Brandishing Gun at Home at Intruders, Who Haven't Identified Themselves as Police Officers, Isn't a Crime


From Hanson v. Larimer County Bd. of County Comm'rs, no. 1:20-cv-00317-RBJ, decided Tuesday by Judge R. Brooke Jackson (D. Colo.):

The following facts are derived from the second amended complaint and are assumed to be true solely for the purposes of this order….

On January 8, 2019 [plaintiff Brett Alan] Hanson was in the backyard of his Berthoud, Colorado home … yelling about President Trump's immigration policies. Mr. Hanson's neighbors heard the commotion and filed a noise complaint with police at 5:46 pm. Deputies Baker and Powers arrived at plaintiffs' home at 6:11 pm. When they arrived at plaintiffs' home it was dark outside, the entry gate was closed, and all plaintiffs were inside their home. Most notably, Mr. Hanson was no longer outside making any noise at the time of their arrival.

Notwithstanding this, Deputies Powers and Baker climbed over the four-foot fence and walked almost two hundred feet to plaintiffs' home. The plaintiffs' dogs heard the deputies and began barking. Rather than going to the front door to knock and announce their presence, the deputies instead went to the back of the house. Mr. Hanson heard his dogs barking, looked out of the back window, and thought he saw intruders. Mr. Hanson opened the door and yelled out to the supposed intruders to identify themselves. Neither deputy did so.

Rather than identify himself, deputy Powers—believing that Mr. Hanson held a pistol— drew his service revolver and fired five times at Mr. Hanson, who stood in the doorway. While all five bullets missed Mr. Hanson, they went into the plaintiffs' home where both Ms. Walker and Ms. Felt were present. In response to the gunshots, Mr. Hanson ducked behind a freezer on his porch, and then ran back into his bedroom to hide. As a result of Deputy Powers' firing his gun, numerous deputies and the Larimer County Sheriff's Office arrived on scene. A SWAT team was also called to the property.

Ms. Walker went outside after hearing the disturbance and saw Deputy Baker, who only then identified himself as a deputy sheriff. Deputy Baker informed Ms. Walker that he had been to their home several years before, and he told her to go back inside. Mr. Hanson eventually came out of his bedroom and accused Deputy Baker and Deputy Powers of trespassing. He also asked if they had shot at him. The deputies told Mr. Hanson to come with the deputies, but he declined and told Ms. Walker that he would not accompany the deputies who shot at him. He then went back inside.

A member of the SWAT team told Ms. Walker that Mr. Hanson needed to come out of the house. Ms. Walker responded that Mr. Hanson was scared to come outside because he had just been shot at multiple times. Mr. Hanson eventually came outside and immediately got on his hands and knees on the house's concrete patio. Two deputies then approached Mr. Hanson and shoved him face down onto the concrete patio where they searched and handcuffed him. The officers subsequently arrested Mr. Hanson and took him to the sheriff's office.

While at the sheriff's office, officers interrogated Mr. Hanson. During the interrogation Mr. Hanson requested an attorney and asked whether he was under arrest. He also asked why he was being detained. Corporal Andrew Weber, an officer on scene at the station, stated that he too was trying to determine the answers to those precise questions.

Deputies eventually informed Mr. Hanson that he was not free to leave, and that he was under arrest for felony menacing and second-degree assault on a police officer. Those charges were never filed against Mr. Hanson. However, Mr. Hanson was eventually charged with prohibited use of a weapon and failure to leave the premises or property when ordered by a police officer. However, the district attorney dismissed both charges. Mr. Hanson was also never charged with any noise ordinance violation, the original alleged crime for which police were called to the scene….

Here, plaintiffs contend that defendants violated Mr. Hanson's constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable seizure when they arrested him without probable cause. Defendants contend that they had probable cause to arrest Mr. Hanson for (1) felony menacing, and (2) misdemeanor obstruction of a peace officer….

