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Old 18th December 2018, 09:03 AM   #1
Ranb
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Police Duty to Protect

Judge tosses Parkland shooting lawsuit. Cops and schools had no duty to protect students, she says.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/jud...uqc?ocid=ientp
Quote:
A federal judge says Broward schools and the Sheriff's Office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis in February. The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff's Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.

Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.
I've read in the past about how the police in the USA are required to protect society in general, not actual persons.

Does this attitude exist in countries other than the USA?

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Old 18th December 2018, 12:43 PM   #2
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To paraphrase Stan Lee "With Great Power comes No responsibility" A true motto for US policing.
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Old 18th December 2018, 12:55 PM   #3
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I said, "I want a gun to defend myself."

They said, "nonsense! The police will defend you!"

The police said, "yeah, about that..."
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Old 18th December 2018, 01:36 PM   #4
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My favorite part of this is in most states there's some law in the books, sometimes a separate stand alone law, sometimes part of "Obstruction of Justice" or similar legal construct that makes it illegal to refuse to assist (with "assist" ranging from not hindering to actually refusing to assist them in more direct proactive manner) a police officer.

So citizens are required to assist police offers do things the police officers aren't required to do.
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Old 18th December 2018, 04:25 PM   #5
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English (and probably UK) law has recently shifted (case law not statute).
1) The judges held unanimously that the state (in this case the Metropolitan Police Service) does have a duty to investigate serious violent crimes which amount to arguably inhuman and degrading treatment (in breach of Article 3 of the ECHR) effectively, independently and promptly. It can be sued where it fails to do so. The case was persons raped by a serial rapist, the victims argued successfully they would not have been raped if an effective investigation had been carried out sooner.
2) Police generally do not owe a duty of care to individual members of the public in the performance of their investigative function, to protect them from harm caused by criminals. In other words, there is no "duty to protect" members of the public. Police are usually under a duty of care to protect an individual from a danger which the Police themselves have created.

There is not a general duty of care for the police to protect a particular individual. The state has responsibilities under the human rights act to protect life. So it may be possible to claim against the police if their action or inaction endangered your life but circumstances would be particular, and there would have to be serious or systemic failures by the police. But if the police create the danger, e.g. by opening fire (unnecessarily) in a crowded mall or driving through a red light then they are vulnerable to a claim for negligence.

Last edited by Planigale; 18th December 2018 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 18th December 2018, 06:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
The AFP's role is to enforce Commonwealth criminal law, contribute to combating complex, transnational, serious and organised crime impacting Australia's national security and to protect Commonwealth interests from criminal activity in Australia and overseas. The AFP also has responsibility for providing policing services to the Australian Capital Territory and Australia's territories, including Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Norfolk Island and Jervis Bay.
Excerpt from the website of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) - Our Organisation.

The emphasis here is to protect "Commonwealth interests". A little further down the page, one of the areas of operational emphases is "protecting Australians and Australian interests from terrorism and violent extremism", and a continued responsibility is "a national protection capability to ensure the protection of specific individuals, establishments and events identified by the Australian Government as being at risk."

The Mission Statement of the Australian Federal Police is "As Australia's national policing agency we protect Australians and Australia's interests."

I hope that answers your question for the case of Australia.
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Old 18th December 2018, 07:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
I've read in the past about how the police in the USA are required to protect society in general, not actual persons.

Does this attitude exist in countries other than the USA?

It's a basic tenet of western law. The government generally has no duty except that which it affirmatively accepts. It becomes clearer when you just make the situation a little different in any direction. Instead of the school resource officer at MSD being right by the school, imagine he was actually inside it, with the shooter to his left and a bunch of children to his right. Can the government reasonably command this guy to die to save the children?

Imagine there is a wounded child within view of paramedics, but shots are still being fired. If they get to her in the next five seconds, she lives. Otherwise, she dies. Should they be required to run into a hail of bullets to save her life?

Let's go the other way: Imagine you're a police officer and see a dangerous shooter 100 feet from you. Let's pretend that you have a duty to intervene. But now imagine he's 100 yards from you. Do you still have the same duty? 1 mile? 1,000 miles? Obviously, there's some number of feet at which your duty to at least try to render assistance disappears. So, how do you calculate that number?

How about by crime? If you see a man holding a gun on a woman, you might intervene. But what if he's holding a frying pan? What if he's unarmed and she has a bruise? How do you calculate when to use force against a possible assailant in that situation?

The answer for governments is that you don't. Otherwise, the courts would be awash in civil suits from people who claim police could have intervened but didn't. And then you'd have juries arguing over just how fast the police officer could have run wearing his gear? Or whether there are different standards for women, who are lighter. Does a normally fit police officer have a different standard than one who really hits the gym and was a track star in high school?

