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Old June 2, 2013, 11:45 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Indiana Law legalizes shooting cops in unlawful intrusion

http://rt.com/usa/indiana-shooting-law-state-591/

Basically the law says you are covered if a public servant unlawfully enters your house. I'm assuming this would cover warantless no-knock entries.

They take care to clarify that this only covers very rare circumstances where you should have the right to protect yourself anyways.

For some reason, this is a highly discussed topic on this board, so I thought it relevant to share.
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:38 AM   #2
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That there would need to be a law for this astounds me.
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Old June 3, 2013, 01:02 AM   #3
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After the rest of the SWAT team riddles you and the house with bullets, you will be declared innocent. Just because you are right doesn't mean it's still a good idea.
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:08 AM   #4
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After the rest of the SWAT team riddles you and the house with bullets, you will be declared innocent. Just because you are right doesn't mean it's still a good idea.
Drifting a bit T&T here, but your statement makes me wonder what your opinion would be on responding to your studio apartment or motel door being kicked in as a mistaken address while SWAT serves a no-knock-warrant (NKW). What if it's not SWAT? Have you ever tried to identify a target that is back-lit or behind a bright light? Kicking in a door is legally a sign of aggression in the case of armed intruders. And if the warrant is not for your place of residence it would technically be an illegal entry. As such the SWAT team is unfortunately setting themselves up for disaster as I'm sure even the best trained here would be hard pressed to survive a shootout with a SWAT entry team with no warning whatsoever after being woken from a deep sleep. Hence a good argument for compliance with law enforcement followed by a lawsuit to encourage them to prevent such mistakes in the future.

On the other hand, would you still put up a fight if it were a group of thugs intending to harm you or your family? And how would you differentiate them from a SWAT team in the few seconds you have to wake up and realize there are uninvited guests in the room? Do you sacrifice yourself and hope they are cops serving a warrant on the wrong address? Remember, scenario is a one room living arrangement, not all of us have the luxury of a proper house or apartment. The rights of self protection should extend to all socioeconomic classes and living arrangements.

The problem really lies in the overuse of NKW's for trivial matters that could be solved with four officers and a knock-and-talk.
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Old June 3, 2013, 08:18 AM   #5
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The problem really lies in the overuse of NKW's for trivial matters that could be solved with four officers and a knock-and-talk.
In the "old" days, that would have been handled by the cop who walked that beat and knew everyone - there is something to be said for that constant interpersonal interaction between police and citizens; it goes a long way in preventing issues in the first place.

Seems to me that law enforcement has gone from preventing crime and issues to merely responding and then trying to solve them after the fact. All these cameras are a perfect example.
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Old June 3, 2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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sounds like a common sense law that would prevent entries by someone acting as police. The real police, before making an entry SHOULD have announced who they are or there should be no question who is at your door.

Unfortunately neighborhood policing is a thing of the past, call it a sign of the times if you wish...
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:12 AM   #7
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I would be afraid of such forced entry by State Police or federal agents. I live in a small community where almost everyone knows everyone. My son is a county Sheriff deputy and I know about all his co workers and they all know where I live and who I am, so a mistaken address or name would not happen by them. Maybe I am one of the few or the fortunate but I have always had 2 doberman pinchers that I train myself for family protection, you couldn't get near my house without them barking and waking us up. If you get passed the dogs then you face me and I am going to be extremely POed that you hurt or killed my dogs and you will pay the price.
A lot of these situations could be avoided if the home owner had a properly trained dog that will alert them to someone coming on your property before they get to your door.
I would never advocate shooting a cop, but it does happen and it is a shame. He is another human being just doing his job. If he was given the wrong name or address its not his fault. But I also know of some SWAT officers that get a little carried away with their drug and weapons raids. I guess the goal is to take you by surprise and off guard. But is you are the wrong guy or the wrong address, a lot can go wrong and a lot of wrong can happen very fast. Even in a backlit situation you should be able to see if its SWAT in ful gear or 2 or more thugs breaking in.
My other thinking is can you look at a wife and children and apologize for killing their husband and father by mistake ?
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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It actually has been pretty well settled law in general that one may be justified in using force, even deadly force, to resist unlawful actions by police which present an imminent risk of harm.

But --

you better be correct about the action of the LEO being unlawful. Are you sufficiently well versed in the real life, applicable law of search, seizure and arrest to make that call in a high stress, rapidly unfolding situation?
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Old June 3, 2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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In the "old" days, that would have been handled by the cop who walked that beat and knew everyone - there is something to be said for that constant interpersonal interaction between police and citizens; it goes a long way in preventing issues in the first place.