Defendants contend that the [alleged] facts give rise to probable cause for felony menacing. I disagree. First, defendants ask this Court to accept as true facts that are not in the complaint, i.e., that Mr. Hanson was brandishing a gun at officers. The Court will not do so.

Second, Mr. Hanson was at his home and thought that intruders—who never once identified themselves as police officers—were on his property. Even assuming arguendo that Mr. Hanson had a gun, it is not a crime in the State of Colorado to hold a gun on your property, or to protect your home from intruders. As the Colorado Constitution says, "[t]he right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons." The Court thus finds, construing all inferences in favor of plaintiffs as it is required to do, that defendants did not have probable cause to arrest Mr. Hanson for felony menacing.

Defendants next contend that officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Hanson for misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer. Again, assuming all of the facts in the complaint are true, I cannot agree. According to the complaint, Mr. Hanson retreated from officers—who he did not know were officers—after being shot at multiple times on his porch. The officers then demanded that he come outside. Mr. Hanson was hesitant to come out because, in response to a noise violation, he had been shot at five times.

He eventually came to the front door and asked Deputies Powers and Baker if they were the ones who shot at him. Mr. Hanson did not immediately follow the officers' orders because he was panicked and scared as a result of just being unexpectedly shot at five times. He went outside a few moments after getting clarity on the (1) the officers' identities, and (2) who had shot at him. Once outside, the officers threw him to the ground and arrested him.

The Court does not find that this gave defendants probable cause to arrest Mr. Hanson for misdemeanor obstruction of a peace officer. A reasonably prudent person or officer would not believe that Mr. Hanson was attempting to obstruct peace officers because he went inside and hid in response to being shot at multiple times on his own front porch by unknown intruders on his property. Additionally, the fact that Mr. Hanson did not immediately succumb to police officer demands does not indicate he had an intent to obstruct—it indicates that he feared for his life because the same officers who now asked him to come with them had just shot at him moments before without identifying or announcing themselves.

The Court thus finds that plaintiffs have plausibly pled a false arrest claim. The existence of probable cause for the two alleged crimes was not a "reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the facts known to an arresting officer at the time of the arrest." Deputies Baker and Powers presumably knew that they did not identify themselves, that they crept around to the back of the house under cover of darkness, and that they then shot at Mr. Hanson five times. They further knew that all of these actions ultimately resulted from a noise complaint. Given the facts, the Court finds that they did not have "reasonably trustworthy information … sufficient to lead a prudent person to believe that [Mr. Hanson] ha[d] committed or [was] committing an offense." …

And the court rejected the deputies' qualified immunity claim:

The Court concludes that, based on plaintiffs' factual allegations, every reasonable officer would understand that the actions of Deputies Powers and Baker violated the Fourth Amendment. At the risk of redundancy, the facts here indicate that the officers responded to a noise complaint by sneaking around the back of plaintiffs' home at night and refusing to identify themselves when Mr. Hanson exited his home. Rather than stating they were police officers and announcing the reason for their presence, Deputy Powers immediately shot in Mr. Hanson's direction five times.

Rather than admitting their actions were unreasonable at that point, they arrested Mr. Hanson. They did not tell him why he was arrested at that time, but later informed him that he was charged with felony menacing and second-degree assault upon a police officer. No such charges were ever filed. The officers' actions here were out of proportion to the alleged conduct they were investigating, and they placed all members of Mr. Hanson's household as well as themselves in substantial danger.

The Court finds that there is no case directly on point to these facts because the officers' actions are so objectively unreasonable that no other officer would have dared to act in such a way. The Court thus finds that neither Deputy Powers nor Deputy Baker are entitled to qualified immunity at this stage of the litigation….

NEXT: To Serve Ceviche

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  1. “The Court finds that there is no case directly on point to these facts because the officers’ actions are so objectively unreasonable that no other officer would have dared to act in such a way.”

    So much this.