It just becomes a mess. Thus, the government won't have anything to do with it. Except where the government legislates itself a mandate, it owes no duty to its citizens.


Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
My favorite part of this is in most states there's some law in the books, sometimes a separate stand alone law, sometimes part of "Obstruction of Justice" or similar legal construct that makes it illegal to refuse to assist (with "assist" ranging from not hindering to actually refusing to assist them in more direct proactive manner) a police officer.

So citizens are required to assist police offers do things the police officers aren't required to do.

No, that's just not true. You can't purposefully retard the work of the police, there is no duty to assist them. If a cop asks you to hold his coffee so he can jump in front of a train to stop it from hitting a group of kindergarteners, you can stand there like a statue. You never, ever are required to assist the police (except that you are generally required to identify yourself and comply with warrants).

The whole thing on TV where the cops threaten a witness with obstruction of justice is nonsense. Sometimes the better shows will have one cop say to the other, "We know it's not obstruction, but the witness might not so let's bluff."

Exceptions also apply at the border, where you may be required to answer questions and submit to searches that you could normally refuse.

Also, if the government prevents a citizen from helping himself, the government may be required to render aid. So, if I have the flu, I may or may not choose to see a doctor. But if I'm in jail, the government is preventing me from going to the doctor or anywhere at all, really. Thus, the government has to provide me that aid.
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Old 19th December 2018, 09:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
No, that's just not true. You can't purposefully retard the work of the police, there is no duty to assist them. If a cop asks you to hold his coffee so he can jump in front of a train to stop it from hitting a group of kindergarteners, you can stand there like a statue. You never, ever are required to assist the police (except that you are generally required to identify yourself and comply with warrants).
No you are incorrect.

This is the actual literal letter of the state law here in Florida. It's not worded as a passive "You can't hinder" but as an active "You are required to assist."

Quote:
Chapter 843.06 Neglect or refusal to aid peace officers .— Whoever, being required in the name of the state by any officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, police officer, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, neglects or refuses to assist him or her in the execution of his or her office in a criminal case, or in the preservation of the peace, or the apprehending or securing of any person for a breach of the peace, or in case of the rescue or escape of a person arrested upon civil process, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
This is specifically distinct and separate from Obstruction of Justice.

This concept is revisted again in Chapter 843.04, this time pertaining to apprehending escapees.

Quote:
Refusing to assist prison officers in arresting escaped convicts.—
(1) All prison officers and correctional officers shall immediately arrest any convict, held under the provisions of law, who may have escaped. Any such officer or guard may call upon the sheriff or other officer of the state, or of any county or municipal corporation, or any citizen, to make search and arrest such convict.
(2) Any officer or citizen refusing to assist shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
And again this is a separate and distinct from "Aiding and abetting escape" which is covered in another chapter.
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Old 19th December 2018, 09:16 AM   #9
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Here we have the "Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012" which has in Section 20, duties;

"Constables: general duties

(1)It is the duty of a constable—

(a)to prevent and detect crime,

(b)to maintain order,

(c)to protect life and property,

(d)to take such lawful measures, and make such reports to the appropriate prosecutor, as may be needed to bring offenders with all due speed to justice,

(e)where required, to serve and execute a warrant, citation or deliverance issued, or process duly endorsed, by a Lord Commissioner of Justiciary, sheriff, justice of the peace or stipendiary magistrate in relation to criminal proceedings, and

(f)to attend court to give evidence.

(2)When taking lawful measures in pursuance of subsection (1)(d), a constable must take every precaution to ensure that a person charged with an offence is not unreasonably or unnecessarily detained in custody.

(3)Subsection (2) does not prejudice the operation of section 135(3) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (c.46)."

Failure to do the above is a neglect of duty and a disciplinary and/or criminal offence depending on what was not done.
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Old 19th December 2018, 03:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
No you are incorrect.

This is the actual literal letter of the state law here in Florida. It's not worded as a passive "You can't hinder" but as an active "You are required to assist."

You're absolutely right about the letter of Florida law. I cannot find any case law that constrains it in any way. I can barely find a single case where the statute was even applied. One middle Florida appellate court found the statute not to be unconstitutionally overbroad but didn't give any specifics regarding the facts.

I'll keep looking into it. Thanks.
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Old 19th December 2018, 04:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
No you are incorrect.



This is the actual literal letter of the state law here in Florida. It's not worded as a passive "You can't hinder" but as an active "You are required to assist."







