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Old March 23, 2009, 07:50 AM   #101
gretske
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I would also guess that most 911 centers are not notified in advance of any midnight calls that are scheduled. So even if you called, they probably would not know about a warrant being served, and if they knew, probably are not going to tell you.
Remember, this was a dispatch based on a call to 911, not a warrant being served, so the 911 dispatch center would have known.
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That said, just cooperate on scene and save the beefing for later.
You are missing the point. The citizen did not know whether the people on the other side of the door were really LEOs or not. What if it was bad guys pretending to be cops? Cooperate, as you suggest, and you could be dead. It's not a uniformed cop approaching you on a street corner, it is a disembodied voice on the other side of a closed door at 3 AM. (Land Shark? Candygram?)


I would have never opened the door until I was sure they were LEOs. And, opening the door to see their ID is NOT an option in a case like this; if they are bad guys, they will just push the door open, and I am a dead nice guy. I would probably have called 911 to verify that they were cops before opening the door, if I could not get a visual ID for myself. I would NEVER, EVER in a million years, open the door until I was sure beyond any doubt that the voices on the other side were LEO. I don't think there is anything the voice on the other side of the door could say that would convince me.

While I agree that the citizen did not act in a completely appropriate manner according to the report, you have to admit that having your door pounded on at 3 AM is an extraordinary, and frightening, experience. The LEOs have a much higher standard than a citizen in a case like this. Citizens do not have a responsibility to be "nice" when rousted at 3 AM, but LEOs have a legal obligation to be certain before taking serious action.

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There is no set procedure for citizens dealing with the Police.
Sure there is. It is called the Constitution and it sets out exactly what rights citizens have regarding law enforcement.

I predict a big lawsuit!
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:00 AM   #102
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There is no set procedure for citizens dealing with the Police.

Sure there is. It is called the Constitution and it sets out exactly what rights citizens have regarding law enforcement.
You are confusing the Macro with the Micro.

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I predict a big lawsuit!
I don't disagree.
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Old March 23, 2009, 08:30 AM   #103
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That said, just cooperate on scene and save the beefing for later
I agree 100% however, I don't think this guy had a chance to cooperate,

Just like gretske said:

Quote:
I would have never opened the door until I was sure they were LEOs. And, opening the door to see their ID is NOT an option in a case like this; if they are bad guys, they will just push the door open, and I am a dead nice guy. I would probably have called 911 to verify that they were cops before opening the door, if I could not get a visual ID for myself. I would NEVER, EVER in a million years, open the door until I was sure beyond any doubt that the voices on the other side were LEO. I don't think there is anything the voice on the other side of the door could say that would convince me.
I don't think anyone with an ounce of common sense would argue with that logic. Also, this was a factor:


Quote:
Quote:
The thing is if the cops were at the wrong address, chances are the 911 center might not realize where they actually are

In this csae that would have been correct, the 911 call came from a different number, had he called to see if, or why the PD was outside, she ( the 911 operator ) would not have had a clue what the guy was talking about.

I suspect she did not have a clue anyways. She is on suspension for this little incident.
Yesterday 07:27 PM
And, I think this :

Quote:
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Why would you ask uniformed Police Officers who are investigating a crime to step back? That would be highly suspicious and the first step on the road to being an offender for acting like an offender.


Wagonman I am going to interject a small bit of speculation just based on the facts as they have been reported, my knowledge of the neighborhood, and the limited knowledge I have of LE procedures. Bear with me but;

When you guys walk up to a door in a poorly lit area (these apartments entrances are mostly quite dark) and it appears that there were at least 3 officers, would you not possibly be shining your maglights, streamlights, etc. at the door to be certain you saw even the most slight details? I think I would.

I will assume that at least one of the officers would/could have done so.
I think it Might be possible that one of the cars might have had alley/spot lights pointed at the area, but judging from the small clip of video I did not see strobes or beacons in operation. and most LE and fire/rescue in our area, don't use sirens at 0300 unless absolutely necessary. with this in mind, I will also speculate that if I open that door in a dark room and look out, all I will see will be figures with lights pointed at me and little else.

