If Life Were in Danger: Would You Impersonate A Cop?

If Life Were in Danger: Would You Impersonate A Cop?

This is a discussion on If Life Were in Danger: Would You Impersonate A Cop? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Thought of this awhile ago after I found out I passed by right before the following happened at the spot I passed - and wondered ...

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Thread: If Life Were in Danger: Would You Impersonate A Cop?

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    Ex Member Array detective's Avatar
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    If Life Were in Danger: Would You Impersonate A Cop?

    Thought of this awhile ago after I found out I passed by right before the following happened at the spot I passed - and wondered what I would do as a civilian Carrying if the timing had been just a bit different: A few minutes after I drove by, in a mixed neighborhood of danger/safety, a college student got into an argument, think over a girl, in some bar. When he left, three guys in the argument (also college students and very drunk) followed him and attacked in the following away; they got him prone on the sidewalk and all began to kick him very hard. After awhile he was unconscious and the police flew in in force, a bystander calling 911. The student victim was paralyzed for life. The police, thru no fault of their own, appeared too late, as almost always happens and is one good reason to Carry. The Police are not Gods and get the call AFTER the crime usually.

    Here what I thought I might do if were at that scene before Police: once it was clear they were killing the kid, and before trying to take on 3 drunk students with a gun who would likely because of their drunken state ignore my yelling to stop - and thus cause me to have to shoot 3 people: I have a very bright weapon light. I thought of stopping my car (in idle) or getting out but staying on the other side of the street, putting the blinding light on them and yelling: "POLICE! WE ARE ARMED! STOP AT ONCE OR WE SHOOT!!!" The light would blind them and with my big voice I might just make them stop. And then the real Police would be there.

    BUT: it is very much against the Law to impersonate Law Officers. Do you think, given the immediate danger to human life and the desire to avoid a multiple shooting, this illegality would be ignored or seen as reasonable to do under the crisis circumstances? Guess it would depend on the police and the DA in your area. I can't believe though you'd be charged with anything in these circumstances.

    So, what are your thoughts about this, or perhaps breaking other laws to save life - trespassing into a private property because of shouts for "HELP, He'll Kill Me" etc (I mean AFTER calling 911)?

    I thought I read somewhere that breaking a law was justified if done to save one's life or another. But not sure where or even if I actually read it.

    Thanks for your views on this topic.


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    Senior Member Array Jemsaal's Avatar
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    Nope. Nothing good can come out of it. I'm not a LEO, nor do I play one on TV, or in real life. Pick up the phone, dial 911. If life is in danger, some states give you the right to defend the life of a third party against a clear aggressor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jemsaal View Post
    Nope. Nothing good can come out of it. I'm not a LEO, nor do I play one on TV, or in real life. Pick up the phone, dial 911. If life is in danger, some states give you the right to defend the life of a third party against a clear aggressor.
    Right. Just be a good witness. That would be hard for me seeing certain horrible things happening - but you may be right. We aren't cops.. That's a second topic that confuses me: stay out of it at all times? or judge that by the actual event? I don't know and hope I never have to choose. Best I can do as far as conclusion.

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    By your screen name it almost sounds like you really wish you were a policeman. :) I do not even know why you would even think along these lines as there are other methods to try. First off when dealing with drunks, reason and threats usually do not work. They are not thinking rationally. Just watch Campus PD on TV to see how it goes when dealing with drunk students. No matter how many warnings they get about stopping their actions, they do not and they end up getting arrested. :)

    When dealing with these kind of things you have to be very careful because you act too soon and there is no felony yet, like a simple assault, you can be the one that ends up in jail. Right now my State, Florida, is waiting for a big case with George Zimmerman. It really revolves around whether his life was in danger when he shot Trayvon Martin and whether his right to defend himself with deadly force was a result of his actions in starting the fight. You would have the same problem if you interfered with a fight, especially if you threatened to use a gun. Too early and your actions were not justified. Too late and well, it is too late.

    Now if it were me when I was younger, I would try to break up the fight because that is what men did in my generation. We did not pretend to be cops and yell crazy things. We risked our lives to help others and that was expected of us by society at the time. Now we are told to run away and call the cops and let people die because our legal system will eat you up if you interfere. Plus most people I know would be afraid to engage someone else in a physical confrontation, having never been in one. :) We do not read too much anymore about heroes coming to the aid of their fellow man as much as we used to. They exist, just not in large numbers anymore. For me it is a black and white issue of risking my life to save another's. It is what those of use who join the military during times of war did. We made a choice to put our lives on the line for others. It is as simple as that and as brave as that.
    The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions. - Alfred Adler

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    My state is one that give the right to protect a third party against death or serious bodily harm. NO I would not impersonate a cop to do so. No I would not stand by and watch three males stomp one person into life time paralysis or to death.