    1. Yes, that phrase struck me as correct but revolutionary thinking in the QI debate. Clearly the judges who granted QI in the case where the cops stole $200K, and many other outrageous cases, never considered this.

    2. Many previous cases where QI was granted are so objectively unreasonable that no judge ought to have dared act in such a way, and should be reversed, posthaste.

  2. That’s just one beautiful decision.

    1. Don’t pop the champagne yet. The ruling was on a motion to dismiss, so the real trial is still to be argued and ruled upon.

      And I wouldn’t be surprised if the qualified immunity claim is successfully appealed, so there might not ever be a trial.

      1. I mean, even at a real trial….

        “In response to a noise complaint, rather than approach the front door and announce themselves, the deputies decided to CLIMB OVER A FENCE and cross 200 feet to the back yard, without announcing themselves….”

        Who does that?

        1. Criminals, and thugs with badges – but I repeat myself.

          Considering it was dark, and the police had not announced themselves, they are lucky Mr. Hanson did not return their gunfire. What Fing morons…

          1. Yes.

            The proper response to the officers behavior would be to shoot both officers

      2. Colorado removed QI as a defense in state court.

        I smell a settlement.

        1. What does that have to do with this § 1983 case being heard in federal court?

    2. No, there should be criminal charges for shooting into the home.

  3. In Massachusetts we had an officer shot about 15 years ago. Police got a call saying somebody was in a house where the owner was away. Responding officer snuck into the house and was shot by the owner, who was in fact home. I don’t think any charges were filed. The owner lost an expensive civil suit and had his gun license revoked by the local chief of police. (Can’t remember the names now, but it was somewhere out around I-495 or the Worcester area.)

    1. Wow, I’d love to know the details of that case, if anyone can recall enough so it cane be found online.

      1. Found it:

        “A Worcester Superior Court jury returned a $1.26 million verdict against former car dealer Mark P. Ragsdale today in the 2006 shooting of a Shrewsbury police officer who was responding to a burglar alarm at Mr. Ragsdale’s home.”

        I would have put relatively more blame on the alarm company and less or none on the homeowner.

  4. Isn’t noise prohibited after 9 PM. If I run a jack hammer, shoot off fireworks, and sound a siren, before then, the police should refuse to investigate. What is wrong with these people?

    1. You totally missed the point.

      1. He did not; he made a salient additional point.

        1. During finals week, they reduced noise allowed in the dorm to dinner time at 6 to 7 pm. When that rolled around, one girl went woohoo and cranked up her stereo, and got an angry door slam in response.

    2. It depends on the jurisdiction and what day it is. In some places one is prohibited from activity that denies others the peaceful enjoyment of their property at any time of day.

  5. Glad these cops were such lousy shots. For that reason — and many others — they ought to be fired.

    1. Fired? I consider anything short of attempted murder charges to be an injustice.

      1. QI isn’t a thing any more in CO, but Prosecutorial Discretion is.

  6. Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend did the right thing.

    1. Two differences in the Taylor case.
      1: The police were shouting for him to open the door. I don’t consider the claim that they did not identify themselves as police plausible. The classic “Police, Open Up” is so entrained into officers that burglars imitate it.
      2: He fired through a closed door, unable to see who was on the other side. This is inexcusable.

      1. So you accept this man’s allegations that the police, so well trained to call “Police, Open up!” that Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend must be lying, climbed a fence and snuck onto his property at night and refused to identify themselves when asked. Do you really believe that’s going to be their testimony? Why would you believe them when you categorically reject the same “he said – he said” testimony in the Breonna Taylor case? (Frankly, in the Breonna Taylor case there were other neighbors who said they didn’t hear anything either, while, as far as I know, we so far only have the testimony of the alleged victim here. And, for what it’s worth, I find it difficult to imagine a scenario where he isn’t a victim and these officers shouldn’t be fired, given what the police have already conceded.)

