Castle Doctorine & Deadly Force or "Please Don't Shoot Me On Duty!"

This is a discussion on Castle Doctorine & Deadly Force or "Please Don't Shoot Me On Duty!" within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; "Castle Doctorine" was touched upon in a flash-light carry thread recently locked by the moderators here. They can chastise and punish me for dredging it ...

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Thread: Castle Doctorine & Deadly Force or "Please Don't Shoot Me On Duty!"

  1. #1
    Member Array Mark Garrity's Avatar
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    Castle Doctorine & Deadly Force or "Please Don't Shoot Me On Duty!"

    "Castle Doctorine" was touched upon in a flash-light carry thread recently locked by the moderators here. They can chastise and punish me for dredging it up here, but I feel it needs to be addressed further in the name of officer safety because frankly, some of your comments scared the crap out of me based on my chosen profession!!

    Some posts stated they feel they have the right to shoot someone univited in their home without ID'ing them first because they know who should be in their house. Well maybe that univited someone is a police officer.
    Let me give you two examples:

    Often times on alarm calls we find an unsecured door. Now different departments may have different policies, but I have served 14 years on a department back east and 3 years here in AZ and the protocol is the same for both. Have the dispatcher call the residence. If you get no answer on the phone, (and 30% of the time the contact info is outdated so no call can be made) make entry and check the place out for potentila burglars within and the welfare of the homeowner and family. One should announce "Police" several times before entry, but if an audible alarm is ringing they likely won't hear you over it.
    Most of the homes in the town I work now are so large that there is no way I will be heard yelling at one end of the house if they are asleep at the other end, even if all is silent. So now we go in and check the house. Twice I have been confronted by homeowners with guns. They heard the phone ring and didn't answer in one, bad contact info and no call on the other.
    For those of you that are just going to shoot the silouhette with gun in hand before ID'ing the uniform, thanks for shooting me...

    Second scenario - a plain clothes undercover officer is in foot pursuit of felon. The guy hops a fence and runs into a back yard. When the officer get there, he finds a rear door to the residence standing open and makes entry to search for the bad guy. This is a perfectly legal warrantless entry in hot pursuit of a fleeing felon. While the soundness of the officers tactics may be questioned for entering alone without back-up, this exact incident happened to a friend of mine back east. He is a big burly biker-looking guy dressed in black t-shirt and beat-up jeans. No-one would guess for a second he is a cop. So now you have this biker-looking guy with gun drawn searching your house. Those of you that think it's OK to shoot without ID'ing - Congratulations! You've just shot a cop and the armed felon is still hiding inside your house! In this real life incident the bad guy did was not hiding in his own house. He had forced open the back door to a strangers house and was found hiding under a vehicle in the garage. The residents were home asleep. They had no idea what was going on until uniformed patrol officers arrived.

    There is a flip side to this for officers. People who at first appear to be bad guys but are innocent. In one incident, I was responding to a neighbor complaint at an apartment for the sound of glass breaking. I found a window to an apartment shattered, and saw a shadowy figure moving around inside and drew down on him. It was the resident, drunk off his ass and left his keys in his briefcase in his buddie's car, so broke into his own apartment. In another incident, a burglar alarm at a pharmacy, the back door is found kicked in and the alarm blaring. We go inside and check and find a man with a gun and draw down on him. It is the store owner, who got a call from the alarm company and got there before police, and was dumb enough to go inside armed and check the business prior to our arrival. Things are not always as they seem at first glance, and even armed subjects must be properly identified before they are shot at.

    I hope this gives everyone food for thought.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array swiftyjuan's Avatar
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    Good food for thought Mark. Thanks for the post. I think everyone can see both sides of the problem, and firing on someone without identification cannot be withdrawn; none of us would want to shoot a LEO, but there have been instances here where the BGs yell "police", and have the t-shirts with phone ID on them. There is no easy answer. If someone with a weapon points it at me in my own home, and isn't in uniform, I think reaction would take over, and I want the first shot.

  4. #3
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    Good point. While the Castle doctrine is a great piece of law , we as gun owners need to
    1. properly ID targets/perps
    2. retreat if reasonable and possible into a dwelling/ house (this shows our intent to defend , rather that engage if possible)
    3. shout out a warning /threat before shooting if reasonable and possible.
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    Castle and ''stand ground'' are both necessary additions to self defence law but we have to realize they are not intended to essentially change the rules of engagement.