    I know all the things that will be said. What if the victim is a BG. Even if he was there is the point here that he could not be threat to them or especially myself with a firearm drawn. Im not fond of BGs or defending them but Lynchings were a illegal a long time ago, stomping someone near death is no different. About the same as shooting a BG who is helpless on the ground. Murder if he dies. Reasonable grounds to act.

    If the three then turn their tender ministrations toward myself its no longer about the person they were kicking to death. It has then changed to my protecting my own life after legally acting on a third parties behalf. Still SD. What the result is totally up to and legally on the three attackers. In my state as I said. I dont want to be in that situation and would be glad that I was not there but upon being there its not in me to stand there and watch someone beat into a cripple or dead unless I knew for sure they had just murdered or raped someone themself. YMMV
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    No I would not.

    Furthermore, I have no way of determining "oh they're drunk, they'll just ignore me". As if that's any kind of excuse anyway.

    Call the police. If directly threatened, act appropriately.

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    Nope. No reason to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost1958 View Post
    My state is one that give the right to protect a third party against death or serious bodily harm. NO I would not impersonate a cop to do so. No I would not stand by and watch three males stomp one person into life time paralysis or to death.

    I know all the things that will be said. What if the victim is a BG. Even if he was there is the point here that he could not be threat to them or especially myself with a firearm drawn. Im not fond of BGs or defending them but Lynchings were a illegal a long time ago, stomping someone near death is no different. About the same as shooting a BG who is helpless on the ground. Murder if he dies. Reasonable grounds to act.

    If the three then turn their tender ministrations toward myself its no longer about the person they were kicking to death. It has then changed to my protecting my own life after legally acting on a third parties behalf. Still SD. What the result is totally up to and legally on the three attackers. In my state as I said. I dont want to be in that situation and would be glad that I was not there but upon being there its not in me to stand there and watch someone beat into a cripple or dead unless I knew for sure they had just murdered or raped someone themself. YMMV
    I think you have a very good solution, try to stop the 3 who have kicked somebody so many times he's unconscious, and may die soon. Who wants to standby and watch when THAT is going down?. But handle the felons as a separate group trying to stop the beating and skip the cop impersonation; pull your gun, use pepper spray, whatever, AND, if they turn on you, it's straightforward Self-Defense and you then have to prepare to stop them if they come at you, you've just seen them beat a man close to or maybe TO death. You have the right to live and depending on what they do - well, the Law does not force you to die and if it comes to that...That is why we Carry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Dog View Post
    By your screen name it almost sounds like you really wish you were a policeman. :) I do not even know why you would even think along these lines as there are other methods to try. First off when dealing with drunks, reason and threats usually do not work. They are not thinking rationally. Just watch Campus PD on TV to see how it goes when dealing with drunk students. No matter how many warnings they get about stopping their actions, they do not and they end up getting arrested. :)

    When dealing with these kind of things you have to be very careful because you act too soon and there is no felony yet, like a simple assault, you can be the one that ends up in jail. Right now my State, Florida, is waiting for a big case with George Zimmerman. It really revolves around whether his life was in danger when he shot Trayvon Martin and whether his right to defend himself with deadly force was a result of his actions in starting the fight. You would have the same problem if you interfered with a fight, especially if you threatened to use a gun. Too early and your actions were not justified. Too late and well, it is too late.

    Now if it were me when I was younger, I would try to break up the fight because that is what men did in my generation. We did not pretend to be cops and yell crazy things. We risked our lives to help others and that was expected of us by society at the time. Now we are told to run away and call the cops and let people die because our legal system will eat you up if you interfere. Plus most people I know would be afraid to engage someone else in a physical confrontation, having never been in one. :) We do not read too much anymore about heroes coming to the aid of their fellow man as much as we used to. They exist, just not in large numbers anymore. For me it is a black and white issue of risking my life to save another's. It is what those of use who join the military during times of war did. We made a choice to put our lives on the line for others. It is as simple as that and as brave as that.
    No I don't want to be a cop - my question was from a situation that, driving a bit slower, would have been in my face. And one way I practice mentally is to place myself in real situations I know and ask "What would I do?" May help me someday, who knows.

