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Old November 27, 2009, 05:19 PM   #1
doh_312
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Police shoot out close to home

In colorado, just 8 blocks from my house, there is a bank that was robbed by two armed guys. This bank is right next to the grocery store I frequent. The BG fled East on 120th, possibly towards the highway I-25. They drove about 8 blocks before they were stopped by police. A 15 second gunfight ensued. Two police injured, but recovering in the hospital, and 2 BG dead.

It was creepy to see the images on the news. The BG car looks like swiss cheese from all the bullet holes. I recognized the stores and such in the background. Made the situation a little bit more real for me. I guess I've been numbed to shooting scenes through movies, news and work. Seeing this one, just a short ways from home, hit me in a different place.

Reconsidered my daily carry equipment, but I didn't make any changes. Aside from a bullet proof vest and car but I certainly wont be able to convince the wife to let me get those. Nor would I care to wear a vest every day. I am considering carrying another magazine. This would bring the total to 2 extra mags.

Now obviously with the amount of police on the scene I do not plan on getting involved. But this got me thinking, what if I see multiple BG's engaged in gun fire with one or maybe two officers. Of course there are many, many variables that would force action one way or another. But say you see one officer, out gunned, out manned, fighting for his life. Do you intervene? Your not uniformed, how does the officer know your on his side? Maybe he sees you draw and shoots at you. On the other hand, maybe you have a flanking position on BG's and you can take out two of them or more before they realize they're against multiple shooters.

I'd like to hear your thoughs on what actions you would take. Please include what variables pushed your decision.
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Old November 27, 2009, 05:28 PM   #2
Dragon55
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There are mucho reasons to not get involved.

1. Any shooting you do is illegal
2. Backup cops on the way may shoot you
3. After BG's kill cops they come after you
4. You are not being paid to risk your life
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Old November 27, 2009, 05:30 PM   #3
Chris_B
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I'm not a Policeman. My weapon is for my protection, not so that I can engage in 'justifiable' combat
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Old November 27, 2009, 05:41 PM   #4
doh_312
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Yes true true, but you should be able to hear sirens of assisting police get to the scene. Or at least see them arrive.

This guy, a regular guy who wears a badge in order to protect and serve, is in a life/death struggle. He is at the disadvantage in the situation. Just like when you dial 911 and the cops are minutes away, his back-up is minutes away while the end of his life may be seconds away.

Would you not try to help a good man fighting for his life? If the shooting had truely just errupted, then the cop may not have had time to relay his need for help. Just as you may be in a shooting and not able to call for help.
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Old November 27, 2009, 05:42 PM   #5
Nnobby45
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Quote:
Now obviously with the amount of police on the scene I do not plan on getting involved. But this got me thinking, what if I see multiple BG's engaged in gun fire with one or maybe two officers.
One can't generalize about the specific incident that would apply to you, but it might be that the officers you were trying to help would be confused, and they and responding officers would, perhaps, not be able to distinguish you from the bad guys.


Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old November 27, 2009, 05:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
There are mucho reasons to not get involved.

1. Any shooting you do is illegal
There are indeed a lot of "practical" reasons not to get involved. But legality is not one of them.

Based on common law and court precedent, as a general rule, it is acceptable to use force in defense of others in circumstances where the person whom you act to save would legally be able to defend himself or herself using that same level of force if he or she were physically able to do so. Put another way (and using a very old legal concept), a bystander could legally "stand in the shoes" of the person at risk, using the same level of force that that person would be justified in using. If that person would be legally justified in using deadly force to protect himself or herself, then you also would be legally justified in using deadly force on that person's behalf. This is true whether or not the other person is a cop or simply another ordinary citizen -- but in the case of a uniformed cop, you're a lot less likely to "save" the wrong person than when the other person is an ordinary citizen not in uniform.

Quick review: a firearm is used as a last-ditch option to save a human life when all other possible choices have either failed or are obviously and manifestly impossible. (See www.CorneredCat.com/Legal/AOJ.aspx for details on that.) For armed citizens, the carry firearm's purpose is to save a human life, not to help apprehend criminals or to enforce the law.

