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VERDICT WATCH: Initial Jury deadlock in police shooting of Walter Scott (Update: resume deliberations Monday)

VERDICT WATCH: Initial Jury deadlock in police shooting of Walter Scott (Update: resume deliberations Monday)

One holdout juror for not guilty.

You may recall the shooting killing of Walter Scott by police officer Michael Slager.

Video showing Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran away went viral.

Slager testified in his own defense at the trial. His basic defense was that he acted reasonably given the high stress situation:

The April 4, 2015, shooting stunned the nation after a bystander captured the scene on a cellphone video, images that have been played multiple times in the courtroom during Slager’s trial.

“My family has been destroyed by it. The Scott family has been destroyed by it. It’s horrible,” he said.

Slager, who is white, testified in a subdued voice that he had pulled Scott over for a broken taillight and was preparing to write him a warning ticket when Scott bolted from his car, ran down a road and into a vacant lot.

“In my mind at that time was, people don’t run for a broken taillight. There’s always another reason,” he testified. “I don’t know why he ran. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Slager described yelling “stop” and “Taser! Taser! Taser!” as he caught up to Scott.

He said he shot his Taser three times, firing both sets of electric darts before using the emptied weapon near Scott’s skin in a so-called “dry stun.”

Slager said Scott fell to the ground after he fired the second time, and he tried to subdue him, pushing him down with an elbow while holding the Taser in one hand and reaching for his radio to call for backup with the other. That was when Scott grabbed the stun gun, he said.

“He rips it out of my hand,” Slager said, demonstrating the position he said he was in.

“I knew I was in trouble,” Slager testified, adding that Scott “was extending his right arm, leaning forward and coming at me.”

“I was scared” and in “total fear that Mr. Scott didn’t stop” resisting arrest, Slager said.

The video begins at roughly this point, showing Scott breaking away from what Slager said was their confrontation over the Taser.”

At that point I pulled my firearm and pulled the trigger,” he said. “I fired until the threat was stopped as I was trained to do.”

The trial ended, and the Jury indicated in notes to the Judge that it was deadlocked with one holdout juror refusing to convict. However, the jury continued to deliberate, via Post and Courier live blog:

5:35 p.m. The jury wants to keep deliberating in the murder trial of Michael Slager.

The jury foreperson told the judge about the jury’s request Friday evening.

The request comes an hour after the jury told the judge that they were deadlocked in reaching an unanimous verdict.

The jury faces three options: a guilty verdict on murder or voluntary manslaughter, or an acquittal. If they cannot unanimously agree on either, the jury would be hung, and a mistrial would be declared.
4:20 p.m. Judge says he’s received a long note from one juror saying he “cannot consider a guilty verdict.”

“I still cannot without a reasonable doubt convict the defendant,” the juror writes. “I cannot and will not change my mind.” The judge sends the clerk to request that the jury foreperson let him know if the jurors are “hopelessly deadlocked.”

4:10 p.m. The jury has returned to the courtroom for the second time today after first coming back with a note indicating that they were deadlocked and being sent back out by the judge to try again at deliberating.

The Judge sent the jury back for more deliberation.

walter-scott-trial-courtroom-jury-deadlock

We will monitor and update if and when a verdict is reached or a mistrial declared.

UPDATE – The Jury will resume deliberations on Monday.

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Comments

So what happens if they can’t come to a decision? Is this then set down for a second trial?

Mailman

    Olinser in reply to mailman. | December 2, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    That’s up to the prosecutor. A mistrial doesn’t automatically trigger a re-trial, the prosecutor has to re-file charges.

    In a case like this it would be almost a certainty that the prosecutor would re-file, especially with an 11-1 deadlock in his favor.

    Usually you only see prosecutors decline to pursue a re-trial when it was heavily against them, or if they’ve already gone 2+ mistrials.

Most states would prosecute anyone who is not law enforcement for murder for shooting someone who was running away, regardless of whether that person was armed or not, and regardless of whether or not that person had just committed a crime. Obviously it’s the job of the officer to apprehend a suspect, but the rule (which applies equally to anyone who is armed and defending themselves from an attack) to shoot until the threat stops moving seems to me to be entirely out of context here as this particular suspect was not actively attacking the officer when he was shot, but running away. Could he have turned and run back at the officer to attack him again? Of course. In which case the officer would have been entirely justified in shooting him. But while he’s running away? Not so much. Could the suspect have run away and attacked someone else? Certainly. But in that case, we’d all be justified in shooting everyone on the off chance that they *might* commit a crime.

