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  • Are you protected from lawsuits when pulling suspects out of a crashed car

    I wondered because I see on Cops many times after a chase they do not treat the suspect like a person who just was involved in an accident, for obvious reasons. Some dirt-bag goes on a high speed chase flips the car and then gets dragged out of the car. If he gets hurt from being moved are you or the department liable?

    I have noticed this many times and was curious.


    Keep up the good work

  • #2
    COPS is a form of entertainment and not representative of what the police do in a typical day. That having been said, it all depends on the nature of the crash, the likelihood of injury and the potential for further attempts by the suspect to escape.

    “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

    Miyamoto Musashi

    “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

    George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jimi View Post
      I wondered because I see on Cops many times after a chase they do not treat the suspect like a person who just was involved in an accident, for obvious reasons. Some dirt-bag goes on a high speed chase flips the car and then gets dragged out of the car. If he gets hurt from being moved are you or the department liable?

      I have noticed this many times and was curious.


      Keep up the good work
      The first thing I should point out is that COPS, while somewhat representative of police work- is by no means an indicator of what the day to day reality is, not what policies are, nor a true reflection on the realities of this business.

      That said- in most cases an officer (public servant) enjoys a degree of immunity from civil liability under the scope of “qualified immunity”. An officer acting in good faith and within the scope of their duties is usually immune.

      I would suggest some reading on the subject of sovereign immunity for government entities and the protections generally afforded to employees acting within the scope of duties.
      Originally posted by SSD
      It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
      Originally posted by Iowa #1603
      And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

      Comment


      • #4
        There are limits to the protections a public official is granted from civil liability. COPS is a TV show that dramatizes (??) police work and I can confidently state that most reasonable officers would assess the situation before grabbing someone who just flipped their car a zillion times at the end of a pursuit and yank them out of their car without considering the potential for aggravating any serious injuries the suspect incurred as a result of the crash. As already stated, the need for immediate capture of a suspect (or suspects) with force is driven by the ability/intent of the suspect(s) to continue their escape. If they are trying to continue to flee after crashing their car, they are going to be stopped, using the amount of force necessary to end the chase, and on the other side, if they are all beat to hell from the crash and unable/unwilling to try to continue their flight, they won't need any significant force to capture them.

        Television is television...Real life is real life...
        My comments are my personal opinion and are based on my life experiences and training. They are not to be construed as legal advice in any form as I am not an attorney. Should you act on any of the information I provide in my comments, you do so at your own risk!!

        Comment


        • #5
          With our Country, anyone can sue you for any reason. With that said, people get cuffed after being shot. It is what it is. We go home at the end of the shift.
          Last edited by jcioccke; 03-24-2014, 08:29 PM.
          MDRDEP:

          There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

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          • #6
            It's "PUBLIC SAFETY", so pulling someone from a wreck is acting in the scope of your duties, I would think.
            The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

            I Am the Sheepdog.


            "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
            that we are all that stands between
            the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jcioccke View Post
              With our Country, anyone can sue you for any reason. With that said, people get cuffed after being shot. It is whjat it is. We go home at the end of the shift.
              Well said!
              To add to what I posted before. The immunity that we enjoy only exists while we act within the law AND the policy of our agency. Acting in good-faith also covers some of this scenario.

              There are people who sue others just to be suing someone; we refer to this as 'Ghetto Lotto'. It comes down to the courts to decide if a. we followed policy and law and b. if that policy is within the law.

              “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

              Miyamoto Musashi

              “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

              George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jchughes05 View Post
                It's "PUBLIC SAFETY", so pulling someone from a wreck is acting in the scope of your duties, I would think.
                Maybe...I have seen people pulled from wrecks for absolutely no reason (no fire, no fuel spill..) and unless a person is properly trained to assess injuries and move a person properly, they should be left where they are so their injuries are not aggravated. Spinal injuries can be moved from no paralysis to complete paralysis with only the slightest of movement.

                Unless the injured person is in imminent danger of losing their life, they should not be moved under most circumstances.

                Too many people watch too much television and truly believe that every car crash is going to explode and the injured people must be yanked out of the car before it goes BOOM.
                My comments are my personal opinion and are based on my life experiences and training. They are not to be construed as legal advice in any form as I am not an attorney. Should you act on any of the information I provide in my comments, you do so at your own risk!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I meant in a life/death situation, just so you all know.

                  The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                  I Am the Sheepdog.


                  "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                  that we are all that stands between
                  the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Whate he said........
                    John 3:16

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had a buddy who appeared on an episode of COPS. He told me that they made him catch the same guy 3 times because he "caught him too fast". After the second run, they actually put a bunch of random crap on the sidewalk to trip him up so it would be "more interesting" on camera.
                      Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with the above, but would add....

                        I have never seen a car pursuit end, during my career, without the suspect being removed from the car immediately and secured in handcuffs (injured or not), even if he was just being placed a few feet away from the wreck to be looked at by EMS to determine transport. I was never involved in one where the suspect was 'trapped' or unable to be removed due to injury w/o being DIP (dead in place). From my experience I have a difficult time envisioning a scenario where a suspect (i.e. a noncompliant individual) is left in the vehicle unless he is either 'stuck', crispy, or otherwise DOA. Hypothetically, could there be a situation....I suppose, hypothetically, but I never personally saw one.

                        As far as civil action is concerned an average LEO can be threatened with the possibility of a serious lawsuit from just about any action/inaction or legal decision the LEO makes during a typical day, it comes with the job so I say, meh...

                        The 'ghetto lotto' is almost as hard to win as the regular lotto is.
                        Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
                        “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

                        Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
                        “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

                        George Washington, (1732-1799)
                        "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

                        Originally posted by Country_Jim
                        ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Langford PR View Post

                          The 'ghetto lotto' is almost as hard to win as the regular lotto is.
                          Over my career, I had over 100 Federal 1983 lawsuits filed against me.

                          2 went to trial

                          I won both.


                          Yes I said 100 1983 suits. I worked a very high profile area during a time where lawsuits were flying because prisoners didn't have to pay filing fees and there was no sanction for frivolous suits.

                          I got to know the US Marshal's quite well since they served the papers & got to be almost on a first name basis with the US Magistrate.

                          I ran into a Deputy State Attorney General last month who looked at me funny when I introduced myself...................(I am retired and work for a completely different agency now)
                          He said "I know that name" He laughed for 5 minutes when I told him what I did for 30 yrs
                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                            Over my career, I had over 100 Federal 1983 lawsuits filed against me.

                            2 went to trial

                            I won both.
                            Sweet. After having read your posts for a couple years I'm hardly suprised. Winning in court is a sweet thang!!!

                            Personally, I always wanted SCOTUS case law with my name on it. It'd be a kind of immortality. I never made it........yet.
                            Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
                            “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

                            Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
                            “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

                            George Washington, (1732-1799)
                            "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

                            Originally posted by Country_Jim
                            ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Langford PR View Post
                              Sweet. After having read your posts for a couple years I'm hardly suprised. Winning in court is a sweet thang!!!

                              Personally, I always wanted SCOTUS case law with my name on it. It'd be a kind of immortality. I never made it........yet.
                              All depends on the case law. I'd hate to be "that guy" who allowed a suspect to walk because I did something illegal.
                              Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

                              Comment

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