If a human life is definitely in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger, and you know for sure who's the good guy & who's the bad guy, you are on legally-firm ground when you intervene to save that life. You might still be stymied by other practical concerns ("Can I do this without endangering myself?"), but you'd be fine, legally.

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Old November 27, 2009, 05:45 PM   #7
doh_312
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That is a very good point. One big danger with getting involved would be how your percieved to the boy in blue. But officers in plain clothes meet up with uniformed officers in shootings. There must be some way officers determine them to be good.

If your weapon is obviously pointed at the same guys the officer is gunning at dont you think you'd get the benefit of the doubt as a good guy?
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Old November 28, 2009, 07:06 AM   #8
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No, I don't. Why would I get the benefit of the doubt? I have an honest face?

Anyone here can come up with a "yeah but what if this happens" rebuttal, for either side of the argument

You have to consider the facts that will not change, not the variables you wish to argue. Here's some facts:

1) The cops and you are in a stress situation and they are trained, and you...might be trained
2) the cops have a fair chance of knowing what's happening. They have radios and communicate
3) you only know what you see
4) the cops will NOT recognize you
5) you don't know if more cops are coming, or if more bad guys are coming, and where they will show up
6) the cops know damn sure they didn't call you
7) there is no "good guy" uniform other than a Policeman's uniform

In my opinion, stacking this deck against my odds for survival this badly is dumb. Also don't forget that the potential for swooping in like a hero, unannounced and unknown to anyone, could get somebody- maybe the 'wrong' somebody- killed. The possible outcomes are not restricted to "help, or do nothing". Some of the outcomes are quite tragic. Your distraction might get a cop killed
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Old November 28, 2009, 07:11 AM   #9
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Big gunfight that close to home? Go home and protect the castle.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:01 AM   #10
OldMarksman
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Quote:
But officers in plain clothes meet up with uniformed officers in shootings. There must be some way officers determine them to be good.
In one recent case in NY, they made the determination by identifying the man they had killed.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:12 AM   #11
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Where I'm from the uniformed police have a series of verbal challenges to identify plain clothed on duty officers. There is also a way of telling plain clothed officers by simply looking at them. This came about as a result of off duty officers being shot while coming to the aid of on duty police officers. Or making off duty arrests using their gun.

Legally armed citizens should give serious pause to getting involved in a police shooting. If the citizen is unable to communicate with the officer he may very well assume the good samaritan to be another adversary.

This is a tactical situation I wouldnt wish on anyone. In an urban, or suburban setting it would probably be a most dangerous situation. The officers back up will propably be minutes, if not seconds away. In a rural area it may be more practical to assist a police officer. In rural locations the officers backup may be ten's of minutes away or worse. Also it's more likely the officer knows the civilian trying to help him personally.

I guess it comes down to a judgment call. Could I stand by and allow a police officer to be shot down while I have the means to prevent it?... My personal answer is no!!!.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:23 AM   #12
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In some states, notably Texas, the police can legally order you to assist in subduing a suspect to make an arrest. Short of that I think I would only intervene if the police clearly needed help and were unable to request it.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:37 AM   #13
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One point I try to pound home when I teach a CCW class: Carrying a concealed weapon does not make you a policeman. Carrying a concealed weapon is for the defense of your life and those of your loved ones. The only other time you are sanctioned to use your weapon is to prevent the death of another individual or terminate a sexual assault. End of discussion. In the situation described by the OP, one may well get themselves shot trying to be a good samaritan. If the situation were, for example, an officer on the ground and no weapon in his hand, and he was about to be executed by a BG, then you would justified in drawing your gun as you are saving the life of another.

Please keep in mind that police are trained for these situations. If you, the bystander, attempts to get involved without an invitation, you just may get shot as you are an unknown commodity with a gun in a gun battle with everyone's adrenaline pumping. There is no time for an officer to ask you what are intentions are.

