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Old March 13, 2012, 10:48 AM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
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Resisting the police

http://www.wlky.com/r/30652146/detail.html

This is an interesting bill out of Indiana. Can you resist an illegal police entry? Might be a bad idea from a tactical point of view. Seems it is a legislative reaction to a state supreme court decision.

I don't know how this came about - if someone knows.

Please don't go cop bashing or blood lust fantasies about you holding off the law.
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Old March 13, 2012, 10:56 AM   #2
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Here is a link to an article on the Indiana Supreme Court case that inspired this proposed law. The article has a link to the court's decision..
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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Wouldn't it be safer to just comply and then bring the unlawful entry up in the court system? I don't think it is very smart to do anything physical with police officers.
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:09 AM   #4
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My thoughts exactly ... comply ... lawyer-up ... sue! You, not your next of kin, will be around to enjoy the cash.
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:50 AM   #5
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Maybe the thought process is, if the citizenry doesn't have to lay down and submit to illegal tactics, those tactics will be less likely to be employed?
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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You, not your next of kin, will be around to enjoy the cash.
Wouldn't bet too much on that. Ever heard of criminals acting like cops for home invasions? Or cops acting like criminals for that matter.

What would do more good is a bill that forces the PD to do much more work to ensure they are raiding the right home and that it even needs to be raided in the first place.
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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For me, the issue seems to come down to whether you know for sure the intruders are real police.

If you see all the flashing lights and they're uniformed, I'd be inclined to be face down with my hands on the back of my head when they came through the door whether I felt they had cause or not. I'd rather clean up the mess in the courts than get into a gunfight I'm going to lose... the cops won't run out of reinforcements and it's just NOT going to go well, even in a best possible case scenario.

If it's people busting down the door with zero warning, then things are a bit different. This is rare, but it does happen. I'd be likely to try and repel boarders, but as in the above scenario, I would expect the police to being ever increasing force. It seems the general tactic is NOT to stop and ask "Hey, did this guy have reason to think we are real cops?" but to react in a "He's shooting at us, let's get the %$@#!" kind of manner.

It's really a no-win for the homeowner, and I wonder if the Indiana General Assembly would have been better off trying to create safeguards against dynamic forced entries being used unnecessarily or at incorrect addresses. Maybe a law stating "no dynamic forced entry unless someone innocent is in imminent peril" or somesuch.
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Old March 13, 2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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Heh, I have a case right now dealing with (hopefully) lawful resistance of (maybe) unconstitutional police action. But it got continued this morning, so I'll have to get back to y'all in May after this thing finally goes to trial...
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Old March 13, 2012, 12:24 PM   #9
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I agree with Technosavant,,,

This basically tells any bad guys that the courts just made it very easy to stage a home invasion.

I would type more but he basically said it all.

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Old March 13, 2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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Hrm...Specifically related to the case this stemmed from, I'd say the officer was not conducting an unlawful entry. They were called to check out a couple arguing, and to me that seems to be an exigent circumstance to at least verify the safety of the occupants. However, the initial court ruling seemed overly broad as there are limitless situations in which LE might be entering a property lawfully or unlawfully.

Unfortunately to me the issue is that neither LE conducting an entry or occupants may know whether the entry is lawful or unlawful until after the fact. Hopefully the effect of this bill rather than its face value, of resisting the police is ok under unlawful entry, is that it becomes easier to gain legal recourse for such actions. Innocent until proven guilty is one thing, but being stuck in county lock up until that can be determined is another.
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Old March 13, 2012, 01:36 PM   #11
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This is a very complex issue, with no easy answer. But I do believe that there are a lot of things that can result from resisting a police officer. All of them bad.
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Old March 13, 2012, 02:25 PM   #12
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I think Technosavant has the right idea; let's prevent as many of these potential problem entries as possible and use such "dynamic entry" tactics only when absolutely needed to preserve the life of a crime victim, not just as a way to keep some dealer from flushing his inventory.

(apologies if i misinterpret your intent TS)

This does bring to mind the Cory Maye case (fairly local to me); he resisted and managed to get released about ten years later by signing a plea on manslaughter and being sentenced to "time served". I don't see much of a future for the man after ten in the pen; i hope i am wrong.
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Old March 13, 2012, 03:41 PM   #13
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They got a gang of lawyers, sued the police department, won a 2 million dollar settlement, which ten years later still hasn't been paid because of appeal's and continuences by the police. Her aunt's mother has since passed away and the lawyers say they're going to be buried in paperwork and appeals for another 2 years at least
This doesn't sound right. When you get a settlement a competent counsel sees that you get a check, or a series of checks beginning right away. Settlements aren't appealed. Settlements are when you agree to drop your suit in exchange for money.