    Mr. Izz in reply to MrSatyre. | December 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Rules are different for cops. The suspect had shown he was willing and able to attack a police officer. If the cop were to just let him go, then that would be in direct violation of what a police officer is supposed to do. You keep mixing what regular people are required to do and what police officers are required to do. The shooting of the suspect in the back doesn’t mean anything at that point. Comparing to what you or I would do is meaningless.

      Char Char Binks in reply to Mr. Izz. | December 2, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      When dangerous felons start making a habit of fleeing by running backwards, I’ll start worrying about them getting shot in the back.

    Barry in reply to MrSatyre. | December 2, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Perhaps you missed it, the state is prosecuting this officer.

    He’s innocent IMO.

I’m hearing rumors that the judge is actually breaking SC protocols on coercion of jurors. Things like it is generally frowned in for the foreman to tell the judge or the lawyers what the split is during deliberations.

I’m curious if there is a concept “judicial misconduct” which an appellate court can find, and when they set aside a verdict can just dismiss with prejudice?

great time for some rioting or something..

Officer Slager’s story doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what’s on the video. I see/hear eight shots, apparently fired at a target some twenty feet distant and moving even further away.

Where’s the imminent deadly threat to the officer? Lacking that, a claim of self-defense is pretty tenuous.

    amwick in reply to tom swift. | December 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I read that Slager testified that he had been tased, and that he believed that Scott had the taser.
    http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2016/11/29/michael-slager-testifies-recalls-the-shooting-of-walter-scott
    It’s at this point that Slager claims Scott was able to wrestle the Taser from his hands and use the weapon against him. Later, during cross examination by Deputy Solicitor Bruce DuRant, Slager was unable to explain why he neglected to tell other officers who responded to the scene that Scott had used the Taser. While Slager had stated that Scott was able to take control of the Taser when he radioed dispatch after the shooting, it was not until speaking with SLED investigators three days later that he mentioned being tased. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist, would later testify that the gaps in Slager’s story could be attributed to the effect of stress on his ability to accurately recall exactly what took place.

Humphrey's Executor | December 2, 2016 at 6:47 pm

I wonder if the jury was instructed on the fleeing felon rule.

“Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.” Tennessee v. Garner

    Don’t know if there were jury instructions, but the prosecution actually had Slager read the text of the fleeing felon rule during cross-examination.

    Pretty much what I was taught in the Navy. Deadly force is authorized to prevent a FELON from escaping. Not someone who committed a misdemeanor, but someone who committed a felony. Attacking a police office- felony. Oh, it was made quite clear. Not that deadly force might be authorized in some circumstances, but deadly force IS authorized. It was part of a lesson where we were told we were REQUIRED to intervene to stop a felony if we felt we could reasonably do so without injuring ourselves and without causing injury to third parties.

      fogflyer in reply to gospace. | December 3, 2016 at 12:52 am

      So, how long ago was this?
      I highly doubt those are the rules of force in place today.

      Milhouse in reply to gospace. | December 3, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      That was the old fleeing felon rule, and it applied to everyone, not just policemen. If you saw a fleeing felon you had the right to shoot him to prevent him from escaping. It didn’t matter how little risk he posed to anyone; the mere fact that he had committed a felony justified capturing him by deadly force if necessary. But Tennessee v Garner struck the rule down for state actors, unless you have good reason to believe the person poses a threat of serious physical harm.

      Note that it did not strike down the rule for non-state actors; if your state’s legislature never changed the old rule, then it’s still in force for anyone who doesn’t work for the government.

    The man was pulled over for a broken tail light. Hardly makes him a felon or a threat.

    Further the article indicates the stun gun was “emptied” so even if Scott had it what possible threat would that pose at that point to warrant shooting him down from 20 feet away?

In this case, Scott obtained control of Slager’s taser and, possibly, shot Slager with it [a wire is visible coming from a point on Slager’s chest to the taser lying on the ground. If Slager was subjected to a shot duration discharge, it could have significantly affected his mental state. And, there is substantial evidence that Slager may have believed that Scott still had possession of the taser. It is interesting that Slager testified that he shot Scott while Scott was attacking him, not while Scott was fleeing. So, the question then becomes whether a reasonable man, in Slager’s position and state of mind, would have shot Scott in self defense or defense of others or to stop a violent fleeing felon, which Scott was when he attacked Slager with the taser.