Next, I am gonna speculate on "state of mind". This young man, a former MP, was just back from the sandbox, I can only imagine that his "spidey sense" is just as acute if not moreso, as any street copper, and certainly more than the average Joe. I will admit that I have no idea what procedures the active duty MP's use, but I will speculate that possibly when encountered by such a scenario his first command might be "Step Back" so that he can evaluate the possible threat before taking further action. ( mind you from a dead sleep only seconds before) I do not think any of this is beyond the realm of possibility, and likely was the way it played out. He wanted to ascertain who was in his yard, and why they were there before securing his pistol from "low ready".

Is this really that hard to imagine that almost anyone might do the same? And would that be unreasonable? I somehow do not think so. And once he secured the weapon, or disarmed completely, could this not have been sorted out by a bit of level headed conversation rather than charge a man for assault with a weapon for merely securing his own perimeter.



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I have always stipulated that there is enough blame to go around on this PARTICULAR incident

That may be true, and I will not totally disagree at this point in the game, but I am leaning toward the opinion that this MP might not have acted as irrationally or hell, even at all, had this been handled a bit more professionally. And his actions look less like those of an "offender" and more like an MP.
I think this mans training had a lot to do with the way he approached this situation. I am pretty sure these guys do not simply react the way an average Joe would. I will also posit that your training might lead you to react similarly if you were confronted with a similar scenario at, say a hotel room outside of your jurisdiction?
I just think this homeovner was acting under his own set of exigent circumstances, and once he saw they were LEO he disarmed himself, was he ****** off? probably, but you or I likely would be too, still not a good reason not to pass GO, and I'll bet he collects his $200.00 and then some.
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Old March 23, 2009, 11:13 AM   #104
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That said, just cooperate on scene and save the beefing for later. Because,I guarantee you will lose on scene and the more vehemently you protest and complain on scene the less credible and successful your complaint will be later.
Chances are you will never get much success in the complaint department either. Police departments are notorious for clearing their officers even when it is quite clear they should be disciplined.

Best bet is to avoid the problem altogether if you can.

DON"T OPEN THE DOOR WITH A GUN IN YOUR HAND, police or not.

If you need the gun, you need to not open the door.
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Old March 23, 2009, 01:26 PM   #105
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Chances are you will never get much success in the complaint department either. Police departments are notorious for clearing their officers even when it is quite clear they should be disciplined.
While I am sure there are departments that practice "CYA" here and there, in this particular case one officer and the 911 operator have been suspended. It would appear that the department is beginning to "clean house" to avoid these mistakes, whether the other officers will face the same is yet to be decided.

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DON"T OPEN THE DOOR WITH A GUN IN YOUR HAND, police or not.
I do not find that to be tactically sound advice, maybe "Don't open the door with a gun visibly in your hand"


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If you need the gun, you need to not open the door.
While this may be mostly true, in this particular set of circumstances I believe this mans training had a lot to do with his approach.

MP just home from the sandbox, and unlike wars past where Grandpa, and Uncle Jim had a little down time and a nice long boat ride to get a chance to "De-Mil" These guys are in a war zone one day and home the next. Some training is kinda hard to just turn off, IMHO. But that is another discussion.

A wise man once told me to look at circumstances as a whole and I see some glitches that contributed to this incident.
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Old March 23, 2009, 03:34 PM   #106
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With both Dispatcher and LEO on suspension one would think that LE department is not covering up anything. Clearly dispatcher screwed up and sounds as though(with current facts) so did officer. So did Chilton by opening door with gun in hand not knowing(as he stated) whether real cops stood on the other side or not. Again, after conversation between LEO`s and Chilton through door, if Chilton was suspicious, one call to 911 stating "this is Mr. Chilton @ such and such address, why do you have LEO at my door"? Dispatchers have records of all previously made calls to them as well as addresses. Wouldn`t have taken dispatcher long to figure out that he/she screwed up,called/radio`ed LEO telling them they were at the wrong address and re-dispatched. Instead cops think they`re at right address sent there for a disturbance, not the friendliest conversation through door and when Chilton finally opens door he`s got a gun. Not smart. Cops still thinking they`re at right address immediately go to survival mode. Can`t blame em. IMO, I can`t blame the two officers for anything they did up to the point it was figured out they were at the wrong address. Their re-action to Chiltons actions up to that point are understandable. The treatment including arrest AFTER finding out LE screw up I believe will cost the city dearly. Dispatchers screw up is evident, Chiltons screw up was opening door till 911 call made and LEO`S screw up is arresting them after finding out that dispatcher screwed up. WOW - that was one screwed up and costly night
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Old March 23, 2009, 05:32 PM   #107
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DON"T OPEN THE DOOR WITH A GUN IN YOUR HAND, police or not.