        The allegations in this case are egregious, just as the police conduct in the Breonna Taylor case was egregious. The police who killed Breonna Taylor should have been charged with her death in addition to the charges for indiscriminate firing into an occupied dwelling. And there should be disciplinary action for the way they handled the entire process which dramatically increased the chances of someone dying, just like in this case (where, luckily, no one was hit by a bullet). These facts and the Breonna Taylor case are both unconscionable on the part of the police. Serve. And protect. Not, create a situation where people think they are under attack and then go in guns blazing when you get nervous about the situation you created.

        If they did the same here, they also should be charged with reckless endangerment and whatever other crime an ordinary person would be charged with for firing into an occupied dwelling.

        Please be consistent.

        On your second point, you are just mistaken.

        The shot occurred after the door had been broken down and, according to the police themselves, the officer was inside the apartment when he was shot. (“Sgt. John Mattingly had entered the home after the door was broken down, and he was shot once in the leg by Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend.” Fox News.) Yeah, so, get your facts straight.

        It’s okay to be upset at police misconduct whenever it happens and no matter on whose rights they have tread. What they did in the Breonna Taylor case was just as unconscionable as what they are alleged to have done here. It’s okay to say that.

        1. And before you find this gentleman more credible than Mr. Walker, consider that they found nothing in Breonna Taylor’s apartment, but with respect to Mr. Hanson;

          “Investigator Tyler Schall obtained a court-ordered search warrant to search the family’s home for weapons, ammunition, alcoholic beverages and marijuana. The search yielded several firearms, ammunition, marijuana and the makeshift horn that Hanson had been using to yell at planes.

          So, yeah, assuming his allegations are true, it was egregious. But they are allegations and a guy who yells at airplanes is not the most credible witness.

          Of course, as I already said, given what we know did happen, it seems unlikely there is any justifiable reason for the bullet holes in Mr. Hanson’s home (which was occupied by multiple people at the time). But I am curious why Ben would think hornblowing Mr. Hanson’s claim that the police did not identify themselves is more credible than Mr. Walker’s similar claim. (But, then, Ben falsely believes Walker shot before the police had entered the apartment while the everyone agrees the door was already off its hinges and the police alleged the officer was inside the apartment when he was hit. Unless Ben is saying the officer was hit by friendly fire, which I guess would make sense of his claim given Walker only shot once, I believe and the police shot 32 times (including into other apartments).

          1. I suppose because they already stupidly entered over a fence and through the backyard, instead of knocking on the front door. So, having established they’d done one improper and stupid thing, believing a second is justifiable?

          2. There are several major differences between the Hanson Case and the Brenna Taylor case.

            1. Severity of the crime being investigated. There’s a difference between a noise complaint (Hanson) and a drug investigation (Taylor).

            2. The presence of a warrant. In the Brenna Taylor case, the police had a warrant to enter the premises. In the Hanson case, there was no warrant before the shooting. (Yes, AFTER the shooting, the police got a warrant, but that’s besides the fact).

            3. Approach of the police. In the Brenna Taylor case, the police knocked on the front door, before forcing entry. There is dispute as to whether the police identified themselves. In the Hanson case, the police snuck over a fence, onto the property did not identify themselves, and approached the back door.

            4. In the Taylor case, the police were shot at first, and injured. They then responded. In the Hanson case, there was never a shot fired at the police.

            All of these add up to having major differences. The nature of the crime being investigated. The presence of a warrant. The approach and announcement of police. And of course, who fired first….

            1. Severity of the crime being investigated. There’s a difference between a noise complaint (Hanson) and a drug investigation (Taylor).

              Yeah, noise is a legitimate complaint and something the police should care about. Drug offenses are at most very minor in the scheme of things.

              1. “Drug offenses are at most very minor in the scheme of things.”

                More than 70,000 Americans died in 2019, directly related to drug use. Those who sell illegal drugs directly contribute to their deaths.

