What Is The Duty Of A Community’s Police Force Toward A Citizen Whose Life Is In Imminent Threat Of Attack?
New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- Do the police have a legal duty to come to the immediate assistance of an innocent American whose life is in imminent danger if the police are notified of that imminent danger?
Many people—perhaps most—would respond with the following: “that’s a silly question; of course, the police have a duty, and that is their job, to come to the immediate assistance of an innocent American whose life is in imminent danger.”
For many people, the answer to the question may seem so obvious as to make the question itself rhetorical. But is it? For those people who are unarmed, and who choose not to possess firearms, the police, who are armed, are in the best position to secure the physical safety of unarmed civilian citizens, and such people fully expect the police to come to their assistance if they notify the police of an imminent threat to their life and safety.
But take a closer look at the question. Focus on the word, ‘legal duty.’ The question posed is distinct from another question we might have asked: Would you expect the police to come to the immediate assistance of an innocent American whose life is in imminent danger if the police are notified of that imminent danger?
Many Americans, certainly those who abhor firearms and who would never think of possessing a firearm, conflate the two questions. And, that is understandable, if presumptuous, as many Americans, even those who do exercise the natural right of self-defense through possession of a firearm would invariably expect the police to respond immediately to a “911” emergency.
But, even if that expectation seems reasonable, is that expectation misplaced? Suppose the police don’t respond in a timely manner to an emergency, or, for one reason or another, the police do not respond at all. Suppose the failure to protect results in injury or death to that person.
Does the injured party have a cause of action in negligence against the police? If death results, does the deceased’s estate have a cause of action for wrongful death, against the police? To answer these questions, we must pose another, more basic question that we had begun to deal with in our previous article.
The answer is “unequivocally and demonstrably no.” The police do not have a legal duty to come to the assistance of any American even if notified of an imminent threat to the life and well-being of that individual.
And that legal position is true today, as it was true decades—even centuries—ago, at the birth of our Nation. Yet the mainstream media and Leftist politicians routinely keep the public in the dark about this. That is bad, but worse, they lie to the public about this. That is despicable. Here and there, however, the truth does come out but only if the American people pay close attention. Unfortunately, most Americans do not pay attention to the import and purport of our laws, and the public must dig deep to learn the truth.
Thirty years ago, Stephen L. D’Andrilli, co-founder of the Arbalest Quarrel, and David B. Kopel, writer, attorney, and Constitutional law expert provided an answer to this question. They laid out the unblemished truth. They co-authored an article, titled, “Personal Safety: Individual Responsibility.” The article appeared in the May 1989 issue of “Women and Guns.” In the article the authors made clear both the state of the law and the dire consequences of the law, notably where the lives of women are endangered and the police do nothing to protect them. What Messrs. Kopel and D’Andrilli said in 1989 is as true today, as it was then. The law pertaining to the matter of police duty remains the same. Nothing at all has changed.
Two seminal Court cases on the matter of police duty stand out as mentioned in the Kopel and D’Andrilli article. Both cases, curiously enough, come out of jurisdictions that frown on civilian possession of firearms for self-defense and both cases establish the essence of the issue of “duty” as it relates to the police in communities around the Country. One is a New York case; the other comes out of California. The state of the law, today, as set forth in those two cases, remains unchanged; and the law in jurisdictions around the Country mirrors the law of California and New York.
The 1989 Kopel and D’Andrilli magazine article discusses both cases, and the Arbalest Quarrel provides additional commentary in our follow-up article.
From the two Court cases that the Kopel and D’Andrilli magazine article mentions, we learn that the onus of protection of one’s life and well-being rests upon one’s self. That duty does not and cannot reasonably, rationally be relegated to the Government, even as Radical Left Marxists, Socialists, and Communists, and those so-called New Progressive Leftists proclaim vociferously, hypocritically, disingenuously, and erroneously that the health, safety, and continued well-being of Americans do rest safely, securely, and firmly in the hands of Government. They don’t and never did.
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