Seems to me that law enforcement has gone from preventing crime and issues to merely responding and then trying to solve them after the fact. All these cameras are a perfect example.
+1.

Somewhere, Sir Robert Peel is lamenting "I have ploughed the Sea."

The more possible negative consequences to NKW's, the fewer there will be.

I see that as a good thing.
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Old June 3, 2013, 11:22 AM   #10
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This is actually rather old news. Indiana passed SB1 in response to the Indiana Supreme Court overreaching in its ruling on Barnes v. State of Indiana. Instead of mereley ruling that the police had probable cause to enter Mr. Barnes' residence (which, IMHO, they did), the court took it a step further and ruled that one has no right to resist law enforcement even when the actions of the LEO are, in fact, illegal. The issue, I think, was that Barnes was far from squeaky clean himself and had the case had a more clean-cut defendant (the state appealed to the Supreme Court) the ruling may have gone the other way.

There was a whole lot of hand-wringing leading up to the passage of the law with some decrying it as "declaring open season on police." In reality, it's pretty clear to anyone of at least moderate intelligence that the cases in which this law could be used as a defense are extremely rare. In order for you to be covered under SB1, the actions of the police have to be genuinely illegal: just believing that they're illegal doesn't cut the mustard. Also, to my knowlege, no one has attempted to use the law as a defense since it was passed.
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:28 PM   #11
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This is kind of murky. You need to be pretty well versed on what constitutes unlawful entry. The only way I could see this being applicable would be if for example: New federal gun laws (lets say assault weapon confiscation) were enacted, Indiana pulled a Missouri and declared all Federal gun laws null and void and ATF agents stormed your home. In that contrived scenario you would be justified clearly in defending your home. Mind you a federal court would ignore that but a state could would clear you.

Beyond that in more real life situations I don't see this doing your average person a lick of good. If the SWAT team has the wrong address and they kick in your door, the only way this helps you is if you survive the exchange of gunfire. I doubt this means that any of the LEO's will face any punishment, all this means from what I am reading is that you will not. If you have 50 new holes in your torso this won't do you much good though.


I don't see how this law really "fixes" anything at all thats wrong with our criminal justice and law enforcement system. Its more of a message than anything, who the messaged is targeted at is questionable at that.
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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My house Can't be mistaken,, So I have NOTHING TO worry about ; )
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Old June 3, 2013, 02:33 PM   #13
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Link isn't working for me, at this time

From what's been discussed, I gather that the law allows for you to resist unlawful actions of the police. Ok, fine. What about the rest of the possible situation(s)?

Lets say the cops raid you, and you, not knowing they are cops, shoot. Assume you do actually survive the initial gunfire, and then, realizing they are cops, cease resistance.

Even if the cops have the wrong address, shooting at them is considered a bad thing, even if you don't know they are cops. People have faced charges over this. Does this law address that?

To my way of thinking, a law saying its ok to resist the police when they are breaking the law isn't what's needed. What is needed is a law saying that when an honest mistake is made, you do not face additional legal risks.

Look at some of the survivors of raids gone bad, where innocent people just did what was natural, and you find that many of them, even those left crippled for life have had to face criminal charges for their resistance as well as the physical results of the tragic mistake(s).

Take this situation; the cops kick in the door in the middle of the night, and the homeowner doesn't hear them yelling "POLICE" as the door crashes in (assuming they do yell "Police"), and greets the intruders with our Vice President approved blast of a double barrel shotgun in the air.

let's be even more generous, and assume no one on either side gets killed or even seriously hurt (best case, and not common) as things get resolved.

If the cops have the wrong address, then their warrant isn't valid, and the invasion is illegal. OK, we got that covered. But what about situations where the address is valid, but no criminal activity is discovered?

The homeowner is still on the hook for shooting at the police. That's what we ought to have a law to fix.
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Old June 3, 2013, 03:20 PM   #14
Dr Big Bird PhD
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That there would need to be a law for this astounds me.
This

And I am happy about this law. Sad that it has to exist, but very happy for the steps that Indiana legislators are taking to respect our freedom.

In my opinion, it's mostly a law out of symbolism, but a good symbol.
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:33 PM   #15
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Interesting. Tennessee has a similar law on the books, I ran across it while researching our use of force laws. As I recall, it allows reasonable force (including lethal force) to be used on any officer who is acting unlawfully or using excessive force at any time and any place against anyone, not just within your home.
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Old June 4, 2013, 09:59 AM   #16
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There's one factor I think laws like this tend not to consider.

When the police encounter armed resistance, their reaction is not often "Hey, we're being fired at. This could be an error on our end, and this could be legitimate self defense by a law abiding citizen. Let's back off and check over everything." No, I would suspect it's more "He's shooting at us! Call in the whole world and let's get the guy!"