                70,000 dead Americans, per year, are not “very minor”.

                1. And the “war on drugs” had absolutely nothing to do with those 70,000 dead people.

                2. So you gonna blame liquor stores for the deaths of alcoholics?
                  Instead of the consumers?

                3. More than 70,000 Americans died in 2019, directly related to drug use.

                  In other words, fewer than died because of excessive use of alcohol (, and yet we don’t have cops creeping around people’s backyards trying to stop them from possession of booze.

            2. Armchair,

              The main discussion was the credibility argument and, on that, I think the guy who doesn’t have a horn for yelling at passing airplanes wins.

              But it looks like you are arguing the substance.

              1. You say severity of the crime, I say Hanson was a known paranoid with a gun.

              2. You say there was a warrant. Well, yes, but the search turned up precisely nothing, which, if the police had actually done police work instead of pretending they were auditioning for Call of Duty, likely would have resulted in not getting a rubber stamp warrant that contained outdated info and, in fact, misrepresentations (e.g., were there cameras at Breonna Taylor’s home to alert her to the approach of police?) made for the purpose of obtaining a no-knock warrant instead of a regular ole just knock on the front door warrant.

              3. In the Hanson case, the police approached at about 6pm shortly after a verbal altercation with neighbors and the noise complaint. Allegedly, they jumped the fence. In the Breonna Taylor case, Breonna Taylor and Walker had no reason to think the police were coming and the police attempted to and achieved surprise by using a battering ram to knock the door off its hinges in the dead of night when the occupant were sound asleep. Which of these two situations created a greater danger to the public?

              4. As even the police agreed (or at least the prosecutor), Walker was reasonably acting in self-defense (see items 1-3). If he was being reasonable, it seems self-evidence that the police tactics were not reasonable precisely because they virtually guaranteed that an occupant with a gun would try to lawfully defend their home. I will grant that the police in the Hanson case were probably just lucky Hanson didn’t more readily avail himself of his Second Amendment rights (but the fact that he didn’t suggests, maybe, he suspected these were police and, in mirror fashion, the fact that Walker did shoot, but only one shot, suggests he did not know these were police…I mean, if he intended a gun battle, why stop with one shot?)

              All of the major differences add up, in my book, to at best a wash. Hanson was a known paranoid (according to the Reporter Herald) who had been in front of his house cursing and yelling at neighbors, Breonna Taylor and Mr. Walker were sleeping in their beds doing nothing remotely wrong, the police arrived at Hanson’s place shortly after neighbors complained about the situation whereas in the Taylor case they showed up months after their info (such as it was) had gone stale, Hanson had marijuana and a horn he used to yell at airplanes, Taylor/Walker had nothing illegal. The Taylor warrant was based on outdated information and misrepresentations by the police, the approach to the Hanson place was prompted by same day (maybe same hour) complaints by neighbors of erratic, belligerent behavior. The differences cut in favor of concluding that, if one situation is worse than the other, it was the Taylor/Walker situation. But I would just be happy if we can all agree that police abuse of these types needs consequences.

      2. . . . that burglars imitate it.

        You’re saying that *burglars* – who break into houses when no one is home – come to the front door, pound on it loudly and yell ‘Police!’?

        Ensuring the neighbors hear them?

        The police who have this so engrained that a couple cops climbed a back fence and quietly approached the rear of a house, silently, and then opened fire when they saw an occupant – all without ever yelling ‘police!’?

        2: He fired through a closed door, unable to see who was on the other side. This is inexcusable.

        Sorry buddy – if you’re breaking down my door then you’ve identified yourself as dangerously hostile and I’m not standing there waiting for you to finish. You’ll get a couple shots through the door.

        There’s a big difference between firing through a door after someone simply knocks loudly and when they’re kicking it down.

