Law

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A former federal judge looked at the Grand Jury evidence and explains why they got it right.

Joe Doakes

I’m not one to trust government much or easily.  But there’s a “government and its institutions are always wrong!” current among some of my libertarian friends that, while not entirely inaccurate, is more and more tending to serve as a substitute for reason and thought.  And that’s no better than some slavering droog who drools over reruns of “Cops”.

Encouraging News

During the Los Angeles “Rodney King” riots over twenty years ago, one of the most redeemingly hope-inspiring images was that of the city’s Korean shopkeepers took to their streets and rooftops to defend their stores from looters.

At a very difficult time in American history, Americans used their constitutional liberties to keep barbarism at bay.

I’m not an especially emotional person – far from it – but I feel a little swell in my heart when I see the images.  Like the “You can’t take our freedom” speech from Braveheart, the images of the plucky Koreans make me proud to be American – and human.  (Here’s the story, complete with political subtext).

And it was with that in mind that I found this story to be so inspirational:

A group of four black Ferguson residents reportedly armed themselves and descended upon a white-owned business following a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. But unlike many of the Ferguson demonstrators, the armed men were there to protect the business, not destroy it in protest.

The well-regulated militia.

The men told the Las Vegas Review Journal that they feel indebted to the white store owner, Doug Merello, who has given them employment over the years.

The black residents reportedly chased off groups of teenagers who allegedly wanted to loot the store. They also reportedly had a close-call after they were mistaken for looters by soldiers with the Missouri National Guard. One of the men was reportedly handcuffed temporarily until Morello could explain to the soldiers what they were doing at his business.

This is a great and noble thing.

What Not To Do

I can almost hear every carry permit instructor in the Twin Cities writing down the details of this case as their prime example of what never, never, ever to do with your firearm and permit:

The complaint said [Matrix Richard] Lee got up and ran at the woman to retrieve the purse, but she drove at Lee and lifted her arm making some sort of gesture that, in fear of being shot, prompted Lee to grab his handgun, insert a full magazine and fire around the fleeing vehicle. The driver apparently gave him the finger, and angrily, he fired an additional shot at the car in effort to pop the tires, Lee told police.

Pro tip: if they are fleeing, and so far away that you have to steady your arm for a long range shot at a moving target, you are probably not “in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm”.

If the facts of the case are exactly as presented (always the caveat when the mainstream media is reporting on self-defense cases) then Mr. Lee would seem to deserve to be prosecuted for a whole dogs breakfast of charges, not the least of them reckless endangerment.

And not only will Mr. Lee truly deserve it, but I think we need to take a close look at whoever his carry permit training instructor was, just in case.

Flashback

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when I worried that the new Domestic Abuse legislation would let cops seize guns on a mere allegation from a spouse? I was wrong, and Andrew was right, about the wording of that legislation.

But the Eid case that I sent you illustrates the difference between that the law SAYS and how the law is ENFORCED.

The cops in the Eid case claimed – and the HennCo prosecutor argued in court – that taking a person to lock-up for a 72-hour hold on the fear that he might be a danger to himself or others, was legally identical to a judicial finding of mental illness sufficient to commit a person to a mental hospital after a full-blown commitment trial; therefore, loss of gun rights.

No, that’s not what the law says. But that’s how HennCo enforces it.

Unless you can afford a great lawyer to fight the system, it doesn’t matter what the law says, it only matters what the law does to you. I was wrong about the wording. But was I right about the risk?

Joe Doakes
Como Park

that is always the kicker, with any law: governments in force laws any damn way they please. Or, as the Obama administration has shown us, if they care to do it at all.

Nuisances

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If the Church shuffling around bad priests is a public nuisance for purposes of making it easier to sue, can the same theory be applied to schools who shuffle around bad teachers, or police departments who shuffle around bad cops, or courts who shuffle around incompetent judges, or even the federal government who shuffles around bad employees (whatever happened to Jamie Gorelick)

Or is this simply a claim against a despised religious minority in a state known for its Know Nothing heritage?

Joe Doakes

Not to mention a makework program for lawyers?

