutze goes on to say…

But the more important thing is that the truth is exactly the opposite of what the paper suggests. It is the citizen gun owner who has an obligation of deference to the police. Always.

No. No one owes deference to police violating the law. No one owed deference to the Georgia police officer many years ago, who made unfounded traffic stops of attractive women to extort sexual favors. Atatiana Jefferson owed no deference to the officer who shot her on sight, without even completing a verbal command.

The only deference police should receive from citizens is reasonable compliance with lawful commands. Times may have changed since I was in military service, but back then we were specifically taught that not only should we not obey unlawful orders, but we could have an obligation to actively prevent unlawful acts by our superiors.

Arresting or shooting an innocent citizen merely because they possessed a firearm is not lawful.

The Supreme Court, in Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895), explained this:

The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law …

Possession of a firearm is not automatically a crime. Because some developmentally challenged politicians had trouble with the concept, we had the Heller and McDonald decisions. They are — slowly — learning.

Now we need to get police departments off the short bus, and to recognize that private citizens want go home safe at the end of their shift, too.

comments

  1. avatar anarchyst says:

    Grand jurors are often followed by police and discreetly told to “give the guy a break”. You see, the “thin blue line” takes care of its own.
    In addition, in many jurisdictions, it is not uncommon for police officers to “stack” the courtroom with uniformed police officers in order to “suggest” that the jury brings a verdict for acquittal.
    This is what I would change in police departments:
    1. Eliminate “qualified” and “absolute” immunity for all government officials, not just police officers.
    2. Require police officers and other public officials to be “bonded” by an insurance company. The municipality could pay the basic “bond” costs, but would be prohibited from paying additional bonding fees. No bond=no job. You can bet that insurance companies and bonding agencies would be more diligent in weeding out the “bad apples”.
    3. Police unions should be abolished. Police officers work for the taxpayers, and as such do not need unions.
    4. Any awards for police mistakes or misconduct should be taken from their pension funds, not from the “general fund”. You can bet that police officers would “police themselves” if their pension funds were threatened.
    5. Police should NEVER be permitted to stack a courtroom or follow and harass grand jurors.
    6. Body and dash cams must be operational at all times. Police officers should never have the ability to turn them off. Any police officer who disables or turns off a dash or body cam should be fired. No excuses.
    7. Police departments should NEVER be allowed to investigate themselves. Outside agencies at the state level should always be used.
    8. A publicly accessible database of former police officers who should NEVER be permitted to hold any police job should be established and regularly updated. Along with bonding, eliminate “gypsy cops”–those who sign on with another department despite having an abusive record.
    More and more we see police officers get away with murder. Their statutory protections free them from prosecution for crimes that would get an ordinary person tried, convicted and incarcerated. It is long overdue to re-establish “equal justice under law” and eliminate ALL police “carve-outs”.
    From the murderer of Daniel Shaver getting rewarded with a pension to Scott Israel not doing his job regarding school shootings and Boston police planting drugs on people they stop, American “law enforcement” has a lot to answer for–none of it good.
    A large part of the “problem” is the training that police officers receive–right out of Israel. This “command and control” philosophy is responsible for much of the abuses by police officers that is occurring with increasing frequency. “We are all Palestinians now”.

    1. avatar MB says:

      @anarchyst. You make some very good points, unfortunately it’s unlikely any ever get implemented. I despise unions and the “police bill of rights”. Last time I checked, the Constitution said we are all equal under the law. Making LEO have different standards of equal is unconstitutional and abuse of power.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      “Grand jurors are often followed by police and discreetly told…”

      You’re full of shit

      1. avatar jwm says:

        He’s a holocaust denier. Of course he’s full of shit.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          ah, good to know. I rarely remember the names of nutcases on here except for the most prolific troll of the day (i.e. Vlad for awhile) I was just wondering how he would have come by his information that police ‘often’ follow grand jurors and intimidate them in the hallways after police shootings- seems like a weird thing to know- but I guess he’s full of all sorts of secret information.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Perhaps like the Dred Pirate Roberts, he’s not merely one person, but rather an idea embodied in a line of successors. The temporary absence of blatherings may be an indication that Vlad is retiring, and the next “Vlad” will soon appear.

        3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

          I would think if a juror was ever “intimidated” by a cop that a single statement about what happened to the presiding judge is all it would take to cause sharp and rather negative consequences for everyone involved.
          Of course if you are in Houston and the cop is someone like Gerald Goines (the guy who’s phony drug-raid killed two innocent people in their own home) then all bets are off.

        4. avatar QuestionEverything says:

          You do know it is possible to have an alternative view of history and not be crazy or full of shit right? Laws that make merely questioning the holocaust illegal make me doubt it. Doesnt make me a Nazi or White Supremacist but to you it does, because you are just as ignorant, dim-witted and as emotion-driven as the anti-gun left you criticize. You cant have a rational debate about it because your emotions kick into full overdrive and you sound no different then some hysteric SJW.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          question. The earth is not flat. Gravity exists. We do not have alien lizard overlords. And the holocaust happened. What does german law have to do with that? much of the holocaust occurred in countries outside Germany. Death camps were not just in Germany.

          I have never, and I mean never, has a conversation with the deniers that didn’t come down to an ‘evil jooz’ conspiracy moment. If you are the first exception to that rule it will be a miracle. I’ve been doing this for better than 50 years.

          I also served at a time when ww2 vets were still on duty. And I knew quite a few in civilian life as well. Many of them could give first hand testimony to the death camps. I will take their word over some deliberate re write of history to erase an atrocity.