What you seem to be describing sounds more like "winning" a lawsuit in court, which can be subject to appeal, after appeal, after appeal, after appeal. You get the point. Just because you win the first court case doesn't mean you've won anything.
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Old March 13, 2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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I will comply with a no-knock if I am SURE it's the police whether they are right or not. If there's any uncertainty, or any reason to doubt it's the police, then rounds are going to fly. That is all.
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Old March 13, 2012, 06:57 PM   #15
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My guess would be - it depends on who has the greater firepower at the time........some folks I know have more firepower than the entire county Sheriff dept, let alone their SWAT team..............although I wouldn't want to test it.......
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Old March 13, 2012, 07:58 PM   #16
Technosavant
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I think Technosavant has the right idea; let's prevent as many of these potential problem entries as possible and use such "dynamic entry" tactics only when absolutely needed to preserve the life of a crime victim, not just as a way to keep some dealer from flushing his inventory.

(apologies if i misinterpret your intent TS)
Nope, you nailed it.

IMO, this is one of those things where society would be better served by attention paid to the source of the problem (incorrect info, going to the wrong home, overuse of the tactic in general) than by looking at how people react when it happens. Sure, it's good to make sure the homeowner isn't hit with criminal charges for reaction in good faith to what appears to be a criminal home invasion, but it is far better to keep such situations to the absolute bare minimum.
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Old March 14, 2012, 10:25 AM   #17
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Technosavent and others,

While I do support correcting the source of the problem, such as you mentioned incorrect info, going to the wrong home, overuse of the tactic in general, etc, and even so, there will still be a rare mishap.

I feel it would be better served to allow for assistance to the "person" who was the subject of the illegal entry by law enforcement in order to claim for loss, damage, etc.

The main point I do worry about is, just how are the law enforcement officers going to know when they encounter resistance, is it a lawful homeowner, or a drug dealer?
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Old March 14, 2012, 10:59 AM   #18
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Fishing Cabin:

The same way the homeowner would know it's a legitimate police officer.

Because he yells, "POLICE."

[sarcasn on] The legal resident merely has to yell, "Honest guy here!" [sarcasm off]
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Old March 14, 2012, 11:32 AM   #19
Technosavant
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The main point I do worry about is, just how are the law enforcement officers going to know when they encounter resistance, is it a lawful homeowner, or a drug dealer?
That's just it. It's why I stated in my first post the police response is likely to be "He's shooting at us, bring in reinforcements and let's get him," not "Hey, did we get the right house? Let's pull back and think this one over." I would expect that once a dynamic entry begins, the "thinking it over" phase is definitely past.

Which is why I agree with you that there should be a better mechanism for innocent people to receive reparations for their trouble. This is a traumatic experience for them, and they deserve more than just a cleanup and a new door, and they deserve it with great speed, not drawn out over time. Still, to me this should be a both/and type of solution- make these kinds of entries rare and better planned/executed so that such damages are not needed.
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Old March 14, 2012, 12:33 PM   #20
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If I were in charge. Just make it a standing law. Any forced entry into a home found to be illegal cost the police dept a million dollar bills, automatically, no appeal. And the officer in charge loses his job.
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Old March 14, 2012, 12:37 PM   #21
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Any forced entry into a home found to be illegal cost the police dept a million dollar bills, automatically, no appeal.
I think it's funny when people sue public services like this, and don't care where the money actually comes from.
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Old March 14, 2012, 01:56 PM   #22
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You go resisting the police too much, they'll call out the militia on you! They might suspect you of planning an insurrection or something.
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Old March 14, 2012, 02:01 PM   #23
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In many states, including my Arkansas, one cannot sue a governmental body. It is called soverign immunity. It dates back to English Common law that follows the, even older, concept that "the King can do no wrong".
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Old March 14, 2012, 02:12 PM   #24
Fishing_Cabin
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Originally Posted by Technosavant
Still, to me this should be a both/and type of solution- make these kinds of entries rare and better planned/executed so that such damages are not needed.
I agree that the dynamic, or no knock entries can be, and in some instances are over used. Locally speaking, it is a pretty rare event that this choice is made, and when it happens there is alot of double, triple, and then more checking to ensure the facts are right.

One thing that often is not mentioned when discussing these tactics, are that the SWAT, SRT, SET, or whatever you call it teams, are generally either doing that 100% of the time, or are in senior patrol officers as well as being on the team. Where does alot of the investigation leading up to the search or arrest warrent come from? That is the detectives, narcotics officers, gang officers, etc that are doing the investigation. At times there is mis-communication. As much as we try, I know of no way to remove the human error part, only to work as a team and try to reduce it to as little as possible.

As to those that mentioned sueing the agency or officers. There should be some sort of "closure" and "making things whole again" if it was in fact an illegal entry. It should be more then a new door, and a "sorry" in my mind as well. How much, would probably vary, and we all probably would not agree on.
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Old March 14, 2012, 02:15 PM   #25
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I think it's funny when people sue public services like this, and don't care where the money actually comes from
Most agencies have insurance for such events. You usually see it get used for automobile crashes.
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