A Good Guy With A Gun

A horrific rampage in Oklahoma, involving a recent convert to Islam beheading one woman and stabbing another, was ended…

by a citizen with a carry permit

More on the show tomorrow, and on SITD on Monday.

UPDATE:  While some media are calling the shooter/hero an “off duty cop” – which implies he was a policeman, with police training, who just happens to also work as a Chief Operating Officer of a food plant, which is enterprising indeed, and maybe even happens in small rural towns in the west – the police report indicates he was in fact a reserve deputy.  Which in most departments means he helps with parades, and doesn’t have permission to carry weapons, or weapons training, any different than a regular citizen.  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office may be different – but I’m gonna guess they’re not.

Time will tell.  But experience shows us that time will likely tell us that it was a law-abiding citizen with little special training, but a strong desire to keep himself and his co-workers alive. 

Someone tell Michael Bloomberg.  And Heather Martens.

UPDATE 2:  While the fella was a recent convert to Islam, I’m gonna blame “crazy”, rather than “Moslem”, if that’s OK with y’all.

UPDATE 3:  A check of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma sheriff’s department website indicates that their reserve deputies do recieve “basic law enforcement training”, without going into detail.  Does this mean they carry firearms, just like regular patrol deputies?  I’ll find out.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The Star/Tribune is covering what appears to be an escalating war between a number of Minneapolis street gangs.  Yesterday’s piece, bylined Libor Jany, breaks things down

…well, almost.  I’ll add emphasis:

The three people shot Tuesday were believed to have had some involvement in the Soundbar shooting, community leaders said.

But those were only the most recent.

Others include:

• Eulalio Gonzalez-Sanchez, 36, of Minneapolis, was gunned down about 6:25 a.m. Sunday at the corner of 22nd Avenue NE. and 7th Street as he walked home from the bus stop. No one has been arrested in the case.

Earl Lee Malone, 18, of Edina, was fatally shot and left in front of a house on the 2600 block of Knox Avenue about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police later arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear when charges will be brought.

• Jemario Langston, 17, of Minneapolis, was shot and killed Sept. 16 by assailants who chased him to his aunt’s house. After hearing gunshots, the aunt opened her back door to find his sprawled body. No one has been arrested.

The Bogus Boys have been locked in a long-simmering struggle with several other South Side gangs, including the Bloods, “10s” and “20s,” said Ferome Brown, an activist who attended Tuesday’s meeting and works to steer young people away from gangs.

Many of the gang members he works with, Brown says, grew up in the same neighborhoods.

That’s a good run-down of a neighborhood in crisis…

…but wait.  See the empasized stuff?  Earl Malone?   We talked about him earlier today.   He was shot in self-defense.   The media knows this – as in this WCCO-TV piece filed a day earlier than the Strib’s piece.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the carjacking that Mr. Malone apparently attempted may have been gang-related.   

But lumping a self-defense shooting – one in which a community member defended themselves against an immediate threat to their life and health – is not the same as gang bangers carrying on an endless blood feud.  It’s just not.

Does the Strib know the difference?

Self-Defense

The rumors started flying over the weekend – and Tuesday, we got confirmation:  one of the rash of shootings in Minneapolis over the weekend involved a carry permittee, a 21 year old Minneapolis man:

Authorities believe he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot 18-year-old Earl Malone Saturday night at the intersection of Knox Avenue North and 26th Street.

Police took the 21-year-old man into custody at the scene. Sources tell WCCO the man has a conceal-and-carry [sic] permit, and told police he shot Malone because he had tried to rob him.

According to a Facebook post from the Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum and the irreplaceable Shelley Leeson – a reliable source on these sorts of stories – the permit holder apparently said Malone was armed, and tried to car-jack him. 

According to police files, the 21-year-old permittee fired three shots; Malone fled, and the permittee called 911, exactly as one is supposed to do.  Squads responding found Malone dead – his gun still in his hand. 

Since the permittee has been released without charges, you may be certain of three things:

  1. He didn’t pick a fight with Mr. Malone.  Indeed, he did everything feasible to get away from the fight (with “feasible” being the operative word).
  2. The permittee legitimately feared being killed or maimed – enough so that the notoriously anti-gun Henco attorney Mike Freeman was convinced the case didn’t need to go to trial.
  3. The use of lethal force was appropriate under the circumstances; if it weren’t, Mike Freeman would pounce like a vulture.