Under the circumstances, it is not too hard to accept the opinion that Slager’s actions, while not what most of us would have hoped, were, in fact, legal under the law. Given the media coverage of this, I’m surprised that they have a juror who isn’t in the bag for a conviction on 1st degree homicide.

    fogflyer in reply to Mac45. | December 2, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Slager testified that he shot Scott twice with the taser, expending and ejecting both cartridges. At the time of the alleged struggle, the taser could only be used by pressing it directly against someone. No projectiles were left.

      Mac45 in reply to fogflyer. | December 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      This is an interesting article.

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/12/02/judge-newman-turns-slager-trial-into-kangaroo-court-verdict-now-irrelevant/

      Any of the criminal lawyers want to jump in here?

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | December 4, 2016 at 12:00 am

        Conservative Nuthouse?! Lol. Nothing on that site is ever worth quoting or commenting on. If a story is valid, it will appear on a more reliable site. If it doesn’t, that proves it’s not a real story.

          Char Char Binks in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm

          That’s simply a type of ad hominem attack and name-calling against the Conservative Treehouse, the same kind of attack a former friend of mine used against Legal Insurrection when I shared an article. I’ve found The Last Refuge to be full of lively and fair debate, and not at all what the left paints it to be. They can marginalize, even demonize any opposition to them simply by calling them racist, or alt-right, or whatever smear they find useful.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 2:08 pm

          Conservative Nuthouse is a sewer. It’s not “the left” that paints it that way, it paints itself that way by its content. It is utterly worthless as a source, and anyone who quotes it seriously shows himself to be utterly worthless. This is the sole “source” for the ridiculous story so many people believe about Little Saint Trayvon having been out buying the ingredients for “purple drank”, and that when his alleged girlfriend claimed he’d called Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker” this was a homophobic slur. Both stories have no basis in fact, but they’re an article of faith among those who use the Nuthouse for their news.

          Char Char Binks in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm

          Some people may have said those things about Trayvon at the Conservative Treehouse, or Last Refuge, or whatever they call it, and plenty of people there argued against them, including I. The “purple drank” angle is unsubstantiated, a dead end, and totally irrelevant to the case, IMHO and Rachel Jeantel herself said “crazy-ass cracker”, or “creepy-ass cracker” was about Zimmerman being a gay rapist, but that was the lie she made up to tell Piers Morgan after the trial, not before or during it.

          Breitbart may have its faults, but it has provided important commentary and uncovered some important evidence in the Slager case, and others. No source can be trusted completely and without question, but calling the CT a sewer is unfair.

if only one juror is holding out, the case presented must have been strong or the defense attorney phoned it in on the day the jury was selected.

    fogflyer in reply to Andy. | December 2, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Well, he got a jury of six white males, 5 white females and one black male, so I think he did okay.

    The video makes the case.
    It is hard to get past seeing Slager shoot Scott when he is over 15 feet away and running away from Slager. Even more damning is watching Slager go over and pick up his taser and drop it by Scott. That reeks of planting evidence, even though he did pick it back up maments later.

    What would be tough for me though is that if this shooting took place two seconds earlier when the struggle was happening and Scott had the taser, the shooting would have been totally justified. So now, two seconds later the shooting demands I send I guy to prison for 30 years? See, that is tough for me.

    Can we demand that an officer, who is still human, ignore the adrenaline, the tunnel vision and the high anxiety that comes from a chase and struggle where the officer’s life may be in danger, and realize in those two seconds that the situation has went from a legal use of lethal force to one that will now be criminal? It is a lot to demand of a person and an extraordinarily harsh penalty for failing the test.

    I am very conflicted on this one.
    It was a bad shoot, no way around that, but this officer didn’t go out looking to kill someone that day.
    He had to deal with a guy fleeing arrest, fighting with him and allegedly trying to taze him. I am not sure I could convict. I might be that lone holdout myself.

      Barry in reply to fogflyer. | December 2, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      “It was a bad shoot”

      Not for a police officer that has just been attacked and is charged with the responsibility to protect the public from a fleeing felon.

