Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do the police have to protect you? No.

Warren v. District of Columbia held that the police generally do not have an obligation to protect you.  Read the dispicable actions of the police and the horrible ruling here on Wikipedia.
Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.

Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 0623 hours, and was recorded as a burglary-in-progress. At 0626, a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as "Code 1." Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect. (This suggests that when they heard that there had been a burglary, the police must have felt that they had a promising lead on a culprit.)

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they observed one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.

Here on Police Chief Magazine they discuss the ruling and the exceptions:
Law enforcement generally does not have a federal constitutional duty to protect one private person from another. For example, if a drunk driver injures a pedestrian or a drug dealer beats up an informant, agencies and their officers usually would not be liable for those injuries because there was no duty to protect.
Nonetheless, agencies need to be aware of two exceptions, referred to as the special-relationship and the state-created danger theories, which, if pled and proven, may establish a constitutional duty to protect by police. While plaintiffs who are harmed by third parties often raise both theories when they sue police, the state-created danger exception appears to be litigated more frequently than the special relationship exception, which often is more easily analyzed and defined. Since its 1989 holding that a duty to protect generally does not exist, the U.S. Supreme Court has not directly spoken on the two exception theories that have since evolved.1 Instead, many federal courts have analyzed, defined and applied these exceptions to a variety of fact patterns. Not all of these lower court decisions are consistent with one another. Agencies, in reviewing their policies, should be aware of the approaches taken by the federal courts in their circuit. This article gives a brief overview of the different judicial approaches to a federal due process claim but does not address whether a failure to protect action could be brought under state law.

And via John Lott's excellent blog, Chicago police will no longer respond to 911 calls for robbery, car theft, burglaries, etc:

Robbery is a serious violent crime (Fox News video is available here). For police not to respond to reports of robberies will only lead to one prediction: there will be an increase in robberies. In a city that makes it extremely difficult for people to use guns defensively, not having the police respond is dangerous. 
There is also the James Q. Wilson notion of "broken windows." As the city disintegrates, it may encourage other more serious crime to occur. 
Now, for the "gun control" advocates out there, how do you feel about further restricting gun ownership for law abiding citizens?  If you don't live in Chicago, you may be able to brush this off, but I urge you to consider for a moment if these policies come to your city. has a crime index they develop from the uniform crime reports, collected by the FBI from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies.  Here is the data on Los Angeles and on the US:
Los Angeles:
  • BURGLARY 17,606
  • THEFT 54,971
  • BURGLARY 2,188,005
  • THEFT 6,159,795
Should these 9 million people every year not be allowed to protect themselves, even knowing the police are not obligated to respond, and in some cases have official policy not to respond?  When you've given over your personal protection to someone else, and they turn down the responsibility, what must you then do?  Think it over.

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