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Old April 20, 2010, 04:53 AM   #1
MissouriShooter
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Moral dilemma: I know I'm not a cop ...

But is there a point at which a CC citizen should engage?

A few nights back, I watched three 20-somethings come out of a grocery store after me, all carrying boxes of beer. Two of them headed for one car about ten slots below the entrance and the third to his car, parked at the door. It was close to midnight.

A local LEO pulled up behind the one guy and I could hear their conversation as I stood by my vehicle. The kid's plates were out of date and the cop was doing his thing. I watched the two other guys stow their beer and then pay attention to the license bust. They started to walk toward their friend's car and it occurred to me that the LEO might become overwhelmed by the group.

The grocery prohibits CC, so my sidearm was in the car, but immediately accessible. I had a cellphone in my pocket but I reasoned if I called 911 damage might be done by the time they arrived. I slid into my car and took hold of my sidearm.

I continued to watch the situation, the two guys turned and went back to their car and the solo kid seemed to get off with a verbal warning.

All was well, no problems. I went home.

But what if the two had proceeded and crowded the LEO? Should I have held them at bay before they got to their target with a brandished firearm after calling 911?

Last thing I want to do is point or shoot my G26 at anything but a paper target. I really do not want to be a hero. This is all really way outside of the Castle Doctrine Law I studied and which law covers me for self-defense, to a point, here in Missouri.

If you kick in my front door and charge up the stairs to hurt me, then, yes, I will probably shoot at you to stop the threat.

But this situation really confounds me. Thoughts? Ideas? Answers from LEO's?
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Old April 20, 2010, 05:56 AM   #2
FORKLIFT352
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Thay can take care of them selves.One thing you dont want to do
around a cop is wip out a gun...good or bad.
I cc for me and my own.All others should do the same.
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Old April 20, 2010, 06:11 AM   #3
DETH_LIVES
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Good way to get yourself into trouble.... You dont know anything about whats going on.. LEO may have called for backup already.. Or one of those guys could have been a UC and it was a planned stop.... Just My 2 Cent
Watch Your Own Six......
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Old April 20, 2010, 06:44 AM   #4
Dannyl
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Hi,
If you decide to hang around and observe in case he does get in trouble, then you should first think of getting behind some form of cover where you can still be effective (able to see the others without the cop being in front of you) if it does snowball. sitting in a vehicle puts you at disadvantage:

you are surrounded by glass, where a bullet that will miss you will also pepper you with shards. the report of your own fire will deafen you (temporarily) and in order to move from there you have to use a door, so you are limited in options. a better approach would be to stand behind a vehicle where you could crouch behind the engine, getting some thick metal between yourself and small pieces of bad news.

and if trouble does develop the first thing you want to do is dial 911 and report what is going on. especially that if any other cops arrive they know you are there and armed.

That said, unless the cop is under attack you do not have any right to produce or use your firearm in any way.

Brgds,

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Old April 20, 2010, 06:46 AM   #5
MissouriShooter
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Or one of those guys could have been a UC and it was a planned stop....

Good point. I've called 911 before and had them suggest that the situation I'd seen may have been an UC deal.
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Old April 20, 2010, 06:53 AM   #6
MissouriShooter
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I cc for me and my own. All others should do the same.

Well, so do I, but my question was whether or not I should help a cop.
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Old April 20, 2010, 07:31 AM   #7
OldMarksman
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Quote:
Well, so do I [cc for me and my own], but my question was whether or not I should help a cop.
The foregoing advice to stay out of it is wise.

Now, had one of them shot the policeman, you would have had to make your own decision.

Quote:
Should I have held them at bay before they got to their target with a brandished firearm after calling 911?
No.

I patronize a different grocery chain whenever possible.
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Old April 20, 2010, 07:34 AM   #8
Skans
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The cop can always call for backup - plus he is very well trained. I'd never interfere with a police officer doing his job. NEVER!
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Old April 20, 2010, 07:36 AM   #9
DETH_LIVES
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I am sorry.. in my last post.. I did not answer your question....
Should you help a Cop? Well I would look at it like this.... The Christian question would be would you help anyone in need?
Of course most of us would..
But watch that THINLINE between what you think is Right and what everyone thinks is Right....
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Old April 20, 2010, 07:44 AM   #10
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Let the LEO handle it. If you pull your piece, he just might shoot you first.