And while the identity of the shooter has not been released, and likely won’t be (for the shooter’s protection, no doubt), I’m going to hazard a guess – and it is only a guess – that the permittee is African-American. 

If it weren’t true, the local media and the cluster of anti-gun pressure groups, who would love to have a Trayvon Martin of their very own to wave like a bloody shirt, would be howling about it right now.

The Mystery Deepens

 As was noted last week, there’ve been two arrests in the first armed robbery in the 150-odd year history of the Minnesota State Fair. 

Two Saint Paul men were arrested in the August 29 robbery of the MN Craft Beer booth, which netted (at least briefly) over $100,000. 

St. Paul residents Antontio Washington, 20, and Jarret Maiden, 35, have been booked into jail in suspicion of being behind the $10,000-plus heist, which was the first armed robbery in the fair’s history.

But there’s a mystery!

As was noted on this blog during the fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds was posted, for the first time since “shall issue” carry reform passed in 2003, as a gun-free zone.

And yet…:

State Fair police spokesperson Brooke Blakey tells us the gun believed to have been used during the robbery has been recovered, but declined further comment, citing the active investigation.

So there’s a mystery worthy of Poireau or Holmes.  Two, really:

  • How did an illegal gun make it past the signs at the front gate?
  • How did a gun wind up getting used in a crime where guns had just been made illegal?

Someone explain this to me?

More Abuse

The same prosecutor who approved a pre-trial diversion program for football player Ray Rice, a fairly routine step in New Jersey for first-time offenders (especially non-violent ones, which Rice was not alleged to be) - and the judge who ordered the diversion – is doing his best to throw the book at a 27 year old black single mother of two whose only “crime” was inadvertently driving into Camden, NJ with a handgun that was perfectly legal in Philadelphia, and for which she had valid Pennsylvania carry permit.

Shaneen Allen wants to know what makes her so different from Ray Rice.

Allen, a 27-year-old Philadelphia mother who says she mistakenly entered New Jersey with a handgun legally registered in her state, was not accepted into a pre-trial intervention program, unlike the former Baltimore Ravens running back who was caught on an elevator surveillance camera punching his then-fiancée and current wife. The disparate decisions, made by the same prosecutor and approved by the same judge, leave Allen facing more than three years in prison and Rice free, though disgraced. 

It was entirely a matter of the prosecutor’s discretion – and that of the judge confirming the decision:

Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain recommended Rice for the program in May, months after denying the single mother’s application. And Superior Court Judge Michael Donio, who signed off on the agreement that spared Rice jail time, denied a motion by Allen’s attorney to force McClain to reconsider.

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what happened:  Ms. Allen crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philly into Camden.  Before she could turn around and get back to Philly, she got pulled over for a routine traffic stop.  When she showed the cop her license and insurance, she also showed him her carry permit and said she had a gun in her purse.  That might have been too much honesty – according to her attorney, Evan Nappen (with whom I spoke last night while sitting in with Mark Walters on “Armed American”), the judge told her she was, basically, in trouble for being honest.   It may also have not been a bad idea; if the cop had for whatever reason seen or found an unannounced gun, it could have gotten sticky.

Ms. Allen’s trial has been rescheduled, and switched to a new judge – which is probably a good thing for her.

But there’s a great question for the people of New Jersey; why are there two tiers of justice in Atlantic County?  One for former Rutgers football stars, and one for commoners?

 

The Good Guys Win Another

Gang youths try to rob a group of Milwaukeeans.

Law-abiding Milwaukee citizen with carry permits shoot back.

Citizens win:

He fatally shot one of the robbers, a 15-year-old known gang member who was already the victim of another non-fatal shooting on August 1.

The teen had previously been charged with armed robbery, auto theft, theft, and fleeing.

Innocent babes in the woods mowed down in the prime of life, unjustly?

Well, mowed down in the prime of life, sure. The rest of it?

Police have arrested another two 14-year-old males, a 16-year-old male, a 17-year-old female, and an 18-year-old male.

