the double standard???

This is a discussion on the double standard??? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Fellows, I am in no sense an authority on guns or self-defense. I carry a gun because I am NOT a hero, but I do ...

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Thread: the double standard???

  1. #1
    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    the double standard???

    Fellows,
    I am in no sense an authority on guns or self-defense. I carry a gun because I am NOT a hero, but I do believe I have an obligation to protect those entrusted to me- my wife, my children, and those who cannot defend themselves. For me this is an obligation from Christ, and I have to rely on Him to help me do what I have to. He will help me, so I am not worried, but I know I am not an expert or a warrior. Just an average guy.
    When I first got my permit, I took a gun course taught by our county sheriff and an NRA certified instructor, very experienced men. One thing that came out in the course bothered me. First, the sheriff, who I know and greatly respect, said that, legally speaking, the rules of deadly force are not really different for his deputies and citizens- the issue is imminent threat of death or grave harm. Later, i asked him this: suppose I have a deadly encounter, and I have to shoot someone, who dies as a result. Should I expect to be arrested when the deputies get there? He said "yes". Well, I didn't follow up and ask him if he arrested his officers when they shot someone. Of course they do not do that. So the rules are not equal, so far as I can tell. Now, I do trust him to be fair and act lawfully, so I suppose in the end the citizen who shots someone for good reasons will prevail, and be released. But apparently he/she should expect to be arrested for murder, unlike a deputy who must shoot a suspect. What do you guys think of this?? Double standard? It seems like it to me.
    God Bless.
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  3. #2
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    Well, not to sound like a jerk, but try arresting someone one day, and see if you are treated like said deputy. Or try performing surgery and see if they treat you the same as they do your local surgeon. Or practice law and see if they treat you like the local prosecutor. Or.....you see where I am going with this.

    Yes, there is a "double standard," because we as a society have decided that a trained, professional police force is worth enough to us that we allow those trained, professional police certain rights (and corresponding responsibilities) that the "average" citizen does not have. And all that said, the deputy may not get arrested right off the bat, but there WILL be an investigation (with the deputy likely assigned to non-patrol duties in the interim) to determine if it was a lawful shooting and, should it be determined that it was NOT a lawful shooting, that deputy will indeed be arrested.

    To sum up: Don't sweat it. If you are forced to use lethal force to defend yourself, you will face legal scrutiny of a pretty serious nature. If you were justified and within the law, you will (almost certainly) prevail, though the experience is unlikely to be a pleasant one. This is the system in which we live, and it's the worst one imaginable....except for all the others.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Once's Avatar
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    No
    They are sworn officers.
    You're not.
    If the shooting is justified you would be released and the charges/arrest would be dropped
    They get investigated too.for the same reason you did
    Hypothetically speaking of course

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    There's a big difference when you shoot someone and a LEO shoots someone. In one of the two instances there is a presence of a law enforcement officer at the time of the shooting. Where you are exposed to the laws on the use of deadly force occasionally, they live it daily.

    If there is the least bit of suspected impropriety in an officer involved shooting there is a good chance he too will be arrested.

    This is why you need to have a firm grasp on the requirements set forth in statutes on the justified use of deadly force.
    BenGoodLuck likes this.
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    Member Array 9BPLE's Avatar
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    The Sheriff is wrong with that statement, and there is no double standard for homicide. If your shooting was indeed a self-defense shooting, you will be questioned but not arrested. Before you are arrested, there needs to be probable cause that you committed the crime of murder/manslaughter.

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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    If he told you that he would arrest you, I would take him at his word. I'm sure he'll hold true to what he said. Does he have to arrest you to investigate the matter? Of course not. Depending on the circumstances, I can imagine scenarios where you wouldn't have to be arrested. Let's say, for example, you're a prominent doctor, lawyer, judge or minister that is well respected in the community. I can imagine that someone of this stature could defend him/her self in a SD situation and NOT be arrested. Interviewed? Yes. But arrested? Not necessarily. The sheriff in your community may "believe" he has to arrest you and it may not be the case at all. Perception, unfortunately, is often reality. He may feel like he has to arrest you. Can you imagine the scandal, for example, that would ensue if something were to happen and you skipped town? Now he has to explain why he let a "suspect" go, etc. He would have egg all over his face.

    No disrespect intended but I'm not buying the "sworn officer" argument. Being sworn has nothing to do with all of the LEOs that indiscriminately speed on the same high-ways that you and I would be fined for doing so, etc. I do agree with other comments, however, that say that the officer involved in the same defense scenario would be placed on non-patrol duties. He wouldn't get a free ticket just because he's LEO but I'd never be surprised to learn that he received more leniency than you did for performing the same actions in the exact same scenario. JMO, I may be wrong but given we're talking hypotheticals here, its at least possible (more likely IMO).

    I'm sure context has all the bearing on it but a shooting in of itself does not necessarily entail an arrest. I know (from first hand experience) about an accidental shooting and the shooter was never arrested. The Sheriff came out and investigated the scene and nothing more was ever said about it. With this in mind, it is up to the Sheriff's discretion as to how he handles the matter.

    I'm not a lawyer so take my observations with a grain of salt.

    Let's hope you never have to endure a SD situation but if you do, I also believe that God will direct you and if He is for you, who can be against you?