    They can remove a life-threatening need to retreat but we still have to be as certain as circumstances allow, just who and what a target is - all the more difficult when adrenaline is in flood.

    Mark usefully brings up two sides of the coin - which are well worthy of slow digestion IMO.

    Ditto - what Rocky posted too.
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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    I agree 100% Mark! I was reading that thread as well and came to the realization that the comments are either from a lack of training! (yes it is up to you as a responsible citizen to seek out good training, just because 99% of us are not LEO's does not mean we should not have training also) or the comments were just plan stupid and if this is how you would react in a potential home invasion that you think is a home invasion, I hope you do not have childeren that will be shot coming in late at night and you didn't realize it! This has happen more than once.


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    Ex Member Array Maveri9720's Avatar
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    Hello again Mark,

    Good info as usual. I hope I don't get this thread closed too, so I will try to be brief and not get the whole forum against me.

    Good real world examples that are very possible. Very eye-opening. Now, my question would be for the first scenario: I double and triple check my locks at night before I go to bed, so if for some reason my alarm triggered a silent call w/o the alarm going off and waking me up and you arrive and for some crazy reason I, nor my dogs, hear the doorbell or phone, what is normal action if all the doors/windows are secured? I am assuming you would scan the perimeter, but wouldn't force yourself in correct?

    For the second scenario, my situation is: I am dead asleep, I wake up to the alarm going off and my dogs barking and heading downstairs, I grab my weapon and head down to see what's going on and I either turn on the light or flash the undercover cop w/my flashlight and see the big burly man you described. He is armed. Now stop. All I know is this big dude has just busted into my house through my backdoor and he is armed.

    Can anyone blame me for shooting, before he is able to tell me he is undercover, based on what has happened?

    I am not a big man. I'm 5'9 165, so if I see this biker dude, I don't have time to chitchat, b/c he could beat the crap out of me with one hand.

    Now secondly, he tells me he is undercover before I pull the trigger. What do I do then? How many criminals have said they were LEO and have had fake badges, etc?

    Very scary situation b/c you have zero time for decisions and the "BG" is armed and is twice your size.

    So he shows me his badge, but does that mean anything? I guess I am supposed to call 911 and verify that there is an undercover in my area, but how do I manage that with this huge guy in my sights.

    Help me out Mark. I guess I don't know how to be brief either, sorry.

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    Ex Member Array Maveri9720's Avatar
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    Also, Mark, just to clarify, I don't feel that I have the right to shoot someone in my home that has forcibly entered. I know I have the right, according to Georgia State Code:

    However, such person is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:

    That force is used against another person who is not a member of the family or household and who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using such force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred;

    Please correct me if I am reading this wrong or am missing something altogether. I would really hate to be misinterperting the law and then get slammed in court for it.

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array Maveri9720's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky
    Good point. While the Castle doctrine is a great piece of law , we as gun owners need to
    1. properly ID targets/perps
    2. retreat if reasonable and possible into a dwelling/ house (this shows our intent to defend , rather that engage if possible)
    3. shout out a warning /threat before shooting if reasonable and possible.

    I agree and disagree with you. Hopefully you can help me out though. I agree with #3, I disagree with #2 and need help with #1.

    If the above situation happened, are you suggesting that I retreat further into my own house and just wait, or are you talking about any random situation where you have the chance to run and get away from the threat? If the former, then I disagree and that defeats the whole Castle Doctrine/Stand your ground laws. I've said it before and I am sure I will say it many times to come, but I would rather have my life in my hands, than hide somewhere in my house and hope and pray the BG doesn't find me and that the police show up in time. If you mean the latter, then I totally agree.

    #1, I must be an idiot, b/c how do you positively ID your target? Now I understand that you want to ID your target before you shoot, if you can. Throwing uniformed LEO's out the window, you either know someone, or you don't. Now whether you are trying to see if they have any weapons in their hands is a different story.

    Here's my dilemma, along with not being able to make a short post, I was presented with examples of drunken people, people with mental problems and now here an undercover cop who's big and burly breaking into my house. I shine my flashlight on them for a second or two. In that one to two seconds, there is no way for me to tell that someone was drunk, mentally impaired, or an undercover cop (unless the cop tells me, in which case look to my above post for that), from someone who is trying to harm me or my family or trying to rob me. All I am verifying is that it is not my wife, who is my only family living with me, which I already knew before hand b/c I just got out of bed with her to come downstairs.

