Originally Posted by Jared
It depends on your state in WA any person can use deadly force not only to protect them or any one around them but also to stop the commission of a felony in their presence or to place the person under citizens arrest for a felony. So in that video shooting would be legal for any person in WA.
Well...this is where it gets really sticky. IF, as an officer, you fire at a fleeing felon you had better damned well be able to articulate why you did it even if the "law" in your state allows it. Very often it is against departmental policy in ANY situation to fire on a fleeing felon.
IF the subject demonstrates a "real and continuing danger to the community as a whole while in flight" is the pretty generic terminology I have found that justifies lethal force on a felon in flight.
Now, if the subject is still firing at officers while in flight, especially around a populated area where his rounds can be reasonably expected to hit bystanders...it is a no-brainer. Take him out if you can without harming bystanders, because remember....every bullet that issues from the end of your gun with the hole in it has a lawyer attached to it.
To MY mind, the same would be true in a non-leo situation. If things have gone to hell, and Barney The Bad Guy is still firing at you, even though he is in flight...you have to do what you have to do to survive. HOWEVER...some in the DA's office may say assert that "the danger to you had passed and the subject has disengaged, and was in retreat...."
Horse hockey I know...BUT....it is possible.
This is one of the reasons why some departments forbid firing at a felon in flight.
A friend of mine fired into a car in which the driver was trying to run him down. My friend has nowhere to take cover safely, or evade the vehicular assault. He put 13 rounds of 9mm from his issue HK USP9 through the windshield, striking and critically wounding the driver...however, he was brought up on departmental AND criminal charges. He got a 2 week rip from the department he worked for, but was aquitted on the reckless endangerment, and assault with a deadly weapon charges. He resigned from that department, and moved over to ours. But it was MONTHS of aggravation, stress, headaches, literally hundreds of pages of depositions and testimony, and court transcripts before he got clear of it.
Something else to consider...whether you believe it or not...cops ARE held to a higher standard than civilians. We often hear phrases like "As a highly trained and experienced officer YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER", when in fact WE DID EXACTLY as we had been trained, or made the best call we could on the spot in a split-second decision where we reasonably believed we were in danger of death or grave bodily harm.
I was even asked by a lawyer at a deposition where I was being sued in civil court after an on-duty shooting: "Officer...you were wearing body armor weren't you?" When I answered in the affirmative he followed up with: "So, since you were wearing body armor, your life really wasn't in danger when my client allegedly fired at you in self defense
So, you can see where it gets sticky.