This is an incomplete list of case law that I think is relevant. I posted this on my FB page, and it surprised a lot of my friends (who do not carry and are under the false supposition that police are required to protect them).
Is it the police? or are you responsible for your and your family's safety? What are you doing to ensure your safety and protect you and your family? Hoping something bad won't happen to you is not a plan.
Here is what the courts have to say about police and their duty to protect individuals. Be prepared to be surprised.
Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981), states: “fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.” The court ruled that the state has no duty to provide public goods, thus the police have no obligation to protect and thus do not even have to come to your assistance.
Riss v. City of New York, 22 N.Y.2d 579, 293 NYS2d 897, 240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y. Ct. of Ap. 1958); a woman who telephoned police to beg for protection from her boyfriend sued the city for its failure to protect her from an assault in which he threw lye in her face, blinding her in one eye, damaging the other and scarring her face. The city denied responsibility, and the courts agreed. Dissenting opinion: What makes the City's position particularly difficult to understand is that, in conformity to the dictates of the law, Linda did not carry any weapon for self-defense. Thus by a rather bitter irony she was required to rely for protection on the City of New York which now denies all responsibility to her
Keane v. City of Chicago, 98 Ill. App.2d 460, 240 N.E.2d 321 (1968); On 20 April 1961, Josephine M. Keane, a teacher in the Chicago City Public Schools was assaulted and killed on school premises by a student enrolled in the school. Keane's family sued the City of Chicago, claiming that, "the City was negligent in failing to assign police protection to the school, although it knew or should have known that failure to provide this protection would result in harm to persons lawfully on the premises (because) it knew or should have known of the dangerous condition then existing at the school." The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Presiding Judge Burke of the Appeals Court held that, "Failure on the part of a municipality to exercise a government function does not, without more, expose the municipality to liability." Justice Burke went on to say that: "To hold that under the circumstances alleged in the complaint the City owed a special duty' to Mrs. Keane for the safety and well being of her person would impose an all but impossible burden upon the City, considering the numerous police, fire, housing and other laws, ordinances and regulations in force."
Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1983): Absent a special relationship, therefore, the police may not be held liable for failure to protect a particular individual from harm caused by criminal conduct. A special relationship exists if the police employ an individual in aid of law enforcement, but does not exist merely because an individual requests, or a police officer promises to provide protection
Lynch v. N.C.Dept. of Justice, 376 S.E.2nd 247 (N.C.App. 1989). The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that: "the defendant law enforcement agencies and officers did not owe them (the children - ed.) any legal duty of care, the breach of which caused their injury and death ...Our law is that in the absence of a special relationship, such as exists when a victim is in custody or the police have promised to protect a particular person, law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect the individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public
Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 61 (7th Cir. 1982). U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that:.. there is no Constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order
Deshaney v. Winnebago County 489 U.S. 189 (1989). A State's failure to protect an individual against private violence generally does not constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause, because the Clause imposes no duty on the State to provide members of the general public with adequate protective services. The Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State's power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security; while it forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, its language cannot fairly be read to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means.
Castle Rock v. Gonzalez 545 U.S. 748 (2005). was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the court ruled, 7-2, that a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband.
South v. Maryland, 59 U.S. (How.) 396, 15 L.Ed., 433 (856)].1856: the U.S. Supreme Court declared that local law enforcement had no duty to protect a particular person, but only a general duty to enforce the laws.
Hartzer v. City of San Jose, App., 120 Cal.Rptr 5 (1975)]. The California Court of Appeal held that any claim against the police department: "is barred by the provisions of the California Tort Claims Act, particularly section 845, which states: Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for failure to establish a police department or otherwise provide police protection service or, if police protection service is provided, for failure to provide sufficient police protection
Chapman v. City of Philadelphia, 434 A.2d 753 (Sup.Ct. Penn. 1981): The duty of the City of Philadelphia to provide police protection is a public one which may not be claimed by an individual unless a special relationship exists between the city and the individual. A special relationship is generally found to exist only in cases in which an individual is exposed to a special danger and the authorities have undertaken the responsibility to provide adequate protection for him...[The plaintiffs] urge this court to proclaim a sweeping duty of protection in the law of tort, far beyond anything any court or indeed our own State legislature has been willing to recognize.
Davidson v. City of Westminster, 32 C.3d 197, 185 Cal.Rptr. 252, 649 P.2d 894 (S.Ct. Cal. 1982): a man stabbed Yolanda Davidson while she was using a laundromat. At the time of the stabbing, police officers had the laundromat under surveillance for the purpose of preventing assaults and apprehending the perpetrator of three stabbings that had occurred there or at nearby laundromats. Thus, the officers knew Davidson was in the laundromat. When the officers saw the man enter and leave the laundromat several times, they believed that he was the likely perpetrator of at least one of the prior assaults. Nevertheless, the officers did not warn Davidson, and she eventually was stabbed inside the laundromat. (Id. at p. 201.) The Supreme Court concluded the officers had no duty to warn or to otherwise protect Davidson