  7. There’s an old saying that a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested.

    Regardless of whether that’s true, the police sometimes act in an “unreasonable” manner. And it doesn’t matter if the person being arrested is a pro-Trump gun owner or a BLM supporter or a “dirty hippie”. I would hope that we could agree on that and do something about rogue cops who are now becoming impossible to ignore due to the prevalence of video recording.

    And I do think that “rogue” is appropriate since the majority of police do not engage in “unreasonable” behavior. That said, it seems a majority of police are willing to cover for those that do. And that may be the real problem.

    1. “And I do think that “rogue” is appropriate since the majority of police do not engage in “unreasonable” behavior. That said, it seems a majority of police are willing to cover for those that do. And that may be the real problem.”

      I don’t see the police covering for these officers….

  8. “no other officer would have dared to act in such a way.”

    That judge is an incurable optimist.

    1. “No other officer” might be extreme. However, the facts as stated are so ridiculous that I would accept “No reasonable officer” or even “No sane officer”.

      I mean, sneaking into someone’s backyard for a noise complaint makes no sense to begin with. Shooting before identifying yourself is attempted murder

  9. Missed. FIVE. Times.

    And society gives him a badge?

    1. They’ve been practicing to be Imperial Stormtroopers.

      1. That’s unfair the the Imperial Stormtroopers, who, while they certainly have terrible aim when they’ve been directed to let somebody escape because their ship has been equipped with a tracking device, are decent marksmen when not facing Jedi’s capable of deflecting shots or knowing exactly where you’re going to shoot.

        1. No discernable difference in shot quality between moments of “letting them escape” and proper battles, unless you wanna count hitting Leia in the arm once.

          1. When the storm troopers broke into Leia’s ship in New Hope, the did a good job shooting the defenders

            No Jedi there

    2. ‘Only the police have sufficient training to be trusted with firearms’

  10. From the ‘freezer on his porch’ to the lawman who shoots five times at a man in a doorway and misses every time, let alone the general ‘shoot-’em-up’ ambience, Berthoud sounds likes quite a town.

    1. Eh, the freezer on the porch thing is perfectly reasonable: You realize that, when a freezer is inside a house, every watt spent running it requires several watts extra for your air conditioning to remove? It in fact makes perfect sense to keep freezers outdoors, from an energy economy standpoint. At least, in places where air conditioning rather than heating is the major expense, and even in places where it isn’t, if interior space is at a premium.

      Plenty of people keep their freezers outdoors, or in unheated garages.

      1. My relatives who live in Colorado (Durango and Denver) don’t even have air conditioning because the weather does not get hot enough to need it very often. Air will often be cooler outside than inside, and as you say, it is easier to get rid of “waste” heat when the whole thing is outside.

        At higher ambient temperatures, efficiencies of scale probably mean it is better to have your whole-home heat pump remove some of the heat than to rely entirely on the small one inside a freezer. It is also less efficient to pump heat with a larger delta T between source and sink — when it gets really warm outside, you need multiple stages (such as a freezer inside an air-conditioned area) to be reasonably efficient.

    2. I overlooked the ‘makeshift horn this man had been using to yell at airplanes.’

      If your neighbors have freezers on porches, you are in the wrong neighborhood. If you have a freezer on the porch, you are a lousy neighbor. A freezer in the garage solves any heat management issue without creating a selfish eyesore.

      1. You are very confident considering you know nothing about the visibility of said freezer (other than it being 200+ feet from the property line). But then you’ve never been reluctant to make blanket assumptions, so no great surprise.

        What puzzles me is, why bother? They guy was using a horn to yell at airplanes, not the actions of someone with well grounded cognitive functionality. He is obviously a gap-toothed yokel, a perfect refutation to those who argue that Holmes was wrong. What pleasure is derived from mocking such as that?

        1. “yelling about President Trump’s immigration policies”: Democrat.

      2. “yelling about President Trump’s immigration policies”: A Democrat. Yes, a dumb neighborhood to live in. A Bernie sticker on his Volvo?

