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Florida Deputy charged with crimes

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  • Florida Deputy charged with crimes

    Somewhat surprised that no one has posted anything about the Florida Deputy being charged with crimes relating to the school shooting.
    Retired LASD

  • #2
    Eh. While I find his actions (or lack thereof) reprehensible, to say that it's a stretch criminally is an understatement. The courts have long ruled that LE has no duty to protect. The charges are almost certainly just an elected prosecutor pandering to the outraged public.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

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    • #3
      I want to know more about his perjury charge within this mess. I believe there was an argument over the policy wording at the beginning, and if I remember pretty much from the beginning the sheriff (who was suspended because of the response to this incident) condemned his lack of action.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
        The courts have long ruled that LE has no duty to protect.
        That's the public duty doctrine and it applys to tort, not criminal law. Such cases hinge on whether a law enforcement officer owes a special duty of care with regard to an individual as opposed to the public as a whole. As a school resource officer did Scot Peterson owe a duty to individual students? A quick read on the subject indicates Florida courts do not follow the public duty doctrine.

        Peterson is charged with child neglect and culpable negligence. I'd think proving such a case would mean establishing that the dead an injured students were in his care.

        One way or another, this case will set a precedent.


        https://www.miamiherald.com/news/loc...231167608.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
          That's the public duty doctrine and it applys to tort, not criminal law. Such cases hinge on whether a law enforcement officer owes a special duty of care with regard to an individual as opposed to the public as a whole. As a school resource officer did Scot Peterson owe a duty to individual students? A quick read on the subject indicates Florida courts do not follow the public duty doctrine.

          Peterson is charged with child neglect and culpable negligence. I'd think proving such a case would mean establishing that the dead an injured students were in his care.

          One way or another, this case will set a precedent.


          https://www.miamiherald.com/news/loc...231167608.html
          I'd say the prosecution is going to have a tough time trying to prove that Peterson owed a duty of protection to the individual students.

          In DeShaney v. Winnebago County (1989), the SCOTUS ruled that child protective services didn't have the duty to a protect a child from an abusive custodial parent. So, if SCOTUS ruled that an agency specifically-mandated with the protection of children didn't have a duty to protect against abuse (a common situation with little or no danger to the social worker), I seriously doubt that the prosecutor will be able to prove that Peterson, as a school resource officer, had a duty to protect the students against an active shooter (an extraordinary situation with significant potential risk to Peterson).

          That's ignoring Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005), which is the court case where the SCOTUS ruled that a police department cannot be civilly sued for failure to protect.

          If this makes it to a trial (and I seriously doubt it will), Peterson's lawyer would be an idiot not to make it a bench trial. While a jury might vote with emotion, the legal precedents on this one should have a judge ruling the other way.
          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
          -Friedrich Nietzsche

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          • #6
            Those cases look like they are splitting hairs and circular logic. “Because it wasn’t the State that beat this child into a vegetative state, the State is not responsible”. And “well, there is no monetary equivalent to a failure to properly serve a court process, the police can’t be sued because there is no equal protection clause for a process service.”

            I get that it would be impossible to argue that the government must prevent bad things from happening to people, but Parkland is different. The Police Officer was literally standing at the door while on the other side of that door children were being murdered. He could have intervened, but didn’t.
            semper destravit

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            • #7
              Cowardice criminalized? Cops say charges for failing to stop mass shooter set bad precedent

              "“Although our Association does not condone Deputy Peterson’s actions, the ramifications of charging a law enforcement officer with a criminal act as a caregiver is highly concerning and likely to have unintended and unprecedented consequences for good law enforcement officers in the future,” the PBA’s statewide president, John Kazanjian, said in a statement Wednesday."


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              • #8
                Here's another way to look at it though: As an LEO and, specifically, an SRO, Petersen was a mandated reporter. If he found any evidence of child abuse, no matter how slight the evidence, he'd face felony charges for not reporting it if the abuse turned out to be true. However, as an armed, sworn police officer assigned to protect that school, he stood outside and did nothing, and somehow that is NOT a crime?? So, as a cop, you have to protect kids against bad parents, but not against crazed gunmen?
                Last edited by GangGreen712; 06-06-2019, 11:59 AM.
                "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
                -Chris Rock

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                • #9
                  Do not know exactly what the cases quoted hold, but for the most part the courts have held that governments through their policing powers do not have a duty to protect a citizen from a future harm. I would like to see a court ruling that a government has no duty to act during an ongoing event.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                    Cowardice criminalized? Cops say charges for failing to stop mass shooter set bad precedent

                    "“Although our Association does not condone Deputy Peterson’s actions, the ramifications of charging a law enforcement officer with a criminal act as a caregiver is highly concerning and likely to have unintended and unprecedented consequences for good law enforcement officers in the future,” the PBA’s statewide president, John Kazanjian, said in a statement Wednesday."

                    But the issue is not that he failed to stop it, it's that he failed to act. He literally stood by and did nothing. I understand common sense and their worry; we can't set a precedent that anytime someone is the victim of a crime, any and all cops charged with patrolling the victim's area are civilly and criminally liable for not preventing it. And, in terms of responding to active shooter situations, or any dangerous situations, we can't expect officers to try and solve the situation when it would be impossible or nearly impossible for them to come out of it alive. If 20 heavily armed terrorists decide to raid a school, I don't think that anyone should expect a single cop to try and go John McClane on them.

                    But a single cop, assigned to protect the school, evacuated the school and stood by while kids were being slaughtered. He was in a position to stop it and he refused to. And the bigger f'd up part is that the officers who arrived and DID go into the school got in big trouble for it! If an armed civilian said "If the cops won't save those kids, I will," and went into the school, he'd be looking at decades in prison. Hell, if he killed the gunman, he'd be looking at a felony murder charge!

                    I don't know exactly what to think of this. But I can see some kind of precedent being set that, while an officer doesn't have a duty to protect in all cases, in cases of saving a life, an officer does have a duty to take reasonable action if in the position to do so.
                    "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
                    -Chris Rock

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Let's consider a hypothetical...

                      Let's say that things played out differently. Let's say that Peterson rushed in, alone, only armed with his duty pistol, and confronted and killed the active shooter, saving the kids in that school. Today, the media (and, most likely, his department) would be praising him as a hero and saying that he put his life on the line, above and beyond the call of duty.

                      Therein is the rub...if he would have acted and it would have been considered a patently heroic act, then how can he be prosecuted for not performing that "above the call of duty" act?

                      Don't get me wrong...I think he's a coward and that he doesn't deserve to wear the uniform. I would have had no problem with the department drumming him out if he had chosen not to retire. But I see his actions as non-criminal in nature and the criminal prosecution as a media ploy by an elected official.
                      Last edited by Bing_Oh; 06-06-2019, 01:36 PM.
                      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                      -Friedrich Nietzsche

                      Comment


                      • Matthew_B
                        Matthew_B commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That's where I see the problem. He had a pistol going up against a AR-15. Not a good thing in Peterson's favor rushing in.

                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
                      ...above and beyond the call of duty....
                      Who defines "call of duty" and where it begins and ends?

                      But I see .. the criminal prosecution as a media ploy by an elected official.
                      That might be the case but what news coverage I've seen attributes prosecution to the Broward State Attorney’s Office rather than an individual. One can also argue that some cases are so notorious that, a matter of policy, they should be settled in open court rather than through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

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