        6. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          Why’d you have to go and bring the reptilians into this? Now you’ve gone and done it for sure, this time.
          The streets will run red with the blood of the non-believers.

      2. avatar X marks the spot says:

        No, he isn’t. My ex was a juror on a police involved incident trial and was approached in exactly that way.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          Gee, amazing that you would happen to have that unlikely connection and comment here so quickly! Seems that pretty much everyone must have second hand knowledge of the inner workings of grand juries dealing with police shootings! Actually, I guess there is another possibility…

      3. avatar Jeff In CO says:

        After I saw that statement all credibility was lost, I didn’t even bother reading the rest. DA’s in general go harder on LE when there is intent or knowingly. The problem is that most of those never make the news because it won’t bring viewership. We had several people at my old department charged with things over the years, and their sentences were typically harder than the people we arrested on a daily basis. One involved a steroids drug ring with several deputies that worked in our jail. All of them got sentenced prison (not jail) time (where typical civilians would have received probably on a first time offense), and this NEVER made the news. We have all these articles on TTAG about how mass shootings are a rarity (and it is true). The level of corruption and rights violations in LE is also at an all time low. There are close to 1,000,000 sworn Personnal in the US, and hundreds of millions of LE contacts on an annual basis. Out of these, we have these rare situations that make nationwide news, and then “the people of the gun” treat it like the liberals do with mass shootings and so-called gun violence.

        I understand there are a some corrupt bad apples out there, and it varies by state. I also challenge anyone to provide data that it is on the same level of corruption of any common company (such as WalMart) with something as simple as employee theft. Look up some information on how many people are let go annually for just that alone. I understand that LE is called to a higher standard, but grouping all of LE into a few incidents is no different as to grouping all gun owners and the NRA into the same category as Nikolas Cruz!

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          I’m not saying that it couldn’t EVER happened but the ridiculous statement that this is something that “often” happens was what made me roll my eyes. Not just because it’s absurd but because it’s impossible that some internet poster would know it unless he’s part of so many grand juries on police shootings that he would be able to determine what ‘often’ happens on them. Unless next he claims to be a court security officer or some nonsense.

        2. avatar Paul says:

          Drive truck for a few years. Count up how many times you are pulled over. Tally the number of tickets written. Keep track of how many tickets are bogus revenue generators, vs real tickets written because you violated some law. You might go even further, and keep track of tickets written to enforce genuine safety rules, vs those written to enforce revenue generating laws.

          Your faith in law enforcement will take a nose dive, I’m sure. I’ve driven commercial vehicles in all of the lower 48 states, and all of the Canadian provinces (none of their territories). My respect for law enforcement varies, depending on locality.

          When a 4-wheeler passes you on the right, and a cop pulls you over, and writes the ticket that the 4-wheeler should be getting, you KNOW why. The 4-wheeler is local, and might show up in court. Since you live 1000 miles away, the cop is sure that you won’t be in court to fight the ticket, with or without video evidence.

        3. avatar stop camping says:

          If a 4 wheeler has enough room to pass you in the right lane, you have enough room to be in the right lane.

      4. avatar Michael says:

        Yeah….wrong.

      5. avatar Stuart K says:

        Don’t know about those claims, but the rest of his points seem valid to me.

    3. avatar Truckman says:

      I agree with you on all those things you have said and would like you to know that Scott Israel lost his job and the suspension was just upheld by the Fl.senate but the idiot is going to run again. Also, the law being like it is even though I live in a smaller town and way out of it my yard is fenced and gates are locked before dark and there are no trespassing signs up and house alarm system the cops know not to come into my yard until I have been called because they know they could get shot and Thank God I live in Fl.

      1. avatar JAMES SINGER says:

        The Governor, thru the FDLE, should REVOKE his “law enforcement certification.”

    4. avatar Arc says:

      Don’t waste the time making a list of things that could change for the better. The only thing that will bring about any meaningful change is watering the tree of liberty and that will never happen. Everything else is a waste, its hot air and warrants an apology to the plants for making them work so hard to replace all of the wasted oxygen, ink, and paper. People are on their own for wasted time and effort. I’m sure there is an electricity apology somewhere too.

      I spent the last decade red pilled up and hoping things will change for the better and every year it gets worse. Now, I prefer blue pills, ignorance is bliss, news, politics, and legislation all raise my blood pressure too much.

    5. avatar El Derecho says:

      Houston is a likely place to get killed by corrupt scumbag cops. It has been for years. Good luck getting them prosscuted.

      Idaho May Delaney and that Goines POS come to mind.

  2. avatar Ark says:

    Defer first, sue later. You have to survive long enough to file a suit.

    I’m sure the thought of “I sure showed that cop!” will keep you warm as you’re bleeding out the last few seconds of your life. Righteous indignation doesn’t stop bullets. Exercise basic self control and live to fight in court.

    1. avatar guest says:

      Pretty much. Just bend over and take the violation of your rights. You may get them back in court, if you can afford it, and you can prove it. No one should stand up to a broken system, wouldn’t want it to change.

      1. avatar Mercury says:

        Not to mention that, no matter how egregious the violation, nothing at all happens to the cop if you win. The court just orders the PD to pay you some tax dollars out of their slush fund and the city (or other government body covering the jurisdiction) puts it back in the next time they write a budget.

        I’d rather some police clerk show up after an officer does me wrong, throw a fat stack of cash at me and spit on the ground in front of me. At least that wouldn’t involve a court of law in their farce, thereby saving taxpayers more money than the police were paying out in the first place.

        On the other hand, when the mob screws up and shoots the wrong guy they pay his medical bills on principle and send a guy to walk his dog while he’s in the hospital. How did we get to a place where organized crime is better behaved than law enforcement?