I do not find that to be tactically sound advice, maybe "Don't open the door with a gun visibly in your hand.
A holstered weapon is maybe OK. But you hands need to be visibly empty, or the cops will get really hinky.

I just don't see opening the door makes any sense at all if you think you need a gun in hand to do so.
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Old March 23, 2009, 05:35 PM   #108
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While I am sure there are departments that practice "CYA" here and there, in this particular case one officer and the 911 operator have been suspended. It would appear that the department is beginning to "clean house" to avoid these mistakes, whether the other officers will face the same is yet to be decided.
My guess is the video is what made the difference. Its fairly conclusive.

I am a major cynic perhaps, but there seem to be very few if any government agencies that investigate complaints against their employees in an open and reasonable way to the complainer. LE or not.

Incidentally, the criminal charges have not been dropped yet.
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Old March 23, 2009, 10:34 PM   #109
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Just business

This is a very interesting thread. Some thoughts -

Wagonman

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Remember, its nothing personal for the average Cop, just business.
I believe you. And you have a really tough job, especially in ANY apprehension situation. It is a tough business and Le's deserve our thanks and respect. You have mine.

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I have bent over backwards for "badguys" after the fact and followed the law to the letter for "citizens" after the fact.

Why, because the BG acted like a gentleman and the "citizen" was a huge PITA.
I see that you are also human just like us and that it is not always, "just business". It is also not "business" at all for us civilians, ever, should we be awakened in the middle of the night by pounding on our doors and we know NOTHING of what is going on.

Obvious, to me, those on both sides of the door are tense and even fearful. To say that the police should not be met with threats when they knock on someone's door is, for me, true. It is also true that it is ridiculous to think that someone on the other side who maybe can't identify who you are should just comply with "police orders".

This incident was a mistake. Mistakes shouldn't, but do happen - to and by all of us. During the incident the police did not yet know that a mistake had happened but those on the inside KNEW that something was very mistaken.

So explain, someone, please, why the police and the DA would continue to act badly about this. It makes no sense to this citizen. Is this "just business"?
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Old March 24, 2009, 12:05 AM   #110
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So explain, someone, please, why the police and the DA would continue to act badly about this. It makes no sense to this citizen. Is this "just business"?
Its called "we got caught with our pants down, dancing all over it, and someone can prove it, so we make their lives hell".

Thats what is it called.
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Old March 24, 2009, 12:29 AM   #111
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I see that you are also human just like us and that it is not always, "just business". It is also not "business" at all for us civilians, ever, should we be awakened in the middle of the night by pounding on our doors and we know NOTHING of what is going on.

It should always be just business----your level of service is contingent on your attitude
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Old March 24, 2009, 10:20 AM   #112
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Its called "we got caught with our pants down, dancing all over it, and someone can prove it, so we make their lives hell".

Thats what is it called.
yep.

sad part is the state can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to convict someone that should never have been charged in the first place. the average citizen cannot afford to defend himself in court against the unlimited resources of the state.

they will probably end up having to take some kind of plea deal solely out of economic necessity. that is often the end result of these kind of cases. the cops will then claim they were vindicated.

I don't pretend to have an answer to these kind of situations other than to avoid them. That is why you should avoid any official encounter with LE at all. You just never know when it is going to go bad, and if it goes bad it is always worse for the LAC then for the government agent.
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Old March 24, 2009, 11:29 AM   #113
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IlBob

Let me offer a couple of thoughts. First, if the case has merit, there will probably be attorneys who will prosecute the civil case on contingency. If they do, they will usually also agree to fight the criminal charges. So, the civilians here may get their day in court after all.

Second, the lesson here is a basic one, and this discussion was very valuable for me, and others as well, I suspect. I had never really thought through a situation like this, so I did not have a specific plan for it.

Now, I do.

Assuming a like set of conditions - a knock at the door in the middle of the night, voices claiming to be LEOs - I would first secure my person in a safe place, not near the front door. Armed and prepared for self defense. Second, I would call 911 to report that my "castle" was about to be invaded. If it is LEOs, they can so advise and coordinate the safe opening of the door. If it is BGs pretending to LEOs, then I have set in motion the back up I may need.

I thank all for a good and lively discussion, and hope you found it enlightening as well.

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Old March 24, 2009, 11:46 AM   #114
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I realize that I'm late to the party, but still wanted to offer a suggestion.