Police say this particular group is responsible for multiple armed robberies that have recently hit Milwaukee. Police say the group may be responsible for “dozens” of robberies over just the past three days.

“This is criminals that are running around the city creating opportunities for them to rob people all over and this was just the timing,” Alderman Jose Perez said. “This has nothing to do with the district or the neighborhood.”

Deaths are rarely a good thing.

But better the bad actors than the good ones. Sorry to say.

Ferguson

What do I think about what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri?

Re the Brown shooting:  On the one hand, American police do a lot more shooting than any other police force in the world.  More shots were fired in that single incident in Ferguson than were fired by the entire German police force in six whole weeks. 

On the other hand, African-Americans do get a disparately-harsh response from law-enforcement.   It causes some to prejudge all cases involving black shooting victimes.

On the third hand – that cuts both ways.  We don’t know the facts – not all of them – about the Brown shooting, but we’ve seen the media whitewash the likes of Darren Evanovich, trying to create a racial incident out of what turned out to be a perfectly clean self-defense shooting. 

On the fourth hand, if Brown was going for the officer’s gun, that’s a legitimate cause for self-defense.  Even for a regular citizen.  If someone grabs your gun, the law doesn’t require you to read his mind as to what he intends to do with it. 

On the fourth, we may not ever really know why the scuffle happened, or exactly what happened. 

And that, in fact, is the only real response I have to add.  Remember the media’s reports in the first hours, days, even weeks after Columbine?  Virginia Tech? The Giffords and Aurora Theater and Newtown shootings?  Remember how close to the actual facts of the stories they got?

Not at all.

So I’ll wait for the facts to shake out, assuming they ever do.

Regarding the Police Response:  I’ve written before about how I oppose the militarization of the police.  And the first couple of days of the Ferguson PD’s response was the Keystone Kops led by Major Frank Burns.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with the DoD selling military firearms and armored vehicles to police departments – provided they sell them to law-abiding citizens, as well.

And yet when the Ferguson Fusiliers were withdrawn and replaced by the kinder, gentler, New-Ageier Missouri State Police?   The violence ebbed ,then came back as bad as ever, prompting local, black residents to wonder to the media why the cops weren’t shooting looters.  And now the National Guard is involved. 

The Charlatan Caucus:  Of course, where there are grievances, there will be grievance vultures.  And sure enough, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are on the scene – which in and of itself devalues much of the local community’s complaints. 

As bad, in their own way?  The media – which continue lead with inaccurate info, when they’re not making the story about themselves.

Frustration

Joe Dokes from Como Park emails:

Dear Diary: Today was a frustrating milestone — 15,000 consecutive days of living in a home where a firearm is present, and not a single person shot. Not one! What Am I Doing Wrong? Why don’t I fit in? No wonder the young people in North Minneapolis don’t want to hang out with me (note to self: research what neat-o tunes the hep cats are grooving to, these days; Barry Manilow is out).
Joe Doakes

I think it’s one of those things when you just know you’re part of the in crowd. Or not.

One For The Good Guys

Armed robber tries to stick up a store in North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police responded to a report of an armed robbery just before 9 a.m. at the Handy Stop on the 2600 block of West Broadway Avenue. When officers arrived, they learned an armed suspect entered the store and attempted to rob it at gunpoint.

Armed store owner had a dissenting opinion:

Police said at some point, the suspect and the store owner exchanged gun fire. Nobody was hit as a result of the gun fire, and there were no injuries in the incident. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived and is still at-large.

There are few news stories in the world that make me happier than criminal scum leaving the premises, in cuffs, on a stretcher or, Heaven forfend, a gurney (let’s not call it “happy” in this case), or even at a dead run with soiled undies as a law-abiding citizen sweeps up shell casings behind him. 

They’ve just got to set Michael Bloomberg spinning in the coffin he sleeps in.

The Kill Cult

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed me about something Glenn Reynolds wrote, that I wanted to write about anyway:

Libertarian, explained in six sentences:
“So, I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.”

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, 8:34 a.m. July 25, 2014

Far be it from me to disagree with the esteemed Prof. Reynolds, but I think it’s his thinking that’s confused.

