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originally posted by: DexterRiley
Given the scenario you've proposed, in principle, I would say yes.
However, the reality of the situation would be quite different. If an average citizen attempted to intervene in a case where 4 cops are giving another average citizen a beat down, if he opened fire, he would almost certainly be shot, or at least arrested and prosecuted. He would likely be found guilty of capital murder, and executed in those states that still practice that form of punishment.
Making a change will take action. Here's something they can try:
Spread a message. Tell anyone who will listen about jury nullification. Tell them that if they ever serve on a jury where anyone is charged with a crime against a cop, prosecutor, or judge, they should vote not guilty. No matter the charge, no matter the evidence, no matter the situation, not guilty.
Lying to the cops? Not guilty.
Resisting arrest? Not guilty.
Drug dealer shoots an undercover cop? Not guilty.
Video shows the defendant cutting up a judge with a chainsaw? Not guilty.
Convince one in ten potential jurors, we might see some changes.
originally posted by: DexterRiley
One area that I've seen may be applicable to having a trained person at the scene is when officers are dispatched to handle someone who is known to be mentally ill and acting irrationally when they're at home, or some other non-public venue. We've seen a couple of cases where officers were sent out on humanitarian calls to check on, or subdue, someone who is acting irrationally because they've come off their meds; or experienced a mood change because of environmental reasons. In the cases that come to mind, there appeared to be ample time to get a trained officer on the scene before action was taken. The end result was the sick individual sustained fatal or severe injuries.
In another case I remember that an officer was harassing a mentally ill homeless man who turned on him. He dumped a whole magazine in the guy to stop him. In a recording of the call from the officer to dispatch after the incident, he sounded like he had just done battle with Lucifer himself. LOL. Maybe with a little training that officer might have behaved a little differently. At the very least, if he had some backup he could have save a dozen or so rounds of ammo.
To a point, I can see that, but again, training and then always having officers on-duty or at-the-ready 24/7 can both be exceptionally expensive and logistically difficult. I'm not saying that it's not possible in many places, but not every city and every police force can afford both the specialized training and the hiring of these trained officers. They cannot force already-hired officers to undergo the special training (unless it's across the board, or maybe rank-related), not can they always ensure that incoming officers are specially trained.
And then there's the periodic recertification that would come along with it, because it would definitely not be a skill that would be readily deployed by an individual without recurring training on the topic (because this is probably a relatively rare occurrence in most PD jurisdictions, where an encounter with a mentally questionable individual escalates to serious injury or death). That recertification and re-training isn't free.
Now you're playing in questionable territory, because it is absolutely impossible to prove the veracity of your hypotheticals, so we can make up anything that might have occurred and base arguments off of that, but I try to avoid that, as it's a logically fallacious way to discuss an issue, and IMO, doesn't result in anything positive
In any event, like you say, we can agree to disagree to a point--I can see having trained people in large departments who can afford both the cost and the manpower, but as a whole, I don't think that it would be very feasible in the average department.
I certainly would be interested to see a few test cases done, though.