Hit & Run

Indiana Residents Can Now Defend Themselves and Their Homes Against "Unlawful Intrusion" by "Public Servants"

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An amendment to Indiana'a Castle Docrtine passed in March would allow homeowners to use deadly force against "public servants" who are committing "unlawful intrusions," reports Bloomberg News

Republican state Senator R. Michael Young, the bill's author, said there haven't been any cases in which suspects have used the law to justify shooting police.

He said "public servant" was added to clarify the law after a state Supreme Court ruling last year that "there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers." The case was based on a man charged with assaulting an officer during a domestic-violence call.

Young cited a hypothetical situation of a homeowner returning to see an officer raping his daughter or wife. Under the court's ruling, the homeowner could not touch the officer and only file a lawsuit later, he said. Young said he devised the idea for the law after the court ruling.

"There are bad legislators," Young said. "There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it's these officers that we're concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves."

Bill supporters tried to accommodate police by adding specific requirements that might justify force, and by replacing "law enforcement officer" in the original version with "public servant," said Republican state Representative Jud McMillin, the House sponsor.

Police officers are not happy. "It's just a recipe for disaster," said Downs, chief of the Lake County police in northwest Indiana. "It just puts a bounty on our heads."