We pay taxes to a state that excels at carrying out violence for the same reason we buy a pistol and get a carry permit; we are responding prudently to a threat by giving ourselves the means to defend ourselves, singularly and collectively, from what the law calls “an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm” or it’s state equivalent, conquest and destruction. Judgment is called for – but not “due process”.

I don’t necessarily trust the state to “get self-defense right”, but where the alternative is being conquered by someone much worse, I’ll accept the risks.

Criminal justice is not self-defense. It’s not about life or death (for the crime victim, anyway) – not anymore. The perp is in custody. It’s about making things right, which involves getting things right.

Except the state can’t get things right – not 100% of the time.

There is no alternative to self-defense – you live if it works, and if it doesn’t you die. There is a reasonable alternative to the state botching executions, or, worse, killing the wrong person entirely (as they have certainly done more than a few times).

I tolerate the idea of the state defending us imperfectly because there is no rational alternative. There are plenty of rational alternatives to the state botching the judicial execution.

There. I hope I’ve settled that once and for all.

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?

Like most people of my generation, I was brought up to respect and trust the police.

Of course, conservatism is about enduring social orders, and, when absolutely necessary and when nothing else will work, applying judicious force to protect that order against those that would harm, rob or swindle others, within the boundaries of fair, just laws on which there was broad consensus.

But conservatism is also about limited government – the proverbial good government that governs least.

And it says impossible to miss as it is troubling to notice that nearly every day seems to bring another story of grotesque police overreach; of swat teams barging into the wrong house, shooting dogs and handcuffing people and terrorizing children (or, in one recent case, burning and disfiguring them with Military grade flash bang grenades) only to find that it’s the wrong address (and then tearing the place apart to find something, anything illegal to justify the raid, and still leaving the homeowners to pay for the damages; “rogue” cops trampling all over citizens rights.

On the one hand, criticizing the police goes against conservatives’ DNA, in some ways; it is a difficult and necessary job.

On the other hand, or the past 20 years the police have been getting more and more powerful – and, with the blessing of not a few courts that seem to forgotten what the Constitution was for, made the 4th amendment almost as meaningless as the 10th.

And criticizing the heavy handedness of the police doesn’t come without blowback; you can usually count on a few responses almost immediately:

  • “You could never do the job” – other than “reading addresses correctly” and knowing the difference between a dangerous dog and family pet barking to protect his family, you’re probably right. That’s why I pay taxes for the police department. As employees. Not feudal lords and masters.
  • “Without police, society would be overrun with criminals!” – For starters, it’s a strawman; nobody’s talking about getting rid of the police. Again, I pay taxes, in part, for a police force. As employees, to keep the order – not like medieval knights to whom I, the mere citizen, must bow and scrape.
  • “What’s the matter? If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from the police. Maybe you have something to hide…” – I’m not saying that people who say this with a straight, unironic face want a dictatorial police state. I’m just saying that dictatorial police states need lots of people who think this kind of idiocy to have a chance to take root. And in a society is overrun with rules and regulations as ours is, I think it’s fairly safe to say that absolutely no one hasn’t broken some sort of law.
  • “You can’t blame the police for wanting to come home alive at the end of the shift” – Absolutely. And watching the way the police sprayed fire at innocent civilians during the manhunt for rogue cop Christopher Dornan in California two years ago, or watching police wound nine people – none of them the perpetrator – chasing a shooter around the Empire State building in New York City, you can’t blame me for wanting to do the same.

AJ Delgado, writing in National Review,
points out the danger in unthinking, knee-jerk support for the police.

He starts with the obligatory disclaimer – although that’s not enough to forestall some of the knee-jerk reactions he gets his comments section:

Let’s get the obligatory disclaimer out of the way: Yes, many police officers do heroic works and, yes, many are upstanding individuals who serve the community bravely and capably.

But respecting good police work means being willing to speak out against civil-liberties-breaking thugs who shrug their shoulders after brutalizing citizens.

Read the whole thing.

Delgado points out that, but some statistical measures, police are actually better behaved than they used to be. And in an era where everyone has a cell phone with a video camera, it’s getting harder and harder for police to misbehave.