    God bless,
    DCG

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9BPLE View Post
    The Sheriff is wrong with that statement, and there is no double standard for homicide. If your shooting was indeed a self-defense shooting, you will be questioned but not arrested. Before you are arrested, there needs to be probable cause that you committed the crime of murder/manslaughter.
    you will be questioned but not arrested - sadly, the "not arrested" part is not at all a certainty. Especially in Pima County with an anti-gun Sheriff, you had best be mentally prepared to be arrested. You surely know the sad story of Tucson resident Larry Hickey, right? (In case you don't, here's the Cliff's Notes version: http://www.ldcollett.com/HickeyBooklet.pdf )

    Before you are arrested, there needs to be probable cause that you committed the crime of murder/manslaughter - nope, you got it wrong; back to Criminal Justice 101. You can and likely WILL be arrested, which means you are taken into custody by the police. Within a period of time, the local prosecutor (different branch of the justice system) reviews the case and decides whether of not to formally charge you with a crime. The cops only need a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, and a dead body is usually enough to fuel that suspicion.

    Back to your original premise - there are indeed different standards for certified law enforcement officers and for armed, non-LEO civilians, which is not the same as saying cops can go shoot people for no good reason and get away with it. We expect our LEOs to confront and contain dangerous criminals, but non-LEOs have neither the legal responsibility nor the legal authority to do the same.
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    You might want to double check that, smitty. Probable cause is required to arrest. Reasonable suspicion is required for a brief detention for the purpose of ascertaining "what's going on" (a "Terry" stop) and for a frisk for weapons if there is further reasonable suspicion that the person in question is armed. It is NOT a sufficient legal standard of proof for an arrest or a warrant.
    SIXTO and 9BPLE like this.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Sgt45's Avatar
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    If you shoot someone, plan on being arrested. You may not go to trial but in all likelihood you will be arrested. Have the number of a good attorney on you so that you can call him immediately after the event. Keep your big mouth shut. Be polite but don't answer questions until your attorney gets to you. You can kiss your firearm goodby for perhaps a considerable period of time or maybe even forever. Not fair, not right, just the way it is. It's far worse in anti-gun areas.

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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    I agree that you should mostly keep your mouth shut but consider an observation and a piece of advice via, Massad Ayoob. He says that the crime scene contains evidence that will evaporate with time. There are times when keeping your mouth shut could harm you. If there is a piece of evidence behind a dumpster, for example, and its going to be overlooked by an officer if you don't tell him about it then you have actually harmed yourself by keeping your mouth shut. Over time evidence can be altered or done away with altogether. Choose what you say in a discriminate manner.

    He makes a good case and I assure you I'm not doing his argument justice. Unfortunately I don't have a reference to provide because I saw this on a Personal Defense show the other night.

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    Double standard? Yes, but then again most anything in life has a double standard. To your question though. I most cases you can figure on being arrested. However arrested does not equate to being charged. The police arrest, the DA is the one who makes the decision whether to charge you or not.
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    It all depends on the circumstances of the shoot.
    My department arrested one of it's own after he shot his ex girlfriends new boyfriend while on duty. We arrested a deputy U.S. Marshall after he shot a guy in a shopping center parking lot. If it is clearly a bad shoot the shooter is getting locked up. It doesn't matter what kind of clothes they wear to work.

    If it is a questionable shoot things are different. Under the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights the circumstances under which LEO's can be questioned are clearly defined. Most collective bargaining agreements for officers will also include things like an officer can not be questioned for twenty four hours after the incident and must have a union rep and/or attorney present.

    As a citizen we don't have the contract to fall back on but we can refuse to answer questions. It then comes down to if the investigating officers believe they have enough evidence to arrest you. If they do, they might. But an arrest is a long way from a conviction. In some places they might detain you for a while to process you for evidence and then cut you loose. Then they will go to the prosecutors, present what they have and the prosecutor will either ask for an arrest warrant then or they might decide to take it before a grand jury, or they could decide not to charge you on their own.

    If it is clearly a good shoot you might recommendations for a good lawyer from an officer at the scene. You might also get victims assistance from the department investigating it. Depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances you might never see a courthouse as a result of it.
    It all depends on the specifics of the incident and the individuals involved.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefs-special-guy View Post
    (The sheriff said that) the rules of deadly force are not really different for his deputies and citizens- the issue is imminent threat of death or grave harm.
    In that he was correct. In the sense of the basic standard applicable to when use of deadly force applies, yes.

    Later, i asked him this: suppose I have a deadly encounter, and I have to shoot someone, who dies as a result. Should I expect to be arrested when the deputies get there? He said "yes". Well, I didn't follow up and ask him if he arrested his officers when they shot someone. Of course they do not do that. So the rules are not equal ...
    You're mixing apples and oranges, I'd say.

    Your question to the sheriff regarding equality was in relation to the standard for use of deadly force. Now, you're wondering about some notion of equality with respect to determination of what the facts are when arriving at a scene in which none of the actors are known to the arriving LEO's. Double standard? Nope: job responsibility, to get to the bottom of the situation, starting from scratch. Very often that involves detention or arrest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt45 View Post
    If you shoot someone, plan on being arrested. You may not go to trial but in all likelihood you will be arrested. Have the number of a good attorney on you so that you can call him immediately after the event. Keep your big mouth shut. Be polite but don't answer questions until your attorney gets to you. You can kiss your firearm goodby for perhaps a considerable period of time or maybe even forever. Not fair, not right, just the way it is. It's far worse in anti-gun areas.
    Blanket statements such as this only foster legal inaccuracies. Perhaps the law in MI is written such that all those involved in any shooting must be arrested, but that is not the case everywhere else. There are many case here in FL where the shooters in a SD incident are never arrested and or charged. It depends entirely on the circumstances and if they support a claim of SD.
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    the double standard???

    We had a related discussion during my CCL course...The instructor was retired LEO. His answer was:

    If you shoot someone, plan on taking a ride downtown, possibly in handcuffs. It was followed up with...saving your own or your family's life, is probably worth a ride downtown or even a night in jail. If it was a lawful and clean shooting, you'll be cleared.

    My understanding is if an officer is involved in a shooting, he may not be arrested, but the incident is investigated and the officer put on some sort of admin leave or desk assignment during.

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