If the police have made enough mistakes to get to that point I would generally think they would expect any armed resistance to be justification to storm the house, kill the occupant, burn it to the ground, and salt the earth (well, maybe not ALL that...). I'm not bashing the police here, I'm saying their reaction is usually going to be to INCREASE the force used, not de-escalate.

Sure, your actions might be viewed as right in retrospect, but by then you'll be in the hospital or the morgue. The whole thing just isn't ever going to end up well for the homeowner no matter how it goes. IMO, this is why it should be that much higher a priority for the police to only use such tactics when absolutely necessary and when properly checked over (several times).
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Old June 4, 2013, 11:47 AM   #17
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if the us military made this many mistakes in blue on blue incidences as police do on forced entry on the wrong house or without sufficient cause the whole command structure would have been sacked.
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Old June 4, 2013, 02:18 PM   #18
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IMO, this is why it should be that much higher a priority for the police to only use such tactics when absolutely necessary and when properly checked over (several times).
This is a really nice, feel-good compromise statement

but the history of our country, and all other countries, show that they will invade your home with growing force no matter if you hold a gun or a remote control.

One just takes more time.
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Old June 4, 2013, 07:33 PM   #19
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if the us military made this many mistakes in blue on blue incidences as police do on forced entry on the wrong house or without sufficient cause the whole command structure would have been sacked.
Oh, you mean like the 23.6% of friendly fire FATALITIES of the first Gulf War were 35 of the 148 battlefield fatalities were by friendly fire?
http://nucnews.net/2000/du/91du/910814wp.htm
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Old June 5, 2013, 01:29 AM   #20
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my local PD...

This new IN law has merit but it seems almost entirely moot.
If in fact, justified or not, you used a firearm to kill a sworn LE officer, in a REAL lethal force event Im sure other cops or first responders would light you up. Or storm your home/property and kill you.
This incident took place in a rural FL county where deputies killed a armed home owner.
The lawsuit is still pending. The sworn deputies were cleared by the FDLE & the event was a huge mess.
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Old June 5, 2013, 12:25 PM   #21
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Clyde gets at the heart of the issue, I am sure each of us could find a different story where a home/property owner both armed and unarmed were killed by LEO's who were mistakenly at their property/address.

I think the standards before any law enforcement officer knocks down a door need to be higher. If the suspect you are seeking is not the owner of the property you should be forced to have eyeballs on the suspect to get the warrant. Yes its more work but with todays optics and surveillance technology there is no excuse beyond a lack of funding.

Same goes for wrong addresses, again we have multiple sources to check someones address beyond DMV Records. In this day and age I see no excuse to not have two or three different locations where a suspects address can be verified and reverified before issuing a "no knock" type warrant.
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Old June 6, 2013, 09:22 AM   #22
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It is symbolic mostly. I would also hope most people understand that this law is simply in place to offer a grounds for defense in a criminal trial. You are most certainly going to have to surrender afterword. Of course that being said once you have won your case you then will have the opportunity to file for liability against the dept and recoup your legal costs and let's not forget wrongful imprisonment, potential lost wages, etc. I would also hope most people have the sense to know when this law applies and when to simply cooperate with the police. Having a cop for a dad and having considered a career in law enforcement myself I can see where a lot of sheeple could get the wrong idea from this law. We must educate ourselves on such matters.
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Old June 6, 2013, 10:47 AM   #23
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Interesting. Tennessee has a similar law on the books, I ran across it while researching our use of force laws. As I recall, it allows reasonable force (including lethal force) to be used on any officer who is acting unlawfully or using excessive force at any time and any place against anyone, not just within your home.
Texas had that for a very long time as well, but not now. I think the OP issue is a very state specific issue related to a previous court case finding and should not be interpreted to the rest of the US.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:31 PM   #24
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Kathryn Johnston’s family got $4.9 million after Atlanta Cops killed her and planted marijuana to validate the no-knock break-in. Kathryn fired a warning shot after the Cops sawed off the burglar bars on her house and broke in. The Cops fired 39 rounds of which five hit Kathryn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shooting

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Old June 6, 2013, 10:50 PM   #25
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exactly...

That's a great point.
In the early 1990s, I was almost shot by a uniformed armed security officer holding a Beretta 92F 9mm.
He incorrectly thought I'd broken into my mother's house.
I had a Ruger SP101 .357magnum snub in my hand & had the drop on him due to his poor tactics.
He rushed through the side yard with his pistol pointing at me. When the lights came on I saw his metal badge & blue uniform.

If the guard killed me, there's no way to get a second chance or do-over.
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