On two prior occasions a couple of years ago I have had the police arrive at my apartment claiming to be responding to a 911 call. At the time I lived alone and both times was asleep in bed when they knocked on the door.

I could have grabbed a firearm and opened the door, but that seemed like a bad idea. Instead, I called the local police before answering the door (programmed in my cell phone and better luck getting through than 911) and asked if police were in fact dispatched to my apartment. Only after they confirmed yes, did I open the door, unarmed and at a lowered threat level.

If you don't call ahead, and you're not the police, I am calling the police and not opening the door.
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Old March 24, 2009, 12:13 PM   #115
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Assuming a like set of conditions - a knock at the door in the middle of the night, voices claiming to be LEOs - I would first secure my person in a safe place, not near the front door. Armed and prepared for self defense. Second, I would call 911 to report that my "castle" was about to be invaded. If it is LEOs, they can so advise and coordinate the safe opening of the door. If it is BGs pretending to LEOs, then I have set in motion the back up I may need.
Just to muddy the water a bit. Suppose the 911 operator says there are no police at your location, because like in this case, they were at the wrong address. So now you know for an absolute fact the guys pounding on your door at 3am claiming to be cops are not in fact cops.

Suppose further that the cops decide to break down your door and you shoot them as they come thru the door.

Guess who is going to jail, and for how long?
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Old March 24, 2009, 12:15 PM   #116
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First, if the case has merit, there will probably be attorneys who will prosecute the civil case on contingency. If they do, they will usually also agree to fight the criminal charges. So, the civilians here may get their day in court after all.
It just does not work that way in real life. There are tens of thousands of medical malpractice situations every year that are slam dunk but because there is little financial incentive to sue, no lawyer will take the case on contingency.

Unless there is a racial angle or a death, there is not going to be enough money involved to lure in a decent lawyer.
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Old March 24, 2009, 12:48 PM   #117
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I don't pretend to have an answer to these kind of situations other than to avoid them. That is why you should avoid any official encounter with LE at all. You just never know when it is going to go bad, and if it goes bad it is always worse for the LAC then for the government agent.
I agree. Do not have official involvement with the Police if at all possible.

Having the Police in your day is a HUGE wildcard.

But, do not hesitate to pick up dinner check if you are at same resturant with some underpaid civil servants.

LAC? Legally Armed Citizen?

Quote:
Guess who is going to jail, and for how long?
I would guess not the homeowner. In my City you have to inform dispatch if you are serving a search warrant.

Your affirmative defense is calling 911. However, you should be calling from safe room with phoneline open.
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Old March 24, 2009, 01:35 PM   #118
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LAC? Legally Armed Citizen?
Law abiding citizen.
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Old March 24, 2009, 01:41 PM   #119
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I may be wrong, but I interpreted LAC as meaning, Law Abiding Citizen.
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Old March 24, 2009, 03:22 PM   #120
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Great Question

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Suppose the 911 operator says there are no police at your location, because like in this case, they were at the wrong address. So now you know for an absolute fact the guys pounding on your door at 3am claiming to be cops are not in fact cops.
Then, from my safe room, I tell whoever it is that broke down my door that I am armed and will protect myself if they attempt to enter and that I have called 911 and the police are on the way. If they break down the door to the safe room anyway, then the outcome will depend on who is the better shot.

I am not sure how realistic this scenario is. Once you tell the supposed police outside the door that you have called the "real" police, that should cause them to reconsider their plan. Second, that call to 911 should cause a review of what is happening, especially if you tell 911 that the voices are claiming to be the police. If they discover the mistake, they will should tell the police to stand down. The key is to defuse the situation without ending up in a gun fight.

I can tell you this, if I challenged the voices outside and starting getting the kind of profanity on the tape, I would definitely not open the door unless I was assured that they were cops. These guys were very unprofessional, which needlessly escalated the situation.

The alternative is to surrender to an unknown and to take your chances that it really is the police. You might, I wouldn't. By the way, I have a spare cell phone in my safe room. You should, too. And, spare ammo, just it case.
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Old March 24, 2009, 03:33 PM   #121
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The argument to "just call 911 or the local non-emergency number" ignores the reality that there is no sole clearing-house for confirming law enforcement activity for any given area. Meanwhile, the law enforcement personnel knocking are no less law enforcement personnel and will act accordingly depending on why they are there to begin with.