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Not really a question of deference to me. Either can shoot at each other and, depending on circumstance, reach a defendable position. But logic and reason is what saves lives. Example:

      Homeowners have guns.
      If some strange noises or people are walking around in someone’s private backyard uninvited – they could be a security threat to the homeowner protecting their family. Obviously, some homeowners might arm themselves before investigating.

      But when they went investigating, they were shot and killed by a dumb @ss cop who was absolutely incapable of putting themselves in the shoes of the homeowner or just didn’t care. Even a cop themselves would have done the same if they heard a bump in the night.

  3. avatar MB says:

    I am usually on the side of law enforcement in most uses of deadly force, but they lose this one big time. That officer is a pansy-ass and had no business ever carrying a gun and a badge. There never was a threat to him or anyone else. When cops a sent for a “welfare check” and the results are the home owner is lying on a slab in the morgue there is a severe disconnect between self defense and “serve and protect” .

    1. avatar In for a Penny, In for a pound says:

      MB-Hopefully you understand that the most dangerous part of a self-defense shooting is having a cop near by. A person who has never been in a gun fight before could be in shock, suffering auditory exclusions from adrenaline or have blown out ear drums, and the cop will murder the Citizen for not obeying commands. It happened to a Nam vet in Colorado after defending his family from a home invader.

      That is why on the 911 call a smart Citizen will ask for a fire truck or emt to be dispatched to the scene for an emergency and never say for a shots fired call, as that will have adrenaline dumping cops, who don’t have all of the information looking for the chance to use their gun on the first armed person they encounter.

      Then, invoke your Miranda rights and do not speak to anyone but your lawyer as the instant you pulled the trigger a homicide case just opened up and you are the suspect. Cops will lie and try to intimidate you to further their investigation but they can’t do anything when you invoke your Miranda rights.

      1. avatar Mercury says:

        The “Miranda rights” to which you refer are (some of) your 5th Amendment rights. The Miranda Warning is just how arresting officers are required to inform you of them.

        That said, the 5th won’t stop you from being interrogated via a series of lies about them having a witness saying you committed cold blooded murder and they “just want to hear your side of the story” while they stall your lawyer in the lobby, whether or not you tell them you’ve read it. It just means they can’t charge you for a crime for refusing to respond and can’t keep your lawyer away forever.

        1. avatar jparker says:

          If ever involved in a self-defense shooting, consider carefully limiting to a few basic statements on what is said to police. For example: “I’m the victim who called the police for help. That stranger pursued and threatened to kill me with his weapon. I retreated and then defended myself.”

          As any experienced defense attorney will tell you, there is potentially high risk in giving detailed statements to police without legal counsel. If police don’t recall their questions or your statements with 100% accuracy, then it becomes your word against the police during a trial. Who would the jury believe?

          The following video presents some helpful examples on what not to say, and how innocent people were convicted from their detailed statements to police:

  4. avatar Connie says:

    The ignorance is getting heavy in the comment section already.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      you provided zero specifics.

  5. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “Do Citizens Owe Deference to the Police or Vice Versa?”

    This isn’t a trick question, people.

    Who works for who?

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Police work for a municipal city Mayor, not the people. Only Sheriffs and their deputies work for the people.

      1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

        Which is why local PD’s should be writing traffic tickets and otherwise f*cking off… I still have a half dozen family members working local departments in your neck of the woods. Trust me, you want to deal with them even less than I do.

      2. avatar KenW says:

        Who does the Mayor work for?

      3. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

        And that mayor is someone who is more im-potent than mr. taxpayer citizen me?

  6. avatar Baldwin says:

    “To Serve and Protect” is just like the big, juicy photos you see on the overhead price list at your favorite fast food joint. There’s the desirable, enticing picture…and there is the reality. The two are not the same. Never have been, never will be.

    LEO’s are not paid to protect. Serve, yes…protect, no. That’s your job. You protect you and yours.

    1. Spot on. Their job is to enforce the low. No more, no less.

      1. avatar Juventhal says:

        The Rob Lowe?

  7. avatar Omer says:

    While I basically agree with the author, the constitution was written to limit the general, or federal, government not all governments. The individual state governments were free to limit all of those aspects, including religion. The individual state constitutions may limit the state governments, but that used to be a different matter.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “The individual state governments were free to limit all of those aspects, including religion.”

      Really, Omer?

      Then why does the SCOTUS keep having to hear cases involving religion?

      1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        War of northern aggression and some pesky amendment extending federal constitutional limits to the states.

        1. avatar enuf says:

          Yeah, I love how it was Northern Aggression when it was the South that started all the fighting. Very creative history editing!!!

        2. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          @enuf

          You should probably dig a little deeper into y our history if that’s what you believe. Neither side was innocent, but one went out of its way to start a war

        3. avatar Napresto says:

          Matt, was it the side that shelled a federal fort?

        4. avatar Chris Mallory says:

          “Matt, was it the side that shelled a federal fort?”

          No, it was the side that was sailing an armed ship into the sovereign waters of South Carolina to provision a group or armed men squatting on the property of the Confederate States of America. The Yankee troops should have been evacuated from that fort when SC left the union. But the tyrant Lincoln, cursed be his name, could not lose the tax money produced by that harbor.

        5. avatar Someone says:

          Napresto, where exactly was the fort Sumter located? Imagine Mexican army holding a fort in Texas.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      So why a BOR if the states were simply free to ignore it?

    3. avatar Dwight Hansen says:

      That is flat out wrong.

      The bill of Rights is ALWAYS in effect.

      After those the individual states have the power to govern their own affairs.

