Police Abuse

Colorado "Make My Day" Law Protects Man Who Defended Himself Against Cops

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Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry

Earlier this year in Cortez, Colorado, Shane French's mother called 911 on him, complaining he was being "verbally abusive" toward her. Cops showed up and verbally and physically abused French, according to the man, who says he decided to fight back against the cops. Police accused him of stabbing one of the officers, who was holding French in a "bear hug," and arrested him on charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

French's public defender won him an acquittal, successfully arguing French was protected under Colorado's "Make My Day" law, but not before French spent 297 days in jail. Colorado was one of the first states to pass a "Make My Day" law, which protects homeowners who use deadly force to repel intruders, back in 1985.

The prosecutor in the case continues to defend the actions of officers, and may blame recent national attention to other cases of police brutality for the jury's decision. Or it may just be the Associated Press, which reports:

[Jurors] may have been influenced by recent decisions not to prosecute police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City in the deaths of two unarmed black men, District Attorney Will Furse told The Associated Press. In the Cortez case, both French and Eubanks are white, but the police shootings have spurred a national conversation about use of excessive force by police.

Furse said it's impossible to look at the case in a vacuum.

"Cases like this are certainly great ones to take to trial because the community can get involved in determining the appropriateness of the response," said Furse, adding that he stands by the officers' actions. "The jury just was not satisfied we demonstrated that the police acted reasonably."

French, of course, was not the first person to shake off charges stemming from using force to repel cops. Before Ferguson brought the issue of police violence to the attention of the national media, a grand jury in Texas declined to indict a marijuana grower who shot and killed a sheriff's deputy during an early morning search warrant execution. In 2012, Indiana closed an odious loophole that would prevent residents from defending themselves from cops in their own home, no matter what the cop was doing, up to and including capital offenses.

Only the jurors in Cortez know why they made the decision they did. More jurors aware of the decisions they can make and more legal protections for individuals defending themselves from aggressive cops is certainly one component of reducing incidences of excessive police violence.

h/t Stanton Smith

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  1. Ok, but will you give us warning before the nutpunch? Sick of this scrote squad shit!

    1. This is actually a reverse nut punch, one of a very few to enjoy amidst the flood of actual nut punches.

      Also: Corey Maye. Hard nut punch followed by a reverse when he was cleared of all charges.

      But only after 10 years, so… nutpunch?

      1. Its a fake punch where, after the flinch and relax, the aggressor sneaks in a hard tap.

  2. Excuse me, but why is this called the “Make My Day” law? Dirty Harry, lest we forget, was a cop, a cop not noted for his patience with the Second, or any other, Amendment. But I guess because he went around shooting anyone he damned well pleased, he’s a hero to Second Amendment types.

    1. I suspect the term started out with a derogatory meaning, but, like “Quaker” and “Queer,” got picked up by supporters.

    2. You spelled your name wrong.

    3. You’re right. It should be called the “Fuck the Police” law.

    4. “Feel lucky, pig?”

    5. Because if a dirty cop busts into your house you can make his day?

    6. Because, when this law was mooted, it was not expected to be used *against* cops. Only by people who would now be able to act with impunity towards invaders *like* cops.

  3. French was accused of stabbing officer Casey Eubanks in February after police responded to a 911 call from French’s mother, who said he was being verbally abusive.

    Eubanks testified that was injured as he held French in a “bear hug.” He said French picked him up and “threw him face down” on the ground, while screaming and flailing to get away from officers.

    The wound wasn’t serious. Eubanks testified, with a grin, that it was treated with a Band-Aid.

    So let’s get this straight: Officer Friendly participates in this farce of prosecuting a man for “resisting arrest” even though Eubanks testifies that he was kicking this guy’s ass, putting him in wrestling holds, and slamming him face-first into the ground. But since he’s such a super-tough police officer, when French “stabbed” him, the injury required nothing but a Band-Aid?

    Calling the cops in any situation seems more and more to be an invitation for one or more parties involved to get killed.

  4. complaining he was being “verbally abusive” toward her. Cops showed up and verbally and physically abused French,

    An eye and a limb for an eye is indefensible.

    1. I don’t know. In a vaccum, the punishment must be GREATER than gains from the crime, otherwise people are willing to trade.

      When someone hits you it only makes sense to hit them harder to make them stop. If you hit them with the same force, they might be willing to take that pain in order to inflict pain upon you. As some level, they will not be.

      Totally unrelated to this case, though.

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