Be safe, by all means, but be reasonable. Reasonable being a component of safe, after all.
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Old March 24, 2009, 03:41 PM   #122
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i, too, am late to the party, but want to offer up a little knowledge.

1)in the state of illinois, you CANNOT legally resist arrest, even if the arrest is false. 720 ilcs 5/7-7, for wagonman

2)
Quote:
The thing is if the cops were at the wrong address, chances are the 911 center might not realize where they actually are

In this case that would have been correct, the 911 call came from a different number, had he called to see if, or why the PD was outside, she ( the 911 operator ) would not have had a clue what the guy was talking about.
i'm sure wagonman will second this..i didn't watch the video so i dunno if the murfreesboro pd did it or not, but..the moment i step out of my squad, i radio dispatch and inform them of the address. if i was dispatched, as they were, i will be repeating that address. if not dispatched, then county now knows where i am at, and that i am no longer in my car. it's all about safety and being able to respond should something bad happens.

3)wagonman has said this before, you don't have to answer the door. i will radio dispatch, ask for a call back, and if one isn't forthcoming and i don't hear what sounds like a crime being commited, i go code and walk away. yes, i cross my fingers and pray i didn't walk away from someone who needed my help, but i have to walk away. if i hear something bad, or believe a crime is being commited and you don't answer, my foot is introduced to the door.


4) as to this case, i believe the police screwed the pooch far more then the Clintons. i believe the younger was in his right, and if the firearm was indeed at low-ready, the cops should've put him on the ground (seems to me they all complied), ran names for warrants, and assuming noone had any, turned everyone loose. that's way simplified, but a general rundown. in this state, however, if they would have refused any at all, resisting becomes a viable charge. all the firearm stuff, well...



that's about all for now. but wagonman said it best i believe...comply today, litigate tomorrow. only makes you look that much better anyway.
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Old March 24, 2009, 04:02 PM   #123
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The initial report leaves something to be desired in terms of specific details. Were they dispatched to the wrong apartment or just end up there?. If I have questions as to the location, I'll try and have the comm center verify the location via a call back but some times folks don't answer on call back so you're stuck with what you have. I think that if I went to a house, identified myself as a cop (and was in uniform we can assume) and someone comes to the door with a gun in hand, I'm going to be a little tense. We'll address it and work out the details later once the cuffs are on and everyone is safe and disarmed. As it is, I think I'm going to a problem of some kind (since I'm responding to a 9-1-1 call) and to my knowledge, I'm at the right house. Is it against the law to answer the door when the cops knock with a gun in your hand? Probably not but it's also not real bright. If he was a military police officer, he should understand that and understand the mindset of the officers coming to the door. Answering with a gun his hand was just stupid. He should be thankful that nobody got seriously injured and write it off as a learning experience. As for the charges, there is nothing specific in the article which would let me judge if the charges were appropriate or not. If he committed an aggravated assault with firearm, then charge him and let the courts work it out. As a decorated military police officer, he above anyone, should know better.
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Old March 24, 2009, 05:13 PM   #124
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Late to the party guys

We are dealing with hypotheticals here, but for background, the 911 dispatcher did send them to the wrong address. Listen to the tape to hear what happened when they arrived, but suffice it to say, one of the officers was less than professional and has been suspended.

We are also assuming, for sake of argument, that the civilians were not able to get a visual on the people knocking on the door, so they could not confirm that they were LEOs. I agree that opening the door with a gun in hand was not a good idea; I would not open the door under any circumstances unless and until I could confirm who it really was. This is why I said I would call 911 to confirm and/or report a potential intrusion.

I am not a lawyer or a LEO, but just because someone knocking on my door in the middle of the night claims that they are law enforcement does not make it so, and I will not open my door until I know for sure. I doubt a jury would convict me on obstruction charges if I did not have a way of knowing, but if they did, so be it.

The fact is, that had the officers on the scene been more professional and less confrontational, this whole scenario could have been avoided. While I don't condone the actions of the former MP, I think he should be given wide latitude because he was otherwise faultless, and the victim of an error.
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Old March 24, 2009, 06:48 PM   #125
OuTcAsT
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Join Date: January 8, 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
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Quote:
Were they dispatched to the wrong apartment or just end up there?.
They were dispatched to the right apartment number, just the wrong building
IE: Apt.#5 Campus South versus Apt.#5 Campus North.
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