      Even as a private citizen I would question if it were a “bad shoot” after being attacked (legal issues aside). For a police officer it is a responsibility to stop the attacker.

        fogflyer in reply to Barry. | December 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        The fleeing felon case was not used as a defense in this case.
        I also think one would be hard-pressed to claim Scott, even you thought he was armed with a taser, would pose a great risk of serious physical,harm to the general public that required using lethal force. That would be more of a question on how case law has played out for that defense.

        I can tell you that here in California the law states that a private citizen can use lethal force to stop someone from committing a felony, but lord help you if you shoot a guy stealing your car. Case law has looked very unfavorably on those that have tried.

        When I said “bad shoot”, I really only meant that it didn’t look good and that it was the wrong decision, not necessarily an illegal one. Out of all the stupid shootings that BLM has protested, you have to admit that this one has the most merit, not that it is a particularly high hurdle considering most of the cases they protest.

          Barry in reply to fogflyer. | December 3, 2016 at 1:12 am

          From my reading the “defense” in this case are rank amateurs.

          My opinion had nothing to do with what was presented, just an opinion based on the facts. Attacking a police officer is a felony. The response by the officer was therefore entirely appropriate.

          Why you would think a person that attacks a police officer presents no threat to the public puzzles me. How would the officer know this? He has been attacked. He is supposed to make the determination that the attacker is no threat based upon what?

          In the end, this case is a simple one. While the visual from the video looked bad in the beginning, the actual evidence is overwhelming. The officer is not guilty of any violation of law. He lawfully pulled over a vehicle for a traffic offense, the driver fled, then attacked the police officer. Any police officer doing his job would take that as evidence of a violent threat to the public.

This judge seems to be playing fast and loose with forcing the jury to deliberate after one has said and handed in a written note, that he would not convict.. There may be issues with how all that happened. Coercion and all that.

    amwick in reply to amwick. | December 2, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    In a tweet from CBS JUST IN: Judge in the trial of Michael Slager, officer who shot and killed Walter Scott, asks for undecided juror to be replaced.

    So they want to get rid of the one person that would not convict? Is that even possible?? It looks like this judge was not exactly impartial.

      RodFC in reply to amwick. | December 2, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Googling “slager replace juror” I came across this slightly down the line:
      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/12/02/judge-newman-turns-slager-trial-into-kangaroo-court-verdict-now-irrelevant/

      I mention it because it contains the note the juror sent.

      The replacement juror rumor is not that rampant. CBS and Business insider, so it may just be a rumor. Possibly one thought up by a SJW or BLMer. A lot of areas dismiss alternates once deliberations begin. To send for one now after being dismissed would mean the alternate could possibly have been tainted after dismissal.

      I don’t see cause to replace the juror, except possibly that he no longer deliberates, but if he was deliberating voluntarily for the first few days then saying “my mind is made up” now just means that deliberations are starting to go in cicles. That is not a valid reason for replacement.

      Olinser in reply to amwick. | December 3, 2016 at 12:24 am

      There are any number of reasons that a juror could be removed at any point in the trial.

      Once a trial has started the typical reasons to replace jurors is for some form of misconduct (improper contact with either plaintiff/defendant or their lawyers, for instance), if a previously undisclosed relationship with somebody in the trial came to light, or if there is some compelling evidence that they were biased prior to the trial and thus not capable of reaching a fair verdict.

      It IS possible to remove a juror for declaring that they will vote guilty/not guilty, but only if it can be proven they intend to convict/acquit regardless of the evidence or the law (i.e. stating they would vote to acquit a guilty person ‘because the law is wrong’).

I have a question about a seeming contradiction I don’t understand.

I get that an officer has a duty to take down a fleeing suspect that has just demonstrated he is a threat to society (ie felony assault of an LEO) and I agree with the principle.

But haven’t the courts ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect us (ie society).

How do you square those two points?

    fogflyer in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Hopefully an attorney will jump in with an answer better than mine, but I believe your premise is incorrect.

    An officer does not have a DUTY to use lethal force against a fleeing felon, he is simply allowed to if they reasonably perceive that person to be a serious physical threat to the public. in general, I think you are going to have a hard time if you didn’t reasonably think the fleeing felon was armed with a knife or a gun and likely to use it on somebody else.

