Dear Police Officer: Your Badge is NOT a Permit to Break the Law

This is going to be a touchy post, but it is another discussion that must be had.  It goes hand-in-hand with my post, New, Universal “Get Out of Jail Free” DefenseIn this case, I am reacting to this story:

Police Fatally Shoot Grandfather, 72, While Searching the Wrong Home for Burglar, Blame ‘Poor Lighting’

I’m sorry, but these officers committed negligent manslaughter.  They cannot claim self-defense because, by their own admission, they were in the wrong house.  That means they had no “probable cause,’ nor was any warrant they may have had valid because it wasn’t for that property.  That means the officers were breaking several laws by being on the man’s property.  That means they are not entitled to any protection from their badge.  They were criminals at the time this happened.  And that means, they were no different than the guy in this story who tried to claim self-defense:

S.C. Supreme Court Abruptly Halts Murder Trial to Hear Arguments on ‘Stand Your Ground’ — After an Armed Intruder Uses It to Justify Killing a Homeowner

Gregg Isaac testified in court this week that he entered the apartment of Antonio Corbitt in 2005 with another man, Tavares World, after World kicked in the door, The State newspaper reported. Isaac testified that as World and Corbitt fought, it looked like Corbitt was going to pull a gun and shoot Isaac, so instead, Isaac shot Corbitt twice. Corbitt stumbled outside and died.

Isaac said he also feared for his life from World, because World had threatened to kill him unless he went along with him.

Isaac’s defense attorney Mark Schnee argued that his client should be granted immunity from prosecution because South Carolina’s 2006 “stand your ground” law allows people to use deadly force if they fear for their lives.

“It borders on the preposterous for the defendant in this case to claim he was acting lawfully and had the right to kill Mr. Corbitt,” Judge Clifton Newman said in court.

BTW: there are many other cases like this one where the “self-defense” claim didn’t work.

Maybe the defendant in this case, Isaac, shouldn’t have used “Stand Your Ground” as a defense.  Maybe he should have said it was “inadvertent entry due to low lighting.”

Either way, it doesn’t matter: the cops here were wrong and should be held accountable as though it had been you and I breaking into that mans house.  The moment they step outside the law, officers cease to be officers and become nothing more than common criminals.  Writing the law so that the badge protects them from such criminal acts is an abomination.  It bastardises the law and makes a mockery of justice.

Now, before you try to defend the police, understand that I am not attacking the police because – as I just explained – I do not consider these two men to have been cops at the time this happened.  Also, if we are going to hold the military accountable for murder in connection to the death of enemy combatants in combat, then we had damned well better hold the police to that same standard.  Either that, or private citizens should be allowed to start claiming they aren’t guilty because whatever they did was “inadvertent,” or due to bad light.

One thought on “Dear Police Officer: Your Badge is NOT a Permit to Break the Law

  1. The Anchorage Police Department has murdered six Alaskan citizens in 2013 during traffic stops. They always have an excuse for why they did it. Five of the dead were unarmed at the time — though I suppose you could make the case that the one who tried to drive his car away had a weapon — the car. So far, the APD has come up with a few new procedures for how to handle traffic stops, but no cops have been fired or jailed — and they should be.

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