If there is no LEO present, use your discretion. Your CWP gives you NO, absolutely NO arrest or detention authority or power. You carry a gun for one reason only - to protect your lfie and the lives of your family. Your one obligation is to come home to them safely. In most states, you can not shoot to protect property, especially someone else's. Be careful of "third party intervention". You must be absolutely sure of the situation and who the BGs are. Gawd forbid you should shoot an innocent.

Be a good witness, call 911. write down a description of the BGs, their vehicle, and anything else you notice.

If guns are present or used - you must determine if your life is in danger and act accordingly.

Sounds cold? Maybe, but my responsibility is to myself and my family - I am not my brother's keeper.
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Old April 20, 2010, 07:55 AM   #11
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I wouldn't say never intervene. You should however be very cautious and only step in if things have obviously gone very very wrong. There have been quite a few doumented instances of passersby intervening in situations where a cop is in the process of getting a real beatdown or worse, and the person who stepped in was able to make the difference. Once the officer is overwhelmed there is an immediate danger of his weapon getting into the hands of the perp, and things going from bad to real bad. Can you imagine being in that type of situation with an audience of one or more folks, armed or not, who refuse to get involved?

The last instance I have personal knowledge of involved a female deputy who was for sure and for certain, getting the the short end of the stick in a fight with a nutcase woman with no teeth. She had the deputy down and was in the process of biting her like the catfish from hell, clawing at her eyes, and trying to get the HK on her belt. The guy who helped her ran up, took the OC off of her belt, and sprayed the dog doodoo out of the attacker. Fight over. Nutcase did not get the gun.
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Old April 20, 2010, 08:00 AM   #12
kraigwy
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How about applying a bit of Common Sense.

There is nothing wrong with assisting a cop if he/she is in trouble. I'm not saying pulling your pistol if you THINK in might GET into trouble, but you can tell if one needs help.

When I was a young rookie, I was working foot patrol. I forgot what started it, but I remember I was in the process of getting my ass whipped good and propper. This "hooker" a lady of the night, working girl, (what ever you want to call her) took off her Spiked High Heels and comminced to whip the poop out of the bad guy. Saved my butt, but we had to wait two days for the guy to get out of the hospital before we could charge him.

Nothing wrong with observing to see if things are gonna go down him, just wait until they go down hill before you act.
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Old April 20, 2010, 08:10 AM   #13
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MissouriShooter,

Your best bet is to pull back to a safe distance and "observe and report". As you can see from your own example, had you become part of the mix it might have caused more confusion/problems than it solved. You are far better off in that particular situation going to "hot standby" with the cell phone, ready to call the troops if needed.

Now if you actually witnessed a beatdown/stabbing/shooting happening on the officer, then you have to do what you have to do.

Personally I always keep in mind that use of a handgun is going to, at bare minimum, cost me $10,000 (or roughly 15 DAYS of my life in terms of "earning power") and so I judge the situation accordingly.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:03 AM   #14
Caboclo
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I don't know about Missouri, but Colorado law specifically authorizes use of deadly force in defense of a police officer. But that's just permission, not obligation. You are under no legal obligation to intervene, even if the cop does get shot. As with any situation, deadly force should be the very last option. As the other posters said, get yourself in a tactically advantageous position, be a good witness, consider the possibility of undercover operations, consider the consequences of any shooting, and don't shoot until you are absolutely sure the cop would want you to, and don't display your weapon until you are very nearly ready to shoot. Another angle to consider is that, if you witness the murder of a cop and the BGs see you, they will definitely be coming after you with lethal intentions. Therefore, your best choice might be to get in your car and leave before anything goes down.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:17 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
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There's no correct action or one answer.

The decision processes are complex, some quick, automatic and evolutionary and some, slow and rational.

You save a life. The victim goes home to their family
You get killed or hurt. Your family gets a plaque.
You don't save a life and you are safe.
You 'can't live with yourself' but you are alive.

It's easy to say, you will do X, Y or Z and the person who doesn't is stupid or a coward.

Think it all through, take some FOF - and still it will be complex.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:27 AM   #16
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It's you and your concience. There are priorities and you establish yours. Me and my family come first. My concience vs. me & my family. It gets really tougth I you identify with the victim, as in that could be my daughter, son, mother, sister, father and I would like for someone to help them if they where in the same situation.

