Do the Police Have an Obligation to Protect You?

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The Uvalde School District Police Department in Texas has been criticized for failing to stop school shooters who shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.

While the shooters were in two adjacent classrooms, 19 law enforcement officers stood outside for nearly an hour while waiting for tactical equipment to arrive.

Colonel Stephen McLaugh, Department of Public Safety, Texas Called it “Wrong decision. Duration. No excuse.” Calling the response “100% flawed,” Thor Eells, The Managing Director of the National Tactical Officers Association said:“If you are in a classroom with innocent victims and know that ammunition has been fired, I need to hire you.”

Unfortunately, the victim’s family has little legal action against the police, as police officers are usually protected from proceedings. Limited immunity.. Police occasionally face the consequences of their actions, such as when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.However, criminal accusations against police officers who failed to protect the public Extremely rare..

Questions about police obligations

Motto, “Protect and serveThe first made by the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1950s has been widely copied by police around the world. But to be precise, what is the legal obligation of police officers to protect people? Must Do they endanger their lives in dangerous situations like Uvalde?

The answer is no.

In the case of 1981 Warren vs. Washington District, The DC Appeal Court ruled that police have a general “public service”, but “there is no specific legal obligation” unless there is a special relationship between the police officer and an individual such as a detainee. ..

The US Supreme Court also ruled that police have no specific obligation to protect. With a decision in 1989 Deshany vs Winnebago County Social Welfare DepartmentThe judge ruled that the social welfare department was not obliged to protect the boy from his abusive father. In the 2005sCastle lock v.Gonzales, The woman accused police of failing to protect her from her husband after kidnapping and killing her three children in violation of the detention order. The judge said the police had no such obligation.

Recently, the 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals Upheld the lower court ruling Police could not be held liable for failing to protect students in the 2018 shootings that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Police guidelines

Police have protocols for dealing with dangerous situations such as Uvalde and Parkland, and these protocols emphasize the need for police to take immediate action. The International Police Chiefs AssociationFor example, “Acting during a lively shooter incident, rather than waiting for a specially equipped and trained officer, can save lives and prevent serious injuries. The time lost due to delays in action is added. May result in casualties. “

The IACP provides guidance on how police officers in such situations can assess how to proceed with their prompt response.

No matter how they do it, it’s probably very dangerous. They may be endangering their lives.

But, as the court decided, they are not obliged to do that.

So the next time you see a police car stamped on the door with “protect and serve”, keep in mind that they have no constitutional obligation to do so.

If you need police to protect you, all you can do is want them to do so.

You don’t have to solve this yourself – with the help of a lawyer

Meeting a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.Please see us Lawyer directory To find a lawyer near you to help.

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