My personal preference for concealed carry:

1. One in the chamber.

2. Full magazine in the well.

3. Two full magazines in a dual pouch.

4. A BUG of the same caliber as the primary gun.

I may be a little paranoid, but my biggest dread is that of running out of ammo. Not really a big concern in the places I frequent but just something I carried with me from my Vietnam days when my squad was involved in forever firefights and that fear was very real.

My home defense arsenal has several thousand rounds of 5.56 for my AR-15,
about 500 shotgun shells, and a couple thousand rounds of .45 ACP which is my caliber of choice. Also included are five thousand rounds of .22LR and a mixture of a couple of thousand rounds of assorted other calibers for my other guns. I believe I have enough to "secure the fort" if the need ever arose.
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Old November 28, 2009, 09:33 AM   #14
sixxgunnernick
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ccw badge

Wear one..it does not make you a cop but gives you identity.
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Old November 28, 2009, 10:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
In some states, notably Texas, the police can legally order you to assist in subduing a suspect to make an arrest.
Okay, what is the law? I don't recall that one coming up previously. Did a quick search and can't find such a law on the books. There are laws about rendering aid, but did not anything about being forced into law enforcement roles.
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:14 AM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Okay, what is the law?

In NY:

3. A person who has been directed by a police officer or a peace
officer to assist such police officer or peace officer to effect an
arrest or to prevent an escape from custody may use physical force
,
other than deadly physical force, when and to the extent that he or she
reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such police
officer's or peace officer's direction, unless he or she knows that the
arrest or prospective arrest is not or was not authorized and may use
deadly physical force under such circumstances when:
(a) He or she reasonably believes such to be necessary for
self-defense or to defend a third person from what he or she reasonably
believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or
(b) He or she is directed or authorized by such police officer or
peace officer to use deadly physical force unless he or she knows that
the police officer or peace officer is not authorized to use deadly
physical force under the circumstances.


So, there is at least an expectation that a citizen can be "directed by a police officer... to assist such police officer". Whether or not noncompliance carries any penalty, I don't know.
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:25 AM   #17
MTT TL
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A quick search won't help you these days

Quote:
Okay, what is the law?
The internet quick searches are being overtaken by weird commercial interests. There is so much garbage on the net we will soon be buried under it. I m awaiting the day for the rise of the specialty search engines (already popular in academia).

But a longer search:

Quote:
Art. 2.14. MAY SUMMON AID. Whenever a peace officer meets with resistance in discharging any duty imposed upon him by law, he shall summon a sufficient number of citizens of his county to overcome the resistance; and all persons summoned are bound to obey.

Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722.


Art. 2.15. PERSON REFUSING TO AID. The peace officer who has summoned any person to assist him in performing any duty shall report such person, if he refuse to obey, to the proper district or county attorney, in order that he may be prosecuted for the offense.
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u.../CR.2.htm#2.13

Arresting people is one if his duties, congrats, you have been deputized...
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:39 AM   #18
Doc Intrepid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doh_312
"But officers in plain clothes meet up with uniformed officers in shootings. There must be some way officers determine them to be good."
During the shooting incident that occurred in a Minneapolis shopping mall about a year ago, this exact scenario occurred.

The plainsclothes cop identified himself with his badge.

Since you don't have a badge, and since you don't have much information to go on, it would be extremely unwise to get involved in someone else's gunfight.

The single exception is, as Pax as outlined, if a police officer is about to be executed in front of you by BGs. Then its a judgement call. Otherwise, you may very well do more harm than good.

IMHO. YMMV.
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Old November 28, 2009, 12:47 PM   #19
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i would have to agree with glendee above, could you stand by and watch a man in that situation without lending aid. especially if you had the power to help. it would be a judgment call. and there are way too many variables to say for sure. but i think, for myself, i would feel obligated to help. but who doesn't have a phone these days. first i would call 911, and describe myself in detail, so the backup cops would at least be aware of me. but then again, that would take time, which may not be on the officer's side.
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Old November 28, 2009, 02:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Wear one..it does not make you a cop but gives you identity.
Wearing a CCW badge is a bad idea for alot of reasons. Most of which have been brought up numerous times in other threads.