    Barry in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 1:21 am

    “How do you square those two points?”

    They do not need to be “squared”. There is no “contradiction”.

    Not being required is not the same as not being allowed.

    The felon had just proved he was a danger to the public by attacking the police officer. The officer was justified in stopping the fleeing felon with deadly force.

    There is no requirement that someone possess a knife or gun to be considered a deadly threat.

      fogflyer in reply to Barry. | December 3, 2016 at 1:51 am

      “The felon had just proved he was a danger to the public by attacking the police officer. The officer was justified in stopping the fleeing felon with deadly force.”

      Barry, I am not a lawyer, but I don’t know of any state except Texas that allows a citizen or a police officer to use lethal force unless there is an imminent danger of great bodily injury or death to someone involved.

      You claim that physically resisting arrest meets that criteria and allows using lethal force against the suspect, but I really don’t think the law backs you up on that. In this situation I do not believe the law would justify lethal force against Scott when he was fleeing unarmed.

      Why do you think Slager’s attorneys did not use that defense? Do you think they are that inept?
      I believe it is because they know they would have a difficult time proving to the jury that Scott was such a threat to society that he had to be killed. No, much better to go with the self-defense tactic as that was there best bet.

      Now mind you, I am not saying this is how the law should be, I am just saying this is how the law is currently interpreted to the best of my knowledge.

        “but I don’t know of any state except Texas that allows a citizen or a police officer to use lethal force unless there is an imminent danger of great bodily injury or death to someone involved.”

        SCOTUS ruled in Tennessee V Garner:

        “This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of an apparently unarmed suspected felon. We conclude that such force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

        http://www.augustana.edu/users/Podehnel/cases/Garner%20ed.htm

        So as an example, when Micheal Brown attacked Officer Wilson and then ran away, Wilson was legally allowed to use lethal force to stop him. If Wilson had instead been a mere civilian, Brown breaking contact and fleeing would have ended the encounter and lethal force in self-defense would not have been legal.

        But Police Officers are empowered to use lethal force against a suspect they deem poses a significant threat to “others”. My take is that it means anyone willing to use violence against a police officer is by default a significant threat to others.

          fogflyer in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 10:03 am

          You realize that your own link shows that the Tennessee law allowing use of deadly force on a fleeing felon was ruled unconstitutional and added the requirement that the fleeing suspect most pose an imminent danger to the public or the officer if deadly force is to be used.

          Mind you, I am all for a law allowing the use of deadly force against fleeing felons, I am just stating that I don’t believe the SCOTUS sees it that way.

          Milhouse in reply to Fen. | December 4, 2016 at 12:06 am

          So as an example, when Micheal Brown attacked Officer Wilson and then ran away, Wilson was legally allowed to use lethal force to stop him. If Wilson had instead been a mere civilian, Brown breaking contact and fleeing would have ended the encounter and lethal force in self-defense would not have been legal.

          On the contrary, under Tennessee v Garner a “mere civilian” (to use your inaccurate term) can rely on the fleeing felon rule (if it still exists in that state). Only a policeman can’t.

        Barry in reply to fogflyer. | December 3, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        You need to read carefully, both what I said and the SC decision Fen cited.

        “It is not, however, unconstitutional on its face. Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given. As applied in such circumstances, the Tennessee statute would pass constitutional muster.”

        What part of “Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force.” do you not comprehend?

          fogflyer in reply to Barry. | December 4, 2016 at 12:09 am

          I comprehend all of it.
          The part we disagree on is that the act of fighting with a police officer and then fleeing unarmed meets the definition of “poses a threat of serious physical harm to the public ” once he is fleeing unarmed.

          Can you sight any case where a cop shot an unarmed man who was running away and whose only felony was resisting arrest and fighting with the cop trying to make the arrest?

          Barry in reply to Barry. | December 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm

          “Can you sight any case…”

          No, and not going to waste my time looking. You’re squeamishness is not my problem. I’ve explained why the officer is not guilty, why any reasonable person would understand what the officer did, using deadly force to stop a man that had just attacked the officer. There are, I’m quite sure, many similar cases that never come to trial.

          Here is a question – Name a case involving the death of a white man shot by the police. I’ll wait.

          Couldn’t do it. Because it doesn’t make the news. Because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

          Had Scott been white, we wouldn’t be discussing this case. The officer would not have been charged.

