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In Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, the hormone-crazed singer’s girlfriend won’t let him score a home run until and unless he promises to love her forever. His initial response: “Let me sleep on it. Baby baby let me sleep on it. Let me sleep on it, I’ll give you my answer in the morning.” When it comes to providing your version of events to the police after a defensive gun use (DGU), same answer. Do NOT submit to a police interview until at least 24 hours later. Say “My life was in danger.” Then STFU, contact your lawyer and put some time between the incident and your official statement or interview. How important is this? Let’s check in with our friends at the Chicago Police Department via an email blast from the Force Science Institute . . .

Late last year the IPRA ( Independent Police Review Authority) asserted that under the city’s contract with the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) it had the right to compel an involved officer to give an official recorded interview within 2 hours of a shooting, regardless of the officer’s level of stress or sleep deprivation. FOP president Mike Shields characterized this as a “uniquely incorrect position” and pushed the matter to arbitration.

Recently arbitrator Peter Feuille ruled that unless an officer wants to talk sooner the IPRA must wait at least 24 hours after a shooting before its investigators can conduct a detailed interview and that the questioning can occur only between 0600 and 1800. If a shooting occurred at 7 pm, for example, at least 35 hours would then elapse before the interview is required .

FOP attorney Paul Geiger told Force Science News: “This gives the officer a chance to rest through 1 sleep cycle, collect himself, and consult with an attorney during reasonable hours in order to give an accurate account of what happened.

“We are not against an officer talking to the IPRA under Garrity protection. We just want him to be able to give an informed, thoughtful statement. Given how hectic and emotional a shooting situation is, we think the rest period is important.”

Fair’s fair, right? If the cop’s union rep can secure a 24-hour recuperation period for his fraternal brothers and sisters after an Officer Involved Shooting (OIS), your lawyer should do everything in their power to get the same “courtesy” for you, should you experience a You Involved Shooting.

Which raises another key, related point: after a DGU, the police are not your friend. Even outside of the political hellhole of Chicago, where the police keep the right to bear arms to themselves, the cops are a world unto themselves. Even though you pay for it, it’s not your world.

As far as the legal system is concerned, the cops are the good guys. Always. You? You’re a suspect in a shooting. Check out the ‘tude inherent in the end of the Force Science blast:

Chicago is on track to nearly double the number of OISs in 2011 if the current rate continues. As of July 21 police have shot 40 suspects this year, nearly as many as in all of 2010. This is a mid-year high compared to the last 4 years. Aggravated assaults and batteries of officers by the end of June had already exceeded the year’s total for 2000.

One OIS survivor, Ofcr. Danny O’Toole, who experienced 2 shootings in 2 weeks, told the Chicago Sun-Times: “The younger generation is brazen. They just don’t care.” FOP spokesman Pat Camden agreed. “There’s no fear of the police,” he said.

The newspaper noted: “No Chicago police officers have been charged with criminal wrongdoing involving shootings in recent memory.”

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  1. “FOP spokesman Pat Camden agreed. “There’s no fear of the police,” he said.”
    Wait, does this mean the official FOP position is that ‘civilians’ should fear the police? So much for Peel’s principals…

  2. Robert, “the police are not your friend,” is more paranoid and persecuted nonsense. When will ever stop with this?

    If a DGU is clean and legit, making an immediate statement is best, maybe after an hour or so, after a cup of coffee and a good calm-down. The events are fresh in your mind and haven’t had the chance to be jumbled up and re-hashed over and over again while tossing on your bed. No wishful thinking or regrets will have had a chance to insinuate themselves into the recollection of facts.

    What you’re talking about is the less than clean and legit DGU, or the criminal acts all dressed up as DGUs. Your whole STFU advice to gun owners is more an indication of what you really think of them than anything else. It’s practically an admission that I’m right in suggesting that many, perhaps most, so-called DGUs are nothing of the kind. Otherwise you’d suggest total honesty and transparency.