This is a tough question to answer. If the officer was alone and needed help I would approach and ask the officer before jumping in the fray in an unarmed confrontation. If it were an armed confrontation or full blown shootout, you're liable to get shot by either side. I think it depends on the situation, but my first priority would be to get my family out of danger.
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Old November 28, 2009, 03:39 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixxgunnernick
ccw badge
Wear one..it does not make you a cop but gives you identity.

CCW badges are almost universally recognized as a bad idea. Reasons range from mall ninja to possibly be charged with impersonating a police officer to the fact that anyone, including a BG, can easily acquire one and everything in between.

There are many reasons why having one is bad and only one reason, which is dubious at best, why having one is good.

Sample CCW badge opinion thread here.
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Old November 28, 2009, 04:21 PM   #22
doh_312
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I was strongly advised not to wear a CCW badge. My instructor had one, but only for keepsake reasons. He brought it to class to show but was clear about never wearing or carrying it. I do not want to be in court for impersonation.

I'm not sure I could stand by and watch a situation like this happen. However, the negative effects are numerous. I asked a friend of mine, currently in the police academy, how his department is trained to identify GG and fellow police officers. The only response I have so far is I'll be assumed a BG if I present a weapon. He asked his training officers.

I just do not feel comfortable I guess knowing a helpful gesture will be assumed a threat. That is why I started this thread I guess. Just curious to see how you guys/gals would handle it. It seems there is no way of proving yourself a GG with out a uniform.

Clearly I do not know how I would react in this sort of situation as I have not been in one. Nor do I wish to be. My reaction could be to run away, not a bad option to save my own hide. But if I hear about the officer getting killed I'm sure I would feel terrible knowing I may have been able to help.

It is a slippery slope for sure
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Old November 28, 2009, 04:26 PM   #23
doh_312
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How bout an opinion or two from LEOs on TFL? Either past or present. Think of yourself as the solo officer in a fire fight with two or more BGs. Would a plain closed person drawing their weapon just present one extra BG to you? What if they obviously are aiming/firing at the BGs?

I'd like to believe that someone in plain clothes firing at the guys that are firing at you would be considered a friendly.

Think of it if your not an LEO, just a CCW citizen in a fire fight with gang bangers or something of the sort. Does another plain clothed person present as another BG to you? What if he is aiming at the people throwing lead your way?

I know, I know, the chances of average Joe citizen in a fire fight are blah blah. Wouldn't happen blah blah. No need to post that stuff, this is obviously a hypothetical.
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Old November 28, 2009, 07:49 PM   #24
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Thats' why..

you present your badge state you are ccw good guy may you assist? Then he would advise the back up units..I don't wear your badge like a cop in plain view but with your back up piece around your neck for example. Always I.D. yourself as c.c.w. citizen so you do not impersonate a cop. I would take this route instead of pulling out my piece..but then again if I was a cop I would tell c.c.w. citizen to beat it since its my job to serve and protect.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:23 PM   #25
Glenn Dee
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A most exelent, thread.

I happen to be a retired police officer. There is no answer. It's a judgment call. Trying to get the officers attention may divert his attention from a real threat. Displaying your weapon may result in your being shot at by the officer, or his backup. Displaying a CCW shield may well result in a criminal impersonation charge. One post suggested that if you do get involved you call 911 for help, and give a strong description of yourself. Thats probably the best thing you can do in a situation... better than getting into the fight call 911, and give a running report of everything taking place. Giving the location, and full description of the perpetrators, the officers location, and his condition. At some point you may want to defend yourself, a fallen civilian, or the fallen officer. Once again it's your call.

This is truely a nightmare scenario. An all round no win situation. If you choose to get involved.
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