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Old 03-21-2008, 07:55 AM   #1
Stephen Archut
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Question for the police officers out there

Knowing that there are a decent amount of police officers and others involved in law enforcement in the crossfit community I