    This is where I need the help at. In hindsight, sure, this innocent guy was just drunk and stumbled into the wrong house, or the crazy guy forgot to take his medicine, or the undercover cop was trailing the real BG, but how can I know that when I only get a 1-2 second glimpse of them and only have that to go by before I decide to pull the trigger or not?

    Can you all help me here please?

  10. #9
    Member Array PgSqlQuery's Avatar
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    Hrm, this thread really raised my eyebrows.

    I know this, if it's an LEO in uniform, I would likely 'surrender' (I say surrender, because, they WILL likely assume, that the guy in pajamas holding a mosin-nagant, is a BG, and probably the pajamma'ed lady crouched at the top of the stairs with a shotgun, too...).

    An LEO plainclothes?

    I really dunno. I mean, REALLY, how am I supposed to figure out, that you are a plainclothes?

    I just can't see surrendering, to an armed man in my house. As it is MY house, I would likely give orders, and, assume it's a BG.

    If they announced that they are an LEO, I would still have to insist that the firearm is dropped, until uniformed officers arrive (by that point, the pajamma'ed lady would have already been well into a 911 call...) I don't see an LEO taking that too well. HOWEVER, to me you just broke into my house, and have a gun, and are looking for a way to distract / disarm me.

    Someone mentioned training would solve the issue. I just don't see, what training, would aid me in making the determination, that the non-uniformed guy, whom has a gun (possibly pointed at me), in my living room, is REALLY an LEO. I would hope, by that time, the 911 dispatcher would have told my wife, that there's an officer in my home.

    Is there, a tatoo, that all LE's get, that, perhaps I could look for...?

    I'm sorry, but, anyone can yell 'POLICE! DROP THE GUN!'. Same as if I yell 'I'M THE HOMEOWNER, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!' Think they'd beleive me?

    I'd never thought about this situation, until today.

    I would REALLY not wanna be a plainclosthed LEO, in this situation.... Luckily, for me, my little backwater burb, I don't think really has plainclothes'ed officers....

    I hate to turn this around on the Original Poster, but, I'd like to hear your answer to this question:

    It's 3am, someone just kicked in your back door, and woke you up. You go down to investigate. There's a man with a gun, pointing it at you, and yelling stuff at you, that you can't quite process, in your adrenaline-fueled / jarred awake state. You have about a second to make the decision, what would you do?
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    Member Array PgSqlQuery's Avatar
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    I should probably add, I see the scenerio, of a plainclothes LEO, going armed, and alone, with no uniformed LE's with them, both an incredibly bad idea, and, incredibly unlikely.

    I don't have the training, that LEO's do, however, so, maybe I'm missing something in that department....
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    Ex Member Array Maveri9720's Avatar
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    Well, at least in this thread, I get some help and someone feels the same way I do.

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    Member Array Exmasonite's Avatar
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    another interesting thread....

    I would hope that should a plain clothes officer be forced to bust into my house and is greeted by an armed guy he WASN'T chasing saying, "What the hell are you doing in my house?", then the standoff would end quickly. he would hopefully lower his weapon, calmly explain what was going on. if they're trained/instructed on pursuing people into civilians' homes, i'd think they're also trained on dealing with potentially armed innocents protecting their home.

    granted, i'm in the camp that has a weapon mounted light but that isn't necessarily going to change how i react. i'm probably going to draw on the supposed BG and issue a challenge. It might help me in getting more information about the situation and recognize that the smart LEO is lowering his weapon b/c the situation has gone completely pear-shaped... or that the drunk guy was really only holding a bottle and not a gun.

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    Member Array soundwave's Avatar
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    Personally, I would like to know from Mark if his department ever gives any training on such a scenario. I really don't think mine does beyond yelling "POLICE" very loudly over and over again. Fortunately if an LEO waltz's into my house with guns blazing it would take me 1-2 seconds to identify them, plainclothes or not (I work with and know all of them lol).

    I should add that there's two other things working against a plainclothes LEO: 1) many departments allow their LEOs to act in their official capacity while off-duty and many also require action when faced with a felony they witness which could lead to a pursuit, 2) as a dispatcher I know that when LEOs are in pursuit of someone that it's a 50/50 chance that they will announce their location when entering a building rather than a direction of travel -- otherwise, the dispatcher may not have a clue as to where they are. Given point #1, they may not even have a radio on them if they're off-duty.