    You’re wrong about the cops not being your friends after a shooting. Cops hate criminals as much as you guys do. A dead bad guy on the floor does not make your average cop turn on you, unless of course, you shot him unnecessarily.

    • I would hope that none of my friends want me to fear them. Fear is not a very friendly thing.

    • Mike – There was a case in Tulsa a couple of years ago. Kenneth Gumm shot Dale Turney in self-defense. Turney was drunk, high on meth, and threatened to kill Gumm in front of several witnesses. All of that information disappeared from the detective’s affidavit at trial, even though it was present in the original police report and the original autopsy. Gumm was forced to plea guilty or go bankrupt defending himself. According to NewsOK, the lead detective altered his affidavit under pressure from the mayor, Kathy Taylor, and the D.A., Tim Harris, both of whom are staunch gun control advocates. I don’t believe the police were Mr. Gumm’s friend in this case, or particularly interested in justice. The witnesses at the scene were convinced that Mr. Gumm would have been killed by Mr. Turney if he had not shot him. Mr. Gumm also warned Mr. Turney several times that he was armed before he fired. This case would make me very distrustful of police motives after a defensive shooting.

      • And if only there weren’t hundreds of more incidents like that. Hell, just peruse through this blog’s backlogs.

    • Sorry, Mike. You’re way off base on this one (even more than usual, that is). The correct response in ANY situation where you may be charged with a crime is “I want to speak to my attorney” and STFU, and especially if you are innocent. Police and district attorneys have both been known to take something said under stress way out of context, thus necessitating hours of expensive legal counsel and representation.

    • “Robert, “the police are not your friend,” is more paranoid and persecuted nonsense. When will ever stop with this?”

      Mike, I honestly wish the world worked the way you think it does, but it just doesn’t. My father was a detective for 26 years, and I had occasion to speak to dozens of his fellow detectives during my teenage years. Every one of them… every single one… had stories they were proud of that involved maneuvering someone into saying something against their interest.

      Their goal wasn’t truth, their goal wasn’t justice, their goal was clearing the case. If they got the right guy that was icing on the cake, if not it was no biggie.

      “It’s practically an admission that I’m right in suggesting that many, perhaps most, so-called DGUs are nothing of the kind. ”

      It admits nothing of the sort and you have absolutely -zero- evidence, from anywhere, that DGUs are just successfully covered up crimes. Talk about paranoid! At least we can point to actual experiences to justify our distrust of the criminal justice system, you think your fellow citizens are a bunch of murderers-in-waiting based on nothing but your imagination.

      “Otherwise you’d suggest total honesty and transparency.”

      Find me one criminal defense attorney anywhere in the country… no, anywhere in the world, who says that an immediate statement full of honesty and transparency is the best way to answer when the police come calling. I won’t hold my breath while you look.

    • You think the police are your friends, Mike? The police are allowed – even encouraged to lie to people they interrogate, and that’s fine. But if YOU lie to THEM, that’s ILLEGAL and can get you charged, fined, and/or imprisoned.

      I do not like the police. I do fear them. I also follow the axiom, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

      • 2 well known cases of people convicted of lying or giving false statements to police or investigators are Casey Anthony and Martha Stewart.

      • Actually I don’t think that, Rebecca. I frequently write about police shootings and never give them the benefit of the doubt. I hear what everybody’s saying about this, and I can’t really disagree. It’s just that Robert’s STFU advice always sounds to me like advising people how to get away with murder, which is exactly what some of the DGUs are.

        • “It’s just that Robert’s STFU advice always sounds to me like advising people how to get away with murder, which is exactly what some of the DGUs are.”

          What do you base that on? Do you have any proof? Do you have any data? Do you have anything beyond simply asserting it?

          And what do you think it says about you that you can read someone giving advice that you agree with but nonetheless ascribe sinister motives to it?

    • I think this cop and lawyer would disagree with you. The gist of the video being “Don’t talk to Police”

      Edit: Looks like someone beat me to posting this

    • Making an immediate statement may beneficial, but your assertion that it is ‘best’ is unsupported.

