Police"s Duty To Protect Individuals Running Again

Police"s Duty To Protect Individuals Running Again

This is a discussion on Police"s Duty To Protect Individuals Running Again within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Here we go again. Relatives of Massachusetts LaBarre victim sue NH police - BostonHerald.com Relatives of Massachusetts LaBarre victim sue NH police By Associated Press ...

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  1. #1
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    Police"s Duty To Protect Individuals Running Again

    Here we go again.

    Relatives of Massachusetts LaBarre victim sue NH police - BostonHerald.com

    Relatives of Massachusetts LaBarre victim sue NH police
    By Associated Press
    Friday, March 20, 2009 - Added 1d 0h ago


    BRENTWOOD, N.H. — The family of a man killed by Sheila LaBarre has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against police in Epping, N.H., accusing them of failing to protect him.

    The lawsuit says police share responsibility for Kenneth Countie’s death because members knew LaBarre was dangerous and had abused Countie.

    LaBarre is serving life in prison for killing 24-year-old Countie and another man, 38-year-old Michael Deloge, on her farm.

    e suit, filed this week in Rockingham County Superior Court, names the town, Police Chief Gregory Dodge, Lt. Michael Wallace and two others. Neither Dodge nor Wallace could be reached to comment.

    The suit refers to an encounter that police had with LaBarre and a wheelchair-bound, sickly-looking Countie at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Epping in 2006, a few days before Countie was killed.
    FYI -- See: Police Have No Duty to Protect Individuals
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    Member Array zackattack78's Avatar
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    I've known this for awhile, but reading the whole Police Have No Duty to Protect article really got me thinking.

    What exactly do we "pay" police officers for? Enforcing the law? Isn't their refusal to enforce some of those restraining orders mentioned in the article also failure to enforce the law?

    Any help would be much appreciated!
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    If I contractually arrange for a retain a security firm whose dispatch center is 2mi from my house, each individual staffer of whom has a direct obligation and duty to protect me, even THEN they won't make it to the house quickly enough to stop a home invasion from erasing my family. I suppose the failure is theirs, given the contract ... yeah?

    Uh, no.

    These sorts of knee-jerk attempts to foist responsibility onto others is so appalling. Folks in cabins on the edge of the wild never think to expect the cavalry to magically appear when the bear rises up to smash through the door. Folks in the country simply don't expect police to instantaneously drop out of the sky when an emergency arises. And yet, many people within city limits somehow believe that personal responsibility was at some point relegated to others. When they believe such a contract was made is beyond me. Such idiocy costs us all.

    Police are paid to enforce laws, not to be there in advance of crime to protect against crime. Almost by definition, it's a reactive task that needs to be done, with resources called up when a situation has been found to have already begun. That's a matter of the basic space-time relationship that dictates police cannot be there ahead of time, rather than some conspiratorial lack of desire to protect.
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    Ex Member Array JOHNSMITH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zackattack78 View Post
    I've known this for awhile, but reading the whole Police Have No Duty to Protect article really got me thinking.

    What exactly do we "pay" police officers for? Enforcing the law? Isn't their refusal to enforce some of those restraining orders mentioned in the article also failure to enforce the law?

    Any help would be much appreciated!
    They are paid to enforce the law, as you said... which in reality, involves punishing anyone who breaks the law.

    Their only "obligation" is giving a good go at finding and arresting a perpetrator of a crime, not necessarily preventing it. They have no obligation to protect any one person.

    That said, most any police officer will try his/her best to protect you and prevent crime. But given the nature of crime and the physical limitations of a police force, it's not something that can be realistically delegated to any entity. The only thing that is possible to protect one or a few people by using the traditional bodyguard system (such as is the case with the President and the Secret Service).