You and your concience.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:32 AM   #17
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I constantly ask myself the same question. In general, I agree with staying back and calling 911. Watch and see if help needed. Hopefully, his backup will arrive first. If I see the cop losing a battle, I'd have to step in and take my chances. I couldn't let him get hurt or killed because of me not wanting to get involved. I'd tell the 911 operator I was an armed citizen so that any other LEO coming in would be aware of it.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:50 AM   #18
wayneinFL
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If it were me, I'd sit back and be a good witness, and call for help unless things got really out of control. If the cop was incapacititated then I'd take action and be really, really careful not to be mistaken for the bad guy. Because back up is probably coming and bringing an ass kicking with them.
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Old April 20, 2010, 10:55 AM   #19
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I think you did the right thing.

Generally, stay out of it and observe, intervening only when absolutely necessary to save the LEO from serious injury.

I could see perhaps offering some physical assistance in a scuffle, but inserting another firearm into a situation is only a dire last resort.

I think the best course of action for a concerned, law-abiding citizen is to witness or even photograph, etc., such incidents.
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Old April 20, 2010, 11:05 AM   #20
johns7022
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You stood there, watched and observed, so I am pretty sure if the three guys jumped the cop, started beating him up, you would have helped...most of us would..

I have help LEOs in the past, and didn't get alot of luv in the past...maybe because they see most of us as perps and criminals...

Last edited by johns7022; April 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM.
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Old April 20, 2010, 11:05 AM   #21
comn-cents
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Is there really a question in your OP? There are so many "what ifs" in it.
So two guys stood around listing to their friend get talk to by a COP.
You got you "sidearm"? So when you see a COP pull over a car with three people in it do you pull over and grab you "sidearm"?
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Old April 20, 2010, 11:06 AM   #22
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I fail to understand where the danger was in this situation. I mean, some kids were gearing up for some sort of party, one had expired tags, the officer took care of it.

I'm certainly not trying to be rude, I'm just trying to understand if I'm missing something here. Why was there reason to suspect anything nefarious? Sure, there was alcohol involved, but it sounds to me like they were just grabbing some stuff at the store. If that's the case, I know it wouldn't even cross my mind to intervene. I'd go on my way without ever even thinking about touching my sidearm.

I could understand it if this was some sort of domestic or drug related issue, but some kids buying beer and having expired tags doesn't really send up any red flags for me.

One thing that I would like to add is that if you did intervene and had to use you're firearm, most likely a jury would not look kindly upon a CCer "playing cop" as many would see it. Of course, your intentions would be good, but that is some risky business. Don't get me wrong, there are situations where the officer may welcome your help, but from what I've read most officers would not want any civilians intervening. However, I'd assume that if you saved them from being murdered, I doubt they'd complain.
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Old April 20, 2010, 11:35 AM   #23
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Quote:
I'm certainly not trying to be rude, I'm just trying to understand if I'm missing something here. Why was there reason to suspect anything nefarious? Sure, there was alcohol involved, but it sounds to me like they were just grabbing some stuff at the store. If that's the case, I know it wouldn't even cross my mind to intervene. I'd go on my way without ever even thinking about touching my sidearm.
Plus 10,000. I'm agog trying to figure out why it would even occur to anyone to take hold of a sidearm, given the facts presented. No disrespect intended, but this strikes me as a drastic over-reaction. In fact, given the scenario of an officer having a calm conversation with a subject, I probably would throw the car in reverse and go about my business. Literally, "nothing to see here, folks."

Now, if said officer is getting a beat-down, I'm going in hammer and tong, armed or not. May not be smart, but that's how it is.

Another consideration: unless the officer is in dire trouble, injecting yourself into the situation, even with the best of intentions, is just going to add confusion and one more subject for the officer to keep track of. He might not understand or appreciate your efforts in the slightest. He has enough on his plate with the three men, so I'd stay out of his way.

Best regards,

Bob James
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Old April 20, 2010, 12:13 PM   #24
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It is not my job to protect the po po. I am not trained, nor am I knowledgeable in what they do or why.
Shoot another Citizen and it's YOUR butt. Shoot the cop by accident..............? Immediate worse case scenario.

I might, or might not, call 911, but frankly, its not my job. My concealed weapon is for the protection of my family and myself. I am not a sheep dog.
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Old April 20, 2010, 01:41 PM   #25
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There have been quite a few doumented instances of passersby intervening in situations where a cop is in the process of getting a real beatdown or worse, and the person who stepped in was able to make the difference.
Ok, maybe I shouldn't have said "never". If the officer is down and still under attack, in that situation, I would probably intervene.
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