      Regardless, they key point is that what is said in any statment to the police is critical, and should be done with as much care and caution as possible.

      If you say anything it is a darn good idea to keep as simple and as factual as brevity permits. “I was in danger.” “I had no choice.” “I had to stop him.” And last, but certainly not least “I will be happy to answer your questions as soon as I have spoken to my lawyer.”

      Your aspersions about what the OP thinks are nothing more than insult and innuendo. Every person, right or wrong, is entitled to look after themself to the full extent of the law, that includes delaying or a denying police interview. You notions of ‘total honesty’ and ‘transparency’ are childish and unrealistic.

      Assuming your assertion that ‘all cops hate criminal’ is even remotely true 100% of the time, it is also equally true that all cops are 100% human 100% of the time and therefore prone to errors of judgement. How would you, Mr, DGU when faced with a cop who has wrongly concluded that you have just committed murder ever overcome his ‘hatred; of you by being ‘totally honest’ and ‘transparent?’ Well, given his ‘hatred of criminals’ you can’t, can you? At that point pretty much anything you say is not going to get a remotely fair or unbiased hearing – because at that point he not there to help you. At that point you are there to help him build his case against you!

      Good luck with that.

  3. “One OIS survivor, Ofcr. Danny O’Toole, who experienced 2 shootings in 2 weeks”

    My uncle was a cop in Harlem during the 70’s and 80’s and never once fired his weapon. Makes you wonder if maybe officer O’Toole is the problem.

  4. MikeB’s comments are wrong–an affliction he all too often exhibits.

    Under extreme stress, such as with a life-threatening encounter, your body goes into “body alarm reaction” (BAR). With BAR, the body does a tremendous chemical dump into your system — mostly adrenaline — which can have dramatic physical and physiological effects.

    Common systems include:
    -reduced cognitive ability – your ability to reason, think and act is reduced
    -tunnel vision – you may not see anything other than the attacker or his weapon
    -auditory exclusion – you may not hear anything other than your attacker or nothing at all
    -increased respiratory function- increased heart rate, breathing, pulse
    -decreased dexterity in minor muscle groups –fingers turn to “flippers”
    -inability to determine the correct timeline of the event–time may be perceived to slow down
    -inability to determine distance – you may think you were 3 feet from the attacker but you were actually 8 feet
    -memory is greatly reduced

    As with everything, your mileage may vary. Some people may have more severity than other, some may have some symptoms and not others.

    At a time do that can’t think properly, can’t see straight, can’t hear right, can’t count your shots, don’t know your distance and am not sure of the time, do you think that it’s a good idea to be giving a statement to the police? What will most likely happen is that you will give a statement that you THINK is true, but turns out to be a lie. If you state that the person attacked you from 3 feet and you fired 2 rounds and there was nobody standing next to the perp, and it turns out you shot 6 rounds from 10 feet and the video shows 2 people standing next to the perp, what do you think the jury is going to conclude? Regardless of what you THINK was the truth at the time, you will be a liar in the eyes of the jury. If you lied to the police, everything you say will proabably be considered a lie. A liar is easy to convict.

    Allowing 24 hours before giving a statement allows time for the chemical effects in your body to subside, your memory to return and to confer with council.

    You should tell the responding officer “that person attacked me and I was forced to defend myself. I will sign a complaint. [point out witness and evidence if you can] and give you a statement after I speak with my attorney.” Then STFU!!!!!!

    The problem is that it is hard not to talk as good people want to explain bad actions. To counter that, when I am training on the range I practice saying “That person attacked me and I was forced to defend myself. I will sign a complaint.” After each string to ingrain that into my brain along with my shooting skills.

    There is one thing and only one thing every said on television that you can believe: “everything you say and do can be used against you in a court of law.” The responding police officer does not determine guilt or innocence. Nothing you say can help you. Everything you say can hurt you.