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    Good luck with the suit...this is a sure 'loser'...
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Good luck with the suit...this is a sure 'loser'...
    Unfortunately not for the lawyer who filed the suit. He'll get paid one way or the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Good luck with the suit...this is a sure 'loser'...
    I doubt it, the city will probably settle because it would be cheaper than fighting the suit...they'll probably want to avoid the press that a trial would generate, also.

    Unfortunately, until the person getting sued can recoup the court costs from the litigator, its pretty much always going to result in money changing hands.
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I understand the reasoning behind the courts ruling that police are not there to protect any certain individual. I also would understand filing a suit against the state or city if they created a situation where you could not legally protect yourself.

    I have seen many on this site say that if a store prevents you to carry a weapon inside their store then they should be responsible for your protection. By that same reasoning then whomever passes a law or ordinance depriving me ot that ability should also be held responsible.

    Michael

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post

    I have seen many on this site say that if a store prevents you to carry a weapon inside their store then they should be responsible for your protection. By that same reasoning then whomever passes a law or ordinance depriving me ot that ability should also be held responsible.

    Michael
    I agree but that is not the case unfortunately, the police are only obligated to collect the evidence and investigate a crime that has been committed. If they find a reasonable suspect they are to then apprehend and bring them for arraignment. The latter of which is usually in conjunction with the DA's office filing of charges.
    As for the stores I believe they should be able to protect you if you are not allowed to carry in their stores. But as of yet I have seen no greeters at Wally World packing heat and will not hold my breath until I do.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    If I was the town I would fight it. Unless they can establish that some kind of special relationship existed between the police department and the deceased it should get tossed with prejudice.
    As far as a store being responsible for our protection if they don't allow us to carry, that is a non starter. We are not required to shop there. When we enter their business we have made a concious and informed decision that the convenience to us of entering their premisis to conduct business is more important to us than the ability to protect ourselves. They have the right to prohibit weapons in their business and we have the right to spend our money elsewhere. The only way I could see having any kind of chance in a court of law would be to show that for some legal reason we were required to patronize that specific business. The only way I see that changing is if each state passes laws specifically saying they are responsible.
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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    This book has case examples of all 50 States. A duty to protect? Only the public at large, and even then some States just take a pass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerbouchard View Post
    I doubt it, the city will probably settle because it would be cheaper than fighting the suit...they'll probably want to avoid the press that a trial would generate, also.

    Unfortunately, until the person getting sued can recoup the court costs from the litigator, its pretty much always going to result in money changing hands.
    My bet is the suit being dismissed. There are 21 cases IRRC from SCOTUS and State's Supreme courts that are firmly on the issue that police has no duty to protect individuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    There are 21 cases IRRC from SCOTUS and State's Supreme courts that are firmly on the issue that police has no duty to protect individuals.
    Gonzales v. Castle Rock is one SCOTUS case:


    FOXNews.com - The Right to Self-Defense - Opinion

    By a vote of 7-to-2, the Supreme Court ruled that Gonzales has no right to sue her local police department for failing to protect her and her children from her estranged husband.
    In 1856, the U.S. Supreme Court (South v. Maryland) found that law enforcement officers had no affirmative duty to provide such protection. In 1982 (Bowers v. DeVito), the Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit held, "...there is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen."

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote:
    "In 1856, the U.S. Supreme Court (South v. Maryland) found that law enforcement officers had no affirmative duty to provide such protection. In 1982 (Bowers v. DeVito), the Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit held, "...there is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen."

    I would assume that when this case was settled honest citizens were probably expected to take some responsibility for their own welfare.
    Their hands probably were not tied by restrictive laws we have today.

    Nodays citizens are not expected to protect themselves. The present government frowns on such conduct. If the state prevents a person from protecting himself shoudn't the state bear some responsibility for our protection?

    Michael

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    I seem to recall that someone filed a lawsuit against some local police department. Long story short, the plaintiff lost the lawsuit. The attorney on behalf of the defendants proved that they had no legal obligation to "protect" citizens. The local police agencies "respond" to crimes once they have been committed. Sad but true.
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