Monday, August 4, 2008

Federal courts since border guards' case: the new criminals-can-do-no-wrong club?

Ramos and Compean were charged with violating the civil rights of a suspect based on a 1985 Supreme Court ruling that a fleeing suspect may not be shot unless the suspect presents a danger to the officer. (Tennessee v. Garner, 471 US 1, 1985).

Given their conviction by the testimony of a fleeing drug dealer who had already done violence one officer and could be virtually presumed armed delivering a giant load of drugs (the violence against the officer was enough in the real world to warn both officers that this was no illegal seeking honest work): no police officer in the nation may now defend themselves against a fleeing suspect believed to have an gun in their hand – not just on their person – even if same has already attacked a fellow officer on the spot, even if presumably in fear of a decades-long sentence if captured.

It may only be a matter of time before an officer is killed holding fire thinking of the fate of Ramos and Compean or before another officer is put at hazard in a similarly misbegotten prosecution following the example of this one: further driving home that officers would be better off hanging back anytime a potentially armed suspect is fleeing.

The situation faced by Ramos and Compean are faced by officers every day – except perhaps for the unusually high number of threatening factors in the border guards’ case.

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