    This is worth repeating: Nothing you say can help you. Everything you say can hurt you. Not talking can be perceived by a jury as “not cooperating” and may be viewed negatively as a juror may think that an innocent person will have nothing to hide. A prosecutor, to get another notch on his belt at your expense, may even push that point, the truth be damned. You will have to counter that perception with an expert witness to educate the jury on the effects of BAR and inform them that in many cases police officers are barred from making statements up to 48 hours after an event for the exact same reasons.

    Once you state that you will give a statement after your speak to your attorney, a police officer SHOULD stop all questioning. Unfortunately, some won’t and will try to get you to talk. Repeat that you will give a statement after talking to your attorney and STFU.

    The police are not there as your friend. They are there to collect “facts.” An unscrupulous officer, more concerned with getting home quickly than with your rights, may try to trick you into talking. Might even befriend you with statements like “I would have done the same myself.” Most officers are good and honest, but like all people, some are not. Don’t let anyone fool you into talking.

  5. Everyone switch to decaf. Step back for one moment.

    Police officers are neither inherently bad or good. They should not be feared, but should be respected. In Canton, OH, they should be fired and face criminal charges.

    I served with these guys from multiple agencies and levels of law enforcement. Some were your next door neighbors and some were jerks. My favorite platoon sergeant was an internal affairs officer for a large municipal force. He would be the first to tell you that some cops are dirty and he was responsible for their prosecution. It happens.

    But the reality for ALL defensive gun incidents really depends on the situation. I don’t respect any officer who will not respect a victim’s response of “let me speak with my lawyer first.” It is not that you have to dare them to arrest you. It is simply one human being extending a courtesy to another human being. If you shoot a hooded perp whom the police instantly recognize, the officers should help you stir your coffee and help you. If you shoot your brother-in-law who was a partner in the family business that just declared bankruptcy, then they should be advising you of your rights before asking you any further questions.

    We don’t need in our society a general policy of fearing LEOs. We do need a policy of mutual respect and humane treatment. Cops do not have more rights than other citizens.

    • The reality of all DGU situations is this: you will be approached by a police officer whom you will most likely not know well enough to know if he is part of the majority (good cop) or part of the minority (dirty, power-tripping, or just plain lazy cop). As you have no idea which camp he resides in, you must err on the side of caution, ask to speak with your attorney, and STFU. Doing so will not hurt your relationship with the good cop, and will definitely help you avoid running afoul of the law if the officer confronting you is, well, not good. Fear? Hardly. Keeping myself free and able to provide for my family in the face of an overzealous LEO/DA? Definitely.

      “We trust, but we verify.” – Ronald Reagan

    • “Police officers are neither inherently bad or good. They should not be feared, but should be respected.”

      When police start (on average) acting respectable and respecting us (their employers), then I’ll respect them.

      “We do need a policy of mutual respect and humane treatment.”

      Again, see above. The police don’t respect the citizens of this country and they think that we exist to serve them. As long as they maintain that view, there can be no mutual respect.

      “Cops do not have more rights than other citizens.”

      They’re not supposed to, but unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Police are always assumed to be right unless you can provide overwhelming proof otherwise. It’s legal for the police to assault you, but illegal for you to fight back. It’s legal for cops to film you and use that as evidence against you, but illegal for you to film police and use it as evidence against them. I’m sure there are plenty of other superior rights they get that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

      I think the real issue though is lax standards in who is allowed to become a police officer. While it’s not needed for the job, in order to help weed out the crooked ones, I think they need to start requiring a college degree as well as extremely in depth background checks (including behavior during high school and college). Too many cops these days were bullies when they were younger and now they are bullies defended by the state and provided with guns and freedom to kill.

      For the former police officers, I’m sorry, but it was the police who decided to become the enemy of the average law abiding citizen – we certainly didn’t ask for this.