On the other hand, now that local police forces are running around with SWAT teams decks out in better battle rattle than the local National Guard unit, the stakes are even higher than they used to be.

Read the whole thing.

Marketing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s nice to feel welcome.
20140724-082838-30518143.jpg
Joe Doakes

i’m always puzzled by stores that post themselves “no firearms”. Carry permit holders are, on average, about 3% of Minnesota customers. Members of every gun-control organization combined amount to less than 1% of 1%.

How many people would you rather have stay away from your business?

The Good Cop

Detroit Police Chief James Craig attributes part of 37% drop in armed robbery to armed homeowners making life a little too, er, “brisk” for the city’s thugs:

Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns.

“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

Even more notably?  It’s been two months since the last major home-defense incident, the last of a flurry of such incidents in which criminals scampered away from law-abiding homeowners who engaged them.

Sometimes the criminals got hurt.  Other times, merely humiliated – sometimes on camera:

It may not be the acme of Christian charity, but watching homeowners humiliate punks at gunpoint warms my heart.

Anyway – urban police chiefs tend to be toadies, on a policy level, to the liberal Democrats who appoint them.  It’s good to see Craig breaking that particular noxious mold.

Progress!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Population of Chicago in 1930: 3.3 million. Crime_in_Chicago”>Number of homicides: 399. Gun control: none.

Population of Chicago in 2010: 2.7 million. Number of homicides: 436. Gun control: plenty.

Chicago in Al Capone’s day was known for gang violence but modern Chicago gangs kill more victims from a smaller pool.

Chicago gangs doing it better.

Joe Doakes

Who says there’s no such thing as progress?

The Copycat Factory

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Hey you, watching this news channel.  That’s not your picture, is it?  They’re not saying Your name or discussing Your Facebook video, are they?   They’re ignoring you.   Acting like you don’t matter. Not giving you the respect you deserve.   They’re like those snotty girls at school who sneer at you when you’re just trying to be nice.  Or those jocks shoving you in the hallway.

It doesn’t have to be like this.  You can get noticed.   You can get Even.  We will give you a million dollars of free publicity for every one of them you shoot at school.  It’d be easy.  It’d be Satisfying.

The more you shoot, the brighter your star will shine.  We can make you Somebody.   We can make you Famous.  We’re CNN.  We make the news.”

When a person already is hearing voices, and then the media gives a 24-7 assist to the Devil on the Left Shoulder, well, I’m no psychiatrist but I gotta wonder . . . .

Joe Doakes

I’m not going to say that the news industry knows and banks on the fact that creating copycat murderers is like storing seed corn for them.

But it would make sense, if you were deeply cynical and worried about your own survival, wouldn’t it?

Margin

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s not strictly speaking a gun-rights case.  But the discussion of the 21-foot rule might be useful to a CCW permittee who finds herself explaining why she shot a person holding a knife, standing a little distance away from her.

The defendant in this case argued with apartment security, went to her car, retrieved a knife, then returned to threaten security with the knife.  The prosecution called the investigating detective, who testified:

“Over defense objection, Detective Ratajczyk testified regarding the continuum of force; the lowest level of force being the presence of a person in uniform, and the level of force then moves from verbal, to physical, to deadly force.  According to Detective Ratajczyk, force in response to a threat is “met with the same force plus one.”  Detective Ratajczyk also testified that he believed a knife is a dangerous weapon, particularly if the knife is within 21 feet of an officer because a distance of 21 feet is the minimum distance an officer with a holstered weapon needs to react to a threat from a knife . . . Even if we were to conclude that the challenged testimony was inadmissible, appellant cannot establish prejudice because there is no reasonable possibility that the verdict would have been different had the challenged testimony not been admitted.  See Post, 512 N.W.2d at 102.  The record reflects that the evidence supporting appellant’s guilt was overwhelming.”

The Court didn’t actually rule on whether the 21-foot rule was valid.  But the court didn’t toss it out, either.  Keep this case in your pocket for the next time somebody claims a knife isn’t a reason to use deadly force.

Joe Doakes

I would love to see the weasel assistant DA who tries to state with a straight face that a knife isn’t a deadly weapon.

Only on Planet Law.