This is specifically distinct and separate from Obstruction of Justice.



This concept is revisted again in Chapter 843.04, this time pertaining to apprehending escapees.







And again this is a separate and distinct from "Aiding and abetting escape" which is covered in another chapter.
Funny the way "that's what the law says, so that's how it works" becomes a perfectly cromulent argument, in the mouth of one of the More Equal Than Others.
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Old 19th December 2018, 04:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Funny the way "that's what the law says, so that's how it works" becomes a perfectly cromulent argument, in the mouth of one of the More Equal Than Others.
What are you babbling about?
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Old 19th December 2018, 04:50 PM   #13
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Cruz was reported to the police - but, as any woman who's tried to file a restraining order against an ex will tell you, police say until he does something criminal, we can't act.

Why aren't they suing his mum's estate, said to be worth quite a bit? Why punish the taxpayers (who will be footing the bill for a case decided against the sheriff's office)?
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Old 19th December 2018, 06:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Funny the way "that's what the law says, so that's how it works" becomes a perfectly cromulent argument, in the mouth of one of the More Equal Than Others.

No, he's right. That's what Florida law says and I can't find a single case where the law was found unconstitutional. Actually, it appears that every time anyone tries to even bring up that specific statute in a suit against the state, courts go out of their way to explain that the law really didn't apply in that case and so they're just going to ignore it.

In one notable case, police were trying to break up a crowd when one young man yelled, "Don't listen to them!" The police told him to shut up. When he didn't, they arrested him for obstruction. In his appeal, he tried to raise the "assist police" statute as one of the reasons his arrest was unconstitutional. The court actually said the statute did not apply because police told him to do something, but didn't explicitly ask him to help them keep the peace.

That right there is a fine example of judges flat-out refusing to judge something. As a rule, judges hate judging things.
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Old 20th December 2018, 06:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
What are you babbling about?
Just thinking about the skeptical approach to arguments of this form in the Queen of Canada thread.
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Old 20th December 2018, 06:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Just thinking about the skeptical approach to arguments of this form in the Queen of Canada thread.
Yeah, that's what I thought you meant.
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Old 20th December 2018, 06:58 AM   #17
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Okay can we just issue everyone one small stack of "Backhanded, passive aggressive references to 'skepticism'" cards once a year and when they play them all out they have to stop?
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Old 20th December 2018, 07:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Here we have the "Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012" which has in Section 20, duties;

"Constables: general duties

(1)It is the duty of a constable—

(a)to prevent and detect crime,

(b)to maintain order,

(c)to protect life and property,

(d)to take such lawful measures, and make such reports to the appropriate prosecutor, as may be needed to bring offenders with all due speed to justice,

(e)where required, to serve and execute a warrant, citation or deliverance issued, or process duly endorsed, by a Lord Commissioner of Justiciary, sheriff, justice of the peace or stipendiary magistrate in relation to criminal proceedings, and

(f)to attend court to give evidence.

(2)When taking lawful measures in pursuance of subsection (1)(d), a constable must take every precaution to ensure that a person charged with an offence is not unreasonably or unnecessarily detained in custody.

(3)Subsection (2) does not prejudice the operation of section 135(3) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (c.46)."

Failure to do the above is a neglect of duty and a disciplinary and/or criminal offence depending on what was not done.
That doesn't say much. It takes half a second to start presenting scenarios of competing priorities of of increasing risk for it to break.
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Old 20th December 2018, 03:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
That doesn't say much. It takes half a second to start presenting scenarios of competing priorities of of increasing risk for it to break.
And yet, the police force somehow continues to operate.
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Old 20th December 2018, 04:14 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
And yet, the police force somehow continues to operate.
Whiche means simply writing those rules doesn't explain what actually happens.
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Old 11th January 2019, 02:40 PM   #21
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Florida governor to suspend Sheriff Scott Israel over Parkland massacre response

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/11/us/fl...ion/index.html

Quote:
The Florida sheriff whose office responded to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will be suspended by the state's new governor Friday, a source familiar with the process told CNN.

Soon after the February 14 mass shooting, Israel faced criticism about his agency's response, including calls for his resignation. A recent draft report by a public safety commission tasked with investigating the shooting found several failures and missteps, including among some of Israel's deputies.
Many members of the FL legislature had asked that action be taken against the sheriff.

Quote:
The report also said former Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, was "derelict in his duty" and "failed to act consistent with his training and fled to a position of personal safety" during the mass shooting. Peterson instructed deputies to stay away from the building where the shootings took place, the draft said.
You know your actions as a police officer were inadequate when your name entered in Wikipedia sends you here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonem...ficer_response
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