        Barry in reply to fogflyer. | December 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        “Why do you think Slager’s attorneys did not use that defense? Do you think they are that inept?”

        Absolutely. Already stated that. In the coming retrial he will have new counsel.

How do you square those two points?”

Barry: “They do not need to be ‘squared’. There is no ‘contradiction'”

Don’t be an ass. I’m asking because I don’t know

“Not being required is not the same as not being allowed.”

Yes, I know, “may” and “shall”…

“The felon had just proved he was a danger to the public by attacking the police officer. The officer was justified in stopping the fleeing felon with deadly force.”

Yes, I already made that point. So no need to convince me.

“There is no requirement that someone possess a knife or gun to be considered a deadly threat.”

Duh. We’ve been over this several times with the “unarmed” nonsense re Martin and Brown. I’ve even cited FBI stats here showing the number of people killed by fists every year. So again, no need to explain that to me.

Maybe if you weren’t trying to be a big shot you could have applied some reading comprehension and actually addressed the question I was asking.

So again, my understanding from examples like the Micheal Brown shooting is that the police are obligated to stop a fleeing subject who has demonstrated he is a menace to society (ie attacking law enforcement). That’s why Wilson could fire at Brown as he was running away, something a civilian can not legally do.

But I also recall a recent court case that ruled police have no responsibility to come to the aid of members of society.

I may be confusing the terms, I may have a fuzzy recollection of the court ruling, I may be using definitions that are not precise. If so, it would be cool if you could extend me the courtesy of correcting my ignorance without involving your Small Penis Syndrome. Thanks.

    fogflyer in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Michael Nrown was NOT running away.
    The blood spatter and shell casing make it clear that Michael Brown was advancing on the officer when he was shot. Had he been running away, the outcome would have probably been much different.

    I would like you to show me one case where an unarmed man fought with police and then subsequently shot while fleeing. I know of no case law that suggests that once someone fights was with an officer (resists arrest) that you can shoot them down when they run away, even if unarmed.

    Again, in this particular case, that is not even being used as a defense.
    The defense is going with a simple self-defense stance. Slager was in reasonable fear of great bodily harm when he shot Scott.

    Barry in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Well, ass, don’t ask a question if you don’t want an answer. There was no contradiction to be “squared”. The rest of your comment is just BS.

    Barry in reply to Fen. | December 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    “…Small Penis Syndrome. Thanks.”

    You’re as juvenile as your buddy Rags. No wonder y’all love each other so much.

StandingAthwartHistory | December 3, 2016 at 5:52 am

“How do you square those two points?”

If I recall correctly, the ruling(s) that police lack a duty to protect citizens arose when someone tried to hold a police officer/department liable when someone wasn’t protected. It may have been a case where a known assailant was able to harm a victim (e.g., there was a restraining order and the victim called the police, identifying the threat/assailant, and the police didn’t get there in time to stop/prevent the harm). When the victim (or the family) sued, they alleged that the police were negligent in protecting the victim.

In order to prevail on a negligence claim, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant owed a duty to the specific plaintiff. Since the court found there was no duty to protect specific individuals, the plaintiff lost the lawsuit (i.e., if defendant didn’t owe a duty to the plaintiff, then whether the defendant’s actions were reasonable is irrelevant).

My recollection of the take-away of the case(s) is that the duty owed by police is to try to solve crimes after they happen; they have no duty to prevent crimes from occurring to specific people.

I did some checking to confirm my recollection. Here’s some specific instances of the principle (or a variation of it) being applied (beware, the facts are very unpleasant):

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-have-a-constitutional-duty-to-protect.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

I’m not very familiar with the fleeing felony rule, but it seems the two principles can be “squared” based on the authority for an officer to use such force as is necessary to stop a specific felon, but no specific person has a claim against the officer if he doesn’t stop the felon.

I hope that helps some.

* SHRUG* if Scott had not done what he had done he would still be alive

This was a bad shooting. (See the period?)

There’s nothing to “square”. The police have a general duty to society to try to prevent crime. They have no specific duty to any individual to prevent any specific crime. They may choose to ignore a crime, for instance because they’re busy doing something they consider more important, or because they think preventing this crime will cause more crimes to be committed, while letting it go will calm things down.

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