  6. Rabbi nails it again.

    The problem with MikeB’s suggestion is that it’s totally ignorant of the physiological realities of the aftermath of a deadly force encounter.One of the primary reasons you wait 24 hours is because you will be totally and absolutely screwed up emotionally, psychologically and physically.

    MikeB would do well to google terms like “auditory exclusion” and “tunnel vision.”

    The man I took my instructor’s class from tells a story about having to shoot an AK-47 wielding Viet Cong. The encounter took place around a corner, at about two feet. He saw the enemy soldier one second, and the next second, he saw the soldier laying on the ground, dead, and noticed that his own Browning Hi-Power was empty and locked open.

    He shot that guy 13 times from about two feet. He didn’t hear any of his own shots, he didn’t remember pulling the trigger. That’s adrenaline and stress hormones.

    Wait 24 hours, and bring your lawyer.

    • I would definitely agree, going into an interview after just having a life or death experience is not a good idea. If anyone has ever had or witnessed a very bad car accident, where you at your best trying to give the trooper your version of events? Many people, myself included, have not even yet realized they were injured. Any veteran’s out there know the feeling when you start looking yourself and your buddies over for bullet wounds afterwards? You are not in the right frame of mind just after a major event. Hell, I’m probably never in the right frame of mind…

  7. Mikey loves American cops so much that he moved to Italy to be closer to them. Case closed. Mikey’s mouth? Not so much.

  8. There have been thousands of well-documented cases of police extracting phony confessions and fabricating evidence. Thousands. So many that they are uncountable.

    Respecting the police, not being afraid of the police and all that stuff are nice concepts, but they don’t work in the courtroom. Holding to those concepts is insane when you are a potential defendant in a homocide case.

    In DGU, until you are fully, finally and completely cleared you have ONE friend, and that’s your lawyer. If you conduct yourself otherwise, be prepared to see your family on alternate weekends until you’re released from prison.

  9. There’s biological reasons why people should not be interviewed immediately after an incident that is traumatic in any way, emotionally or physically. If I could lawfully show you some of the reports on shootings, drownings, or motor vehicle accidents, you would see how scatter brained TRAINED responders are after these high stress, quickly unfolding events. I have been doing my job as a paramedic/firefighter for close to a decade and I still get into a zone on certain calls that I just react without consciously thinking about it. I’ve looked up from a patient and performed 3 minutes of interventions without realizing it. When you have to write all this down afterwards it takes a while to get everything out of your head and into the report. We also have mandatory down time after certain stress inducing calls. It’s for a reason, we need to collect ourselves, refocus and let our biological responses to subside.

    • This is exactly right. We were taught to never write a report right away after an incident. You need some time to sort things out after you get control of your emotions. Adrenaline, fear etc… can do some serious damage to your ability to be rational. This was both the Fire Dept and the Sheriff’s Office I was with in MT.

      Same thing would apply to a normal person who ends up in a serious incident.

  10. Maybe we should create a fill in the blanks report form for every conceivable event…with a little map like on the incident forms for accidents, I shot him here as he tried to stab me there and then he fell here while I stepped behind this…

  11. Add to the mix that the local DA WILL use your 911 call as evidence against you and you begin to understand that you give the minimum information and then get a lawyer.

  12. Mikeb: Just can’t stop with your assinine illogic, can you? Have you ever traded shots with an antagonist? Didn’t think so. I have; didn’t like it, but would do it again if necessary (God hope it’s not). I can tell you from personal experience, as a civilian, as retired military, and as a former law enforcement officer, that THE COPS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND IN THESE SITUATIONS. They may not be your enemy, either, but that point is moot. Their job is to collect evidence for use in determining whether or not a crime took place, and as Miranda clearly states, ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW. Your Freedom, and your future, depend upon what information you relay, and one would be an absolute IDIOT to discuss any facet of the most traumatic incidient in your life without due diligence AND THE BEST LAWYER YOU CAN AFFORD, PERIOD. Crawl back in your shell, and shut your piehole when you have no clue as to what you are talking about.

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