    So, this will be a very interesting thread indeed because in such a scenario the S has literallly HTF. ;O)

    (Maveri9720: You don't necessarily have to turn a flashlight on for 1-2 seconds. You can leave it on if you need to and turn it off when/if the situation warrants retreat -- even after 30 seconds the BGs' night vision is crap afterwards. The only problem with leaving it on is that there has to be a body holding the light which will give away your location to them. However, just turn it off and the effect should be the same if you need to run.)

    Cheers.

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    Member Array Mark Garrity's Avatar
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    OK guys, I'm jumping back in here.
    Maveri9720,
    To answer some questions: in the first scenario, if we respond to a residential alarm and check the perimeter and it's all secure then that's it. We clear - "unknown reason for the activation".
    Even if we find an unsecured door, there will be attampts at phoning the residence, and phoning a relative/neighbor/friend on the contact list to determine whether they know if anyone is home or away, before making entry. At least that's how it works on both departments I've worked for. Others may be different.
    Soundwave,
    No, I don't know of any departments offering specialized training in this. And as you know, there are pros and cons to announcing. You're hopefully alerting the homeowner, but also alerting the bad guy if there is one.

    Granted the second scenario is going to be rare. The mere fact that this creep shouldered a back door and ran into someone's home to hide rather than hide in the bushes is rather unusual. The fact that my buddy entered after him, alone, is -well call it what you will.
    He and I have discussed this incident that night and a few times since, the converstion usually revolving around me calling him a dumb-ass and him agreeing. (This was several years ago and he was quite a hot-dog. Thank God he's calmed down, and also no longer looks like the Door's Jim Morrison in his later years with the long hair and full beard). He agrees that this situation could have turned out much differently and much worse. He tells me his thoughts and emotions just after he entered the house went from "I hope I don't get confronted by the homeowner" to "I hope I find the homeowner before he does and we have a hostage situation" to "I hope this isn't the bad guys house and this is a set-up and I've really stepped in some ****!" I embellished slightly in my original post. The homeowners didn't sleep through the whole thing. (They just didn't come out until uniform patrol arrived and everything was under control). They heard a noise and called 9-1-1. This was fortunate for him because they were able to provide their address. He did not have a portable radio linked to dispatch on his person. He was operating off a Nextel with access to a few patrol sargeants. The best location he could give was "such-and-such street, third house from the corner with the cyclone fence around the back yard". The sgt radioed this info to dispatch and patrol units and got them into the area, but no-one had an exact address until the homeowner called and was alerted to stay put; there was an undercover officer in their house with back-up on the way. So, like Soundwave mentioned, communication is a huge factor in a situation like this. And yes, it's really hit the fan here!
    What would I recommend or do in a similar situation. Unfortunately, a lot is going to depend on the demeanor and state-of-mind of the officer. I don't think, even holding him at gunpoint, you are going to get a cop in this situation to put down his gun knowing there may be a bad guy lurking around the corner watching everything that is going down between him and the homeowner. The officer knows what the guy he was chasing looks like, and in the middle of the night you'll likely be in pajamas or a t-shirt and boxers or whatever, so it shouldn't be hard to convince him you're the homeowner. He's the one that will have to do the convincing. Hopefully he could quickly explained who he is, that he chased a subject into the house, that back-up is on the way and request you call 9-1-1 to verify that and give them your address. I don't think any criminal, even one with a fake badge and police ID, is going to request you call 9-1-1. And I don't think any cop, undercover or not, is going to try and talk you out of doing that. Like I said, this is a highly unlikely situation; but it did occur (just without the homeowner confronting anyone). So I wanted to make everyone aware and peak some interest; however remote the possibility of it occurring may be.
    Last edited by Mark Garrity; August 7th, 2006 at 05:07 AM.
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    Member Array glocksmygun's Avatar
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    About the only answer I have to some of these questions about non-uniformed officers is that if they are chasing someone they will have their badge on them. Someone said earlier about BG have badges also but an officer will also have an ID card. These cards have thier department name and a picture and information like height and weight, date of employment things like that. If this happens and the biker guy yells police yell back let me see your badge and your ID. If he can not produce both then draw your own conclusion. I have worked plainclothes and always have both on me.

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