      3. “selfish eyesore”

        You are so gross. Let people have their fucking freezers on their porches. How uptight and easily offended can a person be…

      4. Additionally, if I want a freezer on my porch because it’s convenient and I like to sit there, you can fuck off.

        Are you telling women in your neighborhood how to dress appropriately? You appear to be the most un-american character one can run into.

      5. Oh, its you, of course.

        You rent a pod in San Francisco and eat bugs – and you hate people who won’t live like that.

      6. > If you have a freezer on the porch, you are a lousy neighbor. A freezer in the garage solves any heat management issue without creating a selfish eyesore.

        Why are you acting like a wannabe HOA board member?

  11. I’m sure they could get a job in NY:

    An unarmed, emotionally disturbed man shot at by the police as he was lurching around traffic near Times Square in September has been charged with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday.

    The man, Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, created a disturbance on Sept. 14, wading into traffic at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and throwing himself into the path of oncoming cars.

    A curious crowd grew. Police officers arrived and tried to corral Mr. Broadnax, a 250-pound man. When he reached into his pants pocket, two officers, who, the police said, thought he was pulling a gun, opened fire, missing Mr. Broadnax, but hitting two nearby women. Finally, a police sergeant knocked Mr. Broadnax down with a Taser.”

    I think they fired at least 9 shots, and only hit bystanders,but they did get credit for a felony collar, so nobody can say it was too much force.

  12. Two cases that look similar, but the legal system treated very different
    Ruby Ridge. Where property owner family member shot and killed un-identified by uniform LE, lurking on their private property. This motivated LE to kill an unarmed women holding her infant child in her arms

    The St Louis couple carrying weapons on their property as a show of force to deter looters.

    1. And by “looters” you mean “black people walking down the street.”

      1. I’m going to declare you both wrong on this. Looters is quite a stretch for people who were planning on peaceably protesting with signs outside of a public figures house. They weren’t walking down the street, they were trespassing on private property, that they had to break down a gate to enter.

        1. Nope. That was a lie by the McCloskeys. Video showed the gate open and unbroken when the protesters walked through it.

          At some point pictures do seem to show the gates broken, but that was at some point later.

          And it was not private property (and certainly not the McCloskeys’ private property.)

          1. 1: It’s a private community, and a private road. Yes it IS partially their private property.

            2: It most certainly was NOT the criminal thugs property.
            And, unless you’ve got support for a claim that the criminal thugs were invited in by a resident, they were trespassing by being there

            From your source:

            “She had her finger on the trigger pointing at people, shaking it around, and with the slip a finger she could have killed someone,” Glamour said.

            Bullshit. The gun was non-functional.

          2. A gated community is private property. That’s how they get the right to put the gate up.

      2. And by “looters” you mean “black people walking down the street.”

        Bzzt. That’s an amazing about of wrong there

        1: IIRC, most of the were “white”

        2: Who cares what their skin color is? Only racist pigs like you

  13. The case reflects a slow change in thinking from a position that instinctively trusts and justifies the police. It reflects several new developments.

    1. Until tecently, courts simply wouldn’t accept a criminal’s word (the word “suspect” might be used, but “criminal” was presumed) if it conflicted with a police officer’s. Criminals’ statements were considered inherently self-serving and incredible as a matter of law, and had to be corroborated for a complaint to pass the dismissal stage. This is slowly changing, and judges are increasingly willing to take a suspect’s word to a jury.

    2. Qualified immunity was imterpreted to mean a blanket permission on zero-day exploits. All a police officer had to do is come up with something that hadn’t been through a legal case before and it was golden. This approach didn’t just permit outrageous behavior, it actively encourages it. The more outrageous the behavior, the less likely it will have been done before, and hence the more solid a police officer’s legal ground for doing it.

    So simply saying that outrageous behavior doesn’t get qualified immunityis a huge improvement. Current law’s active rewarding of zero-day exploits incentivizes it.

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