Indiana law lets citizens shoot at police

SF Gate

Every time police Sgt. Joseph Hubbard stops a speeder or serves a search warrant, he says he worries that suspects assume they can open fire – without breaking the law.

Hubbard, a 17-year veteran of the Police Department in Jeffersonville, Ind., says his apprehension stems from a state law approved this year that allows residents to use deadly force in response to the “unlawful intrusion” by a “public servant” to protect themselves and others, or their property.

“If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he’s going to say, ‘Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property,’ ” said Hubbard, 40, president of Jeffersonville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 100. “Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.”

Indiana is the first U.S. state to specifically allow force against officers, according to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in Washington, which represents and supports prosecutors. The National Rifle Association pushed for the law, saying an unfavorable court decision made the need clear and that it would allow homeowners to defend themselves during a violent, unjustified attack. Police lobbied against it.

The NRA has worked to spread permissive gun laws around the country. Among them is the stand-your-ground self-defense measure in Florida, which generated nationwide controversy after the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenager.

The measure amends the 2006 so-called Castle Doctrine bill that allows deadly force to stop illegal entry into a home or car.

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