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    I would NOT impersonate an officer.... no need in Indiana, in a situation such as described....

    SECTION 1. IC 35-41-3-2 :
    Sec. 2. (a) A person is justified in using reasonable force against another person to protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person:
    (1) is justified in using deadly force;
    (2) does not have a duty to retreat;
    if the person reasonably believes that that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of a forcible felony. No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary.
    detective and pittypat21 like this.
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    Here's how I look at it. (For what it's worth)

    A man down on the ground with three or four people actively stomping him and kicking him in the head with shoes and boots is likely to be moments from permanent injury or death. If you're going to intervene, you better not putz around about it, and intervene immediately.

    For me, if I'm going to intervene, they get one opportunity to immediately stop the attack, or I shoot the next person who throws another kick.

    Now, I may not have 100% of the facts of what's going on, and I'm a firm believer in not intervening unless you do have all the facts. But the overwhelming deciding factor here is the imminent threat death or crippling injury in what is obviously an unfair fight, and a huge disparity of force.

    In essence, there are exigent circumstances to warrant an immediate response without knowing all the facts. In this case, you really don't have time to call 911 before you act on stopping the attack (If your intention is to prevent the person from being killed or crippled).

    This is one situation I hope to never come upon, because no doubt the aftermath is going to be a nightmare. But the thing is, you never know what "your gunfight" is going to be like, or what the circumstances are going to be prior to being put in that situation.
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    Why? If my life is in danger I'm gonna impersonate "Thor, Lord of Thunder" and my handgun will be my hammer...
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    I would NOT impersonate an officer.... no need in Indiana, in a situation such as described....
    New York State also allows lethal SD to stop another death by violence - in fact, Rape, Kidnapping and I think one other heinous crime gives special permission if that is what you are stopping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by detective View Post
    Thought of this awhile ago after I found out I passed by right before the following happened at the spot I passed - and wondered what I would do as a civilian Carrying if the timing had been just a bit different: A few minutes after I drove by, in a mixed neighborhood of danger/safety, a college student got into an argument, think over a girl, in some bar. When he left, three guys in the argument (also college students and very drunk) followed him and attacked in the following away; they got him prone on the sidewalk and all began to kick him very hard. After awhile he was unconscious and the police flew in in force, a bystander calling 911. The student victim was paralyzed for life. The police, thru no fault of their own, appeared too late, as almost always happens and is one good reason to Carry. The Police are not Gods and get the call AFTER the crime usually.

    Here what I thought I might do if were at that scene before Police: once it was clear they were killing the kid, and before trying to take on 3 drunk students with a gun who would likely because of their drunken state ignore my yelling to stop - and thus cause me to have to shoot 3 people: I have a very bright weapon light. I thought of stopping my car (in idle) or getting out but staying on the other side of the street, putting the blinding light on them and yelling: "POLICE! WE ARE ARMED! STOP AT ONCE OR WE SHOOT!!!" The light would blind them and with my big voice I might just make them stop. And then the real Police would be there.

    BUT: it is very much against the Law to impersonate Law Officers. Do you think, given the immediate danger to human life and the desire to avoid a multiple shooting, this illegality would be ignored or seen as reasonable to do under the crisis circumstances? Guess it would depend on the police and the DA in your area. I can't believe though you'd be charged with anything in these circumstances.

    So, what are your thoughts about this, or perhaps breaking other laws to save life - trespassing into a private property because of shouts for "HELP, He'll Kill Me" etc (I mean AFTER calling 911)?

    I thought I read somewhere that breaking a law was justified if done to save one's life or another. But not sure where or even if I actually read it.

    Thanks for your views on this topic.
    NO, Never. That is not in the option bag for citizens to use in SD/HD situations. No, in any way, shape, or form. Period. IMO.
    saa.
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  15. #15
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    I forgot to include this in my first post.

    No, I would not impersonate a Cop. There is no need to. You either stand on your actions as a legally armed citizen intervening behalf of a third party to prevent their death or crippling injury, or you don't intervene in the first place.

    If you think your ruse as a police officer will get the attackers to stop without having to shoot them, then you shouldn't be carrying a gun. You stand on your actions truthfully, or don't act at all.

    Once you lie, in a situation such as this, things tend to go downhill from there.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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