      Otherwise this would never have to have been stated “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”

    4. avatar Merle 0 says:

      Flat out Incorrect Omar. See: Gideon Vs Wainwright.

  8. avatar Specialist38 says:

    We have a problem.

    The left-wing culture wants to vilify cops as overly agressive and unfair in application of force.

    The same left-wing also does not recognize the right of individuals to protect their own property and life.

    If I were to be a juror, imwould not consider an argument that the officer had the right to shoot (or even be) on someone’s private property without due process and a warrant.

    Amber Guyger killed a man in his apartment and used fear for he life as a defense……nope. a mistake from the cop does not negate the rights of the homeowner (renter).

    In the other instance, the lady was killed by a cop who MAY have been given the wrong instruction to approach the situation (open structure). The same…false information from a third party does not negate the rights of the homeowner. The cop is at fault and that may extend to the department as well.

    These were not cases where someone was pulled over and refuses to obey commands and gets shot. These were people in their own home who were shot due to stupidity, ignorance, and/ or incompetence. The cops were at fault.

    1. Ahhhhh, the vilifying of police is justly deserved nowadays…Most LEOs on the East Coast pretty clearly see citizens as having to many rights. Are wrapped in up in “left-wing ” politics in THEIR townships, cities and states…Most are very aggressive….It is NOT uncommon to here about heavy handed, multiple PD cruisers, and LEOs for a simple traffic stop …Lots of Paramilitarized gyrenes…The U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights be Damned…

  9. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    It seems to me to be a matter of morons training idiots. Especially this shooting INTO buildings. What makes a gun inside a threat to a cop. Get away from the window and use a frigging bull horn. Ask and demand and wait for a response, especially the one WHERE A CAR WAS SITTING IN THE DRIVEWAY!! How did that person get past a psych eval and what was the quality of the evaluator? If a gun barrel isn’t pointed out of a window and rounds aren’t flying there shouldn’t be any shooting into a structure.

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      This situation was a Catch-22 (mostly) of the officer’s own making. The Wel Check could have been done with additional officers provided the responding officers backed the F up and stood by. Once a second unit arrived they could have provided coverage of all corners of the building while the initial responding officer shouted into the door that they were performing a Wel Check. Easy peasy, right?

      Definitely not ideal to announce to potential badguys that the cops are on the doorstep, but the alternative is murdering a woman in her own home whilst shining a light and pointing a gun into her bedroom from the backyard.

      As an aside, this cop was dangerously close to crossing the boundary into a “good shoot” from MY perspective as a homeowner in NC. Light on and shining into a back window of my home in the middle of the night? If I’d have capped a f*cker and he dropped his weapon outside my window I could demonstrate reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm on top of potentially forced unlawful entry.

      Shame Atatiana never got the opportunity

    2. avatar PATRON49IFT says:

      Ding, Ding, Ding; We have a winner. No more entries please.

      Spot on. Police behavior boils down to selection during hiring and their training. Most folks know that during a stressful situation (potential gun use) we mostly default to the basic level of training mastered and practiced. Cops are the same I would think.

      I’m generally supportive of LEO’s and I recognize the scary, uncertain nature of their work. Let’s face it, they mainly deal with the dregs of society and see their fellow citizens at their worst. And occasionally they interact with normal citizens. That does not take away the need for them to be respectful and courteous when interacting with the public. That courtesy goes both ways. Some of the things I see on the news, the way officers are treated, I really am shocked. I wonder who raised these idiots.

      Other comments and suggestions re: bonding of sworn officers have merit as well as taking away the automatic immunity granted to LEO’s in most situations. The “make them pay from their pensions” argument would likely stop and give pause to those municipalities whose hiring process needs re-evaluation and tightening. I don’t see where it serves the public to be on the hook financially for the mis-judgements and abusive behavior of those relative few officers responsible.

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    The case itself doesn’t really call for a big philosophical discussion. The cop screwed up and was unemployed and charged within a couple days.

    Now, we could change things up with a hypothetical. What if she had aimed a gun at him? I think then it depends on where he is. If it’s a no knock warrant where the cops are wearing plainclothes or indistinguishable gear (I can’t believe anyone would be stupid enough to do this but apparently it happened recently) how can you blame a homeowner for brandishing or even shooting in perceived defense? Courts have found for the homeowner in these scenarios, especially when the police somehow manage to knock the wrong door down. On the other hand, you can’t shoot someone for sneaking around your backyard. So aiming a gun at them through a window or something similar would be an entirely different scenario. At that point you cannot have a police force if you tell them they can’t defend themselves against someone aiming a gun at them because it might not be a criminal.

    1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      If you are in the position of creeping around someone’s backyard you might consider that they might point a weapon at you. Plan accordingly and identify yourself instead of shooting them.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        Hannibal has claimed he’s a cop. Take that with a grain of salt. FWIW cop’s ain’t your friend…

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          I claim nothing online, because online claims mean nothing.

        2. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          You’ve said many times, for years, that you’re a cop…. And a Marine… and from California

        3. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          And either live in or work in Orange County

        4. avatar jwm says:

          Matt. You’re getting Hannibel confused with Accur81, who rarely comments here anymore.

        5. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          @jwm

          I think you’re right, my apologies

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        In many jurisdictions if your backyard is not fenced or heavily signed someone is not even committing a crime by being there. If they are, it is a misdemeanor. It’s likely that you are breaking the law if you point a gun out your window at someone who is merely in your backyard and not committing an assault or trying to break into your abode. When you are aiming a gun at someone without good cause you lose many of the legal benefits you would otherwise have in the case of self-defense, because you’re not defending yourself. The police can and probably will legally respond to you aiming a gun at them by shooting you. While best practices is to identify beforehand if possible, if the choice is between letting you shoot first, they don’t have to.

