Police put the man in danger, refused to protect him, and then kidnapped and caged him when he tried to protect himself.
As TFTP has reported, the only case establishing that police have a duty to protect individuals states that those individuals must be under the direct responsibility of police at that time. Otherwise, as was established in both Warren v. District of Columbia and Erie Railroad Co. Vs. Tompkins — “government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”
In the single case in which police are required to be responsible, DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, the court held that no duty arose as a result of a “special relationship,” concluding that Constitutional duties of care and protection only exist as to certain individuals, such as incarcerated prisoners, involuntarily committed mental patients and others restrained against their will and therefore unable to protect themselves.
A New Jersey man has recently learned that even if you work with police to help them out on cases, putting yourself directly in danger, they have no duty to protect you. New Jersey police recruited a man to wear a wire and go undercover for officers to help them solve a case. While this man fulfilled his side of the agreement to help the Lawerence Police Department, after he finished — and was in real danger as a result — police refused to protect him.
After helping police, the man, only identified by his initials, according to NJ.com, “was beat up twice, shot at once and moved residences before finally arming himself in case his attackers accosted him again.”
Because police failed to protect the man, he was eventually forced to acquire a gun to protect himself. That’s when police finally started paying attention to him again — but it was not to help him. During a traffic stop in 2015, police found the man’s gun and he was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm while on probation.
The court sentenced the man to eight years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years. This month, the man appealed his case and his conviction was reversed. As NJ.com reports:
The court took issue with the barring of the necessity defense, which allows defendants to argue that their conduct, while normally illegal, was necessary or justified in a limited instance – in this case, carrying a gun.
The decision says the man described his situation to a police detective: he’d helped police and prosecutors in a prior case and now people were “after him.”
After the two assaults and being fired upon, and moving, he sought help from a detective and the prosecutor from the case, but received no assistance. He told police he wanted to move out of state, but could not due to being on probation.
Despite being beaten up and shot at, prosecutors claimed the man had no “imminent and compelling” reason to defend himself with a firearm. Fortunately, the appeals court disagreed.
“By doing so[wearing a wire], he assisted police in performing their duty to protect the public. Through no fault of his own, his cooperation with the police led to him being beaten up twice and fired upon in his own community,” the decision said.
“Defendant was acutely aware that other individuals in the community wanted to hurt or kill him. We find more than sufficient evidence … to conclude that the threat to defendant was ‘imminent and compelling,’ and raised a reasonable expectation in the defendant that he would suffer physical injury, if not death,” the decision went on.
The defendant’s, “plea to law enforcement for assistance went unanswered. He tried to move out of state to avoid the threat to his life, however he was unable to do so. Defendant also changed his local residence to avoid encounters with his attackers, which didn’t work, as he was attacked outside his new home.”
“Consequently,” the court stated, “he faced a crisis with no opportunity to avoid repeated assaults until he was severely injured or killed.”
Logic and reason prevailed but much to the dismay of the police department who clearly had no interest in protecting this man after he’d helped them.
Police put the man in danger, refused to protect him, and then kidnapped and caged him when he tried to protect himself. This is the problem with a monopoly on “security.”
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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