        Again, this has nothing to do with this case. Nor is it the same as when the police actively break down your door. But in general I would say it’s a very bad idea, legally, to point guns at people who are outside your house.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      “At that point you cannot have a police force if you tell them they can’t defend themselves against someone aiming a gun at them because it might not be a criminal.”

      Sure you can. The rights and property of a citizen are more important than the safety of a government employee.
      I would go even further and disarm all cops. Citizens should be armed, not government employees. Cops have proven they are unworthy of the privilege of carrying weapons while employed by the citizens. We have every right to disarm them while they are living off the sweat of our brow.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    Deference? I treat all I meet with respect until they prove themselves unworthy. Does that qualify as deference?

    1. avatar Juventhal says:

      That’s the karma mirror; treat others as you would like to be treated until they start treating you how they should be treated.

  12. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    She never got the chance to defer.

    She got shot before she could identify who was creeping around outside her window and without the cop saying a word.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah this case is a strange one to argue about philosophy because I don’t think anyone is arguing that the cop isn’t at fault. It’s just not really a gray area.

  13. avatar Bill says:

    As a philosopher, his misuse of Hobbesian philosophy makes my blood boil. Not only does Hobbes argue for an absolute sovereignty in which the subjects give up all freedom to the sovereign, it is ABSURD to say that no American thinkers challenged the idea that the government should have a monopoly on force. This dude has never read Leviathan or the Federalist Papers…

  14. avatar Shire-man says:

    I hate philosophers almost as much as artists. Unfortunately, due to my work, I am buried in both.
    It’s like they never learned how to think so they filled their heads with the ideas of others and then stopped developing. As if to say “I don’t need to think or have experiences. Somebody else did that for me.”

    1. avatar EWTHeckman says:

      Philosophy is all about thinking skills. For example, the rules of logic are all philosophy. So is how you know something vs. just believing something (epistemology) which is the foundation of the scientific method. The Declaration of Independence is entirely a philosophical argument (one which rejects Hobbes’ ideas) about the proper role of government and its application to the Colonies’ relationship with King George.

      Unfortunately, as with guns, there are people who misuse the tools of philosophy to try to bend others to their will/preferences. Hobbes was one of them.

      It seems to me that more people actually need to know basic philosophy, aka good critical thinking skills. IMHO, the growing lack of such skills is a large part of why things are heading south in this country. (If you can’t distinguish truth from falsehood, let alone recognize that truth is a thing, you will make destructive choices.)

  15. avatar NORDNEG says:

    Because when it comes to hiring L E O’s , they have too hire on quotas, because of the p c culture in this county, the best person for the job may be the wrong color, sex, or too aggressive etc, so you end up with payroll cops, that want nothing more than to pick up a check & get home… so society gets who the bureaucracy wants. Not what’s best for the citizens.
    Why do you think the big cities are all short of cops? The good smart ones all retire & your left with payroll cops…

    1. avatar Chris Morton says:

      Carolina Obrycka and Officer Tony Abbate are both White. That didn’t stop him from trying to stomp her to death, nor did it stop his friends from trying to intimidate her an her employer and co-workers into not pressing criminal charges against him.

      Police acting like the Japanese in Nanking can’t be blamed on affirmative action.

      It’s the fault of an attitude by police that they are superior to the citizens and unaccountable to them.

  16. avatar burley says:

    Citizens do not owe deference to police, police do owe deference to citizens.

  17. avatar Gman says:

    The police should never shoot first, just like the rest of us.

    1. avatar Merle 0 says:

      You can shoot first, too. Use of deadly force is justified when someone is about to inflict death or bodily harm on you, gun or not. It doesn’t mean you have to wait to “fire until fired upon”. That’s some myth made in Hollywood. For instance the ROE when I was in the war was seeing someone with a gun was never a reason to light them up. But if they lifted the gun/pointed it at you it was game on.

    2. avatar SoCalJack says:

      Unfortunately you cannot make a general statement like that. Has a good/resaonable assesment of the situation been made for the given time? If the situation is, like Merle 0 mentioned, involving grave danger bodily injury of, say a loved one, shoot first and shoot more until the threat is neutralized. If the situation involves people you don’t know and you can escape, you job is to get home to you loved ones without extra holes, call 911 of course. IMO, if an option, concealed carriers should consider training on a shooting simulator. It was an eye-opener for me.

  18. avatar Chris Morton says:

    Most police abuse of citizens is class rather than race based, although race has traditionally factored into denial of recourse.

    Way too many cops consider themselves a class above the citizenry. They wish to, and in all too many cases do enjoy the sort of legal “extraterritoriality” which European colonists enjoyed in China. The classic example is that of Officer Tony Abbate of the Chicago Police Department.

    The 300 lb. Abbate, drunk and belligerent, tried to stomp to death 100lb. waitress Carolina Obrycka because she wouldn’t serve him when he was already highly intoxicated. Obrycka is, in the words of Weird Al, “Whiter than sour cream”.

    Abbate then enlisted his fellow cops to engage in a campaign of threats and harassment against Obrycka, her employer and co-workers in an attempt to coerce her into dropping charges against him. This included attempts to obtain the security video showing the savage beating.

    Abbate was initially allowed to hide out for days in “rehab”, until he was arrested on a misdemeanor, NOT being handcuffed in the process.

    During criminal proceedings, other cops engaged in ostentatious shows of public support for Abbate, harassing reporters covering his court appearances.

    Additionally, based on what I saw online, I believe that Abbate and his co-conspirators engaged in an online campaign of libel against Obrycka. The same claims that she deserved the beating and allegations (sans evidence) that she’s an “illegal alien”, as well as other libelous claims against the victim were made across multiple online comment venues.

    Despite the savagery of the attack, Abbate received no jail time after his criminal conviction.

    The outcome of Obrycka’s civil suit against Abbate and the Chicago PD resulted in a JUDICIAL FINDING that the Chicago Police Department maintains a “BLUE WALL OF SILENCE”.

    If you want to know how the police REALLY feel about you as a citizen, Black or White, male or female, the beating and subsequent tormenting of Carolina Obrycka is all of the evidence you need.

    1. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

      I’m not sure this incident is representative of all LE organizations anymore, but it certainly is true of Chicago. Chicago is what Chicago is. Vote wrong or not often enough and you get no trash pickup. Despite all the torture scandals, suspects are still being taken to the “basement” when there is enough pressure for an arrest.

      My wife has an Illinois carry permit. My carry is LEOSA (ret). She was stopped on Michigan Avenue, showed her FOID and carry permit and was still hassled over the number of guns and hollow point bullets. I show up while all of this is going on, show my credentials, and everything was over from their point of view.

      Why? The difference in permits is my guess. It is not right nor fair, but it is Chicago.

  19. That’s why there needs to be changes to our Law Enforcement community here within the USA.

    1. There is a U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights for all U.S. Citizens. It is the law of the land and rule of law. It WILL BE FOLLOWED…

    2. The sanctity of human life of every lawful u.s. citizen is priority number one!

    3. The creation of full independent civilian review boards Nationwide for all rank-and-file law enforcement officers including senior officer’s and the chain of command…for accountability to the General Public and protection of constitutional rights….

    4. A nationwide, complete BAN on all police unions… no special privileges, political protections, or carve outs for enforcement community. For accountability to the General Public…

    5. A return to proper community policing. With changes to the Rules of Engagement. A return of the police to modern 6 to 7 shot revolvers. For shot to shot accountability to the General Public. With an emphasis on Marksmanship if extreme use of deadly force is required. Under Rules of Engagement of firing when fired upon. Or to save another lawful u.s. citizens life…

    6. The law enforcement community shall not receive any special privileges, political protections, or police carve outs. In violation with the 14th Amendment. To provide transparency and accountability to the General Public.

    7. A nationwide ban in all police academies and police departments. The training and practice of paramilitarization of law enforcement community shall be immediately stopped. No officer shall display a mentality of Paramilitarized police Commando…But proper community policing Behavior….US civilian police are not an occupying military present in a DMZ and Shall act accordingly with its citizens….

    These are just a few things that would be a start to a positive change!

  20. avatar Ed Earl says:

    Let me clear up a myth that seems to permeate this and other boards. A police officer works FOR the executive branch of government to enforce the law. A police officer is paid with tax revenue but he is not an employee of any individual tax payer or even an employee of tax payers in general. There is somewhere between nada an not much of an employer-employee relationship between a taxpayer and a cop. You don’t get to tell them what to do. If you could, it wouldn’t do much good because they are tax payers too and could simply countermand your instructions. Taxpayers actually just elect a cops employers.

    That being said, do you owe deference to the police? Depends on the situation. The safest course of action is to simply comply with all instructions even if it means you go to jail and even if you believe they are wrong and you are right. IOW when it comes to dealing with the police, you might beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride. The more compliant you are the more the cop looks like a jerk. I would much rather be right and alive than right and dead.

    As to the recent shooting in Fort Worth, perhaps the homeowner might be alive today if after retrieving her gun, she shouted in a loud voice, “This is my home. I am armed, I am Dialing 911” instead of (according to her own son) pointing her gun out the window. Every member of my family is trained to use this phrase when they suspect an intruder. (From cover, if possible) Hearing it, most bad guys
    will retreat (if they don’t, you can tell the investigators that they were warned) and most good guys, including cops and unexpected family members, will respond accordingly. Anyone who assumes the responsibility of firearm ownership should probably have a practiced tactical plan for a possible intruder.

    This is a terrible tragedy. There is not a police firearms training program anywhere that teaches officers to hold their fire if the muzzle of a suspect’s gun is tracking in their direction, nor should there be. How about waiting for the investigation to conclude and see how it comes out, before we spend too much time assigning responsibility.

    1. Highly Disagree, Never give up YOUR Rights!
      Nationwide Full Independent CRBs are needed for ALL LEOs…A Nationwide BAN on All police Unions.(Re: guilds, brotherhood’s, fraternities,etc..)

      1. avatar Ed earl says:

        Aaron Walker, CRBs are generally made of of people like yourself, ignorant of the law, police tactics, and procedures. Most of the time all they bring to the table is their bias and expect the world to work the way they fantasize that it should rather than the way it really works.
        Compliance in a dynamic situation doesn’t surrender your rights but it will help you survive long enough to bring yourself to an appropriate venue to assert and defend them. Statistically police shootings aren’t common at all and bad police shootings are extremely rare occurrences. Banning Police unions? That just isn’t gonna happen anymore than this website will ban reactionary cop hating trolls. If you want to change policing, why don’t to sack up fill out an application, pin on a shield and see if you can luck your way through a Police Academy and then be a real force for change rather than griping about something you know very little about. That is if you can survive the street long enough to change it.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          What was there to comply with in Dallas? Guyger went into his house and when he spoke, she shot him.

          In Fort Worth, the cop did not idemtify himself as a cop. He said show me your hands and almost immediately fired.

          If I am in my house, minding my own business and someone starts yelling commands, I am going for cover.

          She can do as she pleases in her house if she isn’t breaking the law and she wasnt. She was playing video games. The fact the cop had an “open structure” call doesnt remove her rights.

        2. avatar Ed Earl says:

          Specialist38, Guyger has been investigated and adjudicated. One case really has nothing to do with the other. The circumstances leading to these shootings are entirely different, conflating these two incidents is bullshit stemming from either ignorance or driven by agenda. According to the 8 year old in the Fort Worth incident she got her gun out of her purse and pointed it towards the window. As I said before, no police training programs anywhere teaches officers to hold their fire if the muzzle of a suspect’s gun is tracking in their direction, nor should there be. You said you would take cover. She could have done that. OR she could have shouted “This is my home. I am armed, I am Dialing 911” Instead she pointed her gun at an armed officer responding to a high-risk call. IF that is what happened, the officer responded the way he was trained to respond to a deadly threat. The first words out of the officers mouth should have been “Police STOP, Don’t Move” but with a gun muzzle tracking his way, he is not required by law to give any warning at all {see Tennessee V Garner and Graham v Conner} and it is certainly understandable that he might not use the proper terms.

          The whole call could have been just bullshit! But based on the information the officer had, it could also be a lot of other things including a burglary of an empty house, the aftermath of a violent domestic situation, a home invasion, or a burglary of an occupied house. PROPER procedure dictates that officers should try to get a look inside in order to evaluate the circumstances before announcing their presence BECAUSE if it was either of the latter two, the risk to the residents can increase significantly when the police arrive. Hind sight is always 20/20 and the initial call was closer to bull shit. But the person who reported the call to the police was sufficiently suspicious that something was wrong to call the police about it. If responding officers had all of the information they now possess about what was going on inside the house at the time they arrived, they probably wouldn’t have gotten out of their cars.

        3. avatar Chris Mallory says:

          ” no police training programs anywhere teaches officers to hold their fire if the muzzle of a suspect’s gun is tracking in their direction, nor should there be. ”

          That is what they should be taught. A citizen has rights, a government employee has privileges. If a government employee is pointing a weapon at a citizen, the citizen should have every right to point a weapon back at the government employee.
          Government employees should be held to the standard of “facts as they are” not “what a reasonable person would do.”
          Better 1000 dead cops than one citizen have his rights or property harmed by a cop.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      Government employees are not tax payers. They are tax parasites. They produce nothing. They simply return to the government some of the stolen loot the government paid out to them.

  21. avatar Merle 0 says:

    Generational problem. People raised to panic at the sight of a gun.

    1. avatar MB says:

      @Merle 0 : Bingo. Someone who pisses their pants at the sight of a gun can’t be expected to ever think rationally.

  22. avatar Ralph says:

    Do Citizens Owe Deference to the Police or Vice Versa?

    Right now, I’d settle for basic, simple respect from the cops.

    1. avatar Chris Morton says:

      I’d settle for the police simply obeying the law. Clearly that’s a bridge too far for a lot of cops.

  23. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Police ARE citizens, don’t forget that. The only legally residing people in the US we don’t need to refer to as citizens are active military.

    This is also a bad thing to even be considering.

    We are equal, nobody at all owes anybody any deference because of what job they ended up in. They need to earn respect from each and every person, that’s it.

    1. avatar stupid is as stupid does says:

      Wrong. An officers job is to ‘protect and serve’ the public, not ‘come home safely every night to their family’.

      People are becoming officers for the WRONG reasons. If you can’t stomach what was stated in the first line you should not be in that profession.

      1. avatar Mmmtacos says:

        I think you replied to the wrong person. In any case, it still isn’t their job to “protect and serve”. The Supreme Court even ruled as much that they have no duty to protect you. Consider the weapons and deterrents that police officers are often equipped with are because they put themselves in hostile situations where people tend to retaliate with deadly force and/or they need to subdue someone uncooperative.

        Either way, their job is to enforce the law. That’s it. They consider someone has broken the law and arrest them and then let the court judge the person ultimately. As someone on a firearms site I would think you’d know that you are the only person responsible for your safety.

  24. avatar GS650G says:

    Possession of a gun makes you a criminal in many areas. Just ask cops.

  25. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Do Citizens Owe Deference to the Police or Vice Versa?”

    Should be mutual, but some think that the “badge” gives them special powers…

    1. avatar In for a Penny, In for a pound says:

      “Should be mutual, but some think that the “badge” gives them special powers”

      No, it should not be mutual. The 2nd Amendment is meant to be like a tie in baseball, where the use of force goes to the Citizen, and not the government employee.

  26. avatar Tony says:

    Too much arguing around the margins. Cops are bureaucrats with guns, and like the rest of the bureaucracy, must be reigned back in and then kept on the shortest possible leash. Some good cops will get screwed in the reckoning and that sucks, but this country is, to be blunt, fucked up, and fixing it is going to be painful for a lot of people.

  27. avatar Ted Unlis says:

    The body count would fill a dump trunk had I panicked and shot ever armed person I encountered during my 30+ LE career who weren’t actually.a threat but might be perceived as a threat by an offIcer overcome by irrational fear or irrational judgement.

    In past decades LEO’s faced a much greater danger of violent death than today. There are several things that have changed from then to now. Even though the rate and frequency of officer involved shootings is the same or perhaps less now than it was in past decades, the instant news cycle makes it seem deadly encounters are inevitable for anyone with a badge and a gun, and that’s just not true. Then and now, the overwhelming majority of LEO’s will never be involved in a use of deadly force incident their entire career.

    While LE training has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 3 or 4 decades, I believe the same advanced FA training that enables a well trained squared away LEO to react and survive an actual deadly encounter, causes that unfortunate small percentage of officers prone to irrational fear and/or those lacking common sense to see booger bears and/or trouble around every corner, which is what seems to have happened in Fort Worth when an officer prowling around unannounced in a privacy fenced backyard at 2:30A instantly fired on a lawfully armed citizen inside her house who was reasonably reacting to what she perceived as an intruder and a threat.

    1. avatar LE not what it used to be says:

      Nail meet hammer.

  28. avatar Chief Censor says:

    Denying the police “qualified immunity” because of their illegal and illogical actions even against a criminal.

    You can’t do illegal things then claim the victim cannot defend themselves nor be armed and ready to defend themselves. This includes people whom have broken the law prior to your breaking of the law as you raid their castle to arrest them.

    Police are criminals too, especially those on special task forces. Should we not punish criminals and to the fullest extent of the law?

  29. avatar Popeye the Sailor Man says:

    It’s a tricky situation. Training cops to hesitate in uncertain situations until they are certain of both the presence of a weapon and the intent of the person holding it beyond specified parameters of reasonable doubt is how you end up with dead cops. It’s my opinion that it’s simply not realistic to apply any set of rules of engagement that will ensure innocent people won’t ever get killed. Such is the unpredicatble nature of violence, and all you can do is continue to learn and weed out the “bad apple” cops when their presence is apparent while doing your best not to tarnish the image of the many, many good cops that faithfully serve and protect. The lesson that might be learned here is that the whole thing could have been avoided had the officer taken cover and announced their presence. Had they approached with an objective mindset of establishing contact with the homeowner first, they might not have jumped to engage a percieved target.
    My own experience is limited to auxillary security force patrols on naval bases. I’m not a cop, nor do I claim my opinions to be professional.

    1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      Better dead cops than citizens harmed in anyway.

    2. avatar Lessor of Two Weevils says:

      If a mistake must be made is it not better and a lesser evil to end up with dead cops (who willingly accepted the risks along with union protection, health benefits and retirement plans) than innocent dead members of the general public who did not enter such covenant and receive no such benefits..

  30. avatar Duane says:

    There is a big difference in small town LEO’s, Rural county LEO’s and big city LEO’s on how they Handle gun calls.

    In the big in a lot of places any body with a firearm is a criminal.

    In the smaller rural areas LEO’s have contract with gun owners on a regular basics.
    In the fall a lot of vehicles have firearms in them as it is hunting season.

    Take state game wardens they contact people all the time with loaded weapons most every day.

    Yet they are not shooting everybody like some here tend to believe.

    The same can be said for rural county deputies.

    The attitude of the political system and the up bringing of the officers have a huge influence on how they react to people carrying firearms.

    Small town and rural officers most likely have been raised around firearms and their use.

    A lot of big city officers my never have held a firearm until they were hired by the department.

    This too to changing by design of the anti firearms and anti hunting types.

    Would have worked very hard at demonizing firearm use not matter what.

    Was it preventable yes.

    Does it happen all the time no.

    Better knowledge is the key.

  31. avatar LE not what it used to be says:

    Good write up.

    It always bothers me that the our armed forces have stricter rules of engagement with enemy combatants in war zones than our police have with US citizens.

    Cops are there to protect and serve. An integral part of that job is putting your life on the line, with the understanding there is no guarantee you will come home safely to your family every night. If you cannot live with that you should be in a different profession.

    This is the way it used to be, now it is the exception not the rule. This mentality has definitely effected for the worse how the public views police officers. A large majority of officers now view the job as just another way to get a decent paycheck and the ability to retire at an early age. They are in it for the wrong reasons and that can be seen in the many examples every year of egregious police work such as this. It will only continue to worsen as what is left of the good older officers leave and are back filled by what is described here.

  32. Kuntala Harris once said, “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon,”

    Surely local law enforcement would never abuse their discretion. Black men all across the United States can attest to that.

    1. avatar Ted Unlis says:

      Kuntala? No need to resort to obscenities when sharing an opinion about Senator Kameltoe Harris.

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        You mean Kamala “Forged confessions are cool!” Harris?

        If she gets the nomination, she ought to pick Jon Burge as her running mate.

  33. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The government at all levels needs to give deference to civilian gun ownership. That is the problem of what happened after the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans. The government did not believe that civilians at the time of a natural disaster deserved any deference regarding Firearms ownership. Whether they were displayed in public or not.

    The Louisiana female governor, the mayor of New Orleans, and the city police chief of New Orleans, all three are responsible for the loss of Second Amendment civil rights at the time of this natural disaster.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      btw
      The President of the United States also failed to stand up for second amendment civil rights as that time as well.

      1. avatar Chief Censor says:

        And the NRA?

  34. avatar Will Drider says:

    We ofter see Real World video of police encounters with armed suspects in open area “standoffs”. Time permitting, Warning and Commands are shouted and time for compliance is given providing the suspects weapon does not point at or close distance to officers or others. THEY ARE NOT SHOT DOWN ON THE SPOT IN THE FIRST SECONDS OF THE ENCOUNTER. The shooting of lawful citizens that are NOT A DIRECT THREAT to LE even if the citizen it physical armed or there is a weapon in their proximity. Citizens may be lawfully armed andif needed use justified lethal force until LE takes control and citizens stand down.

    Allow LE deference in proven criminal encounter: YES. Not when lawful citizens are acting within their Rights, engaged in lawful conduct AND NOT DIRECTLY THREATENING LE! The mere presents of a firearm (in hand or not) without a related Threat is not and never has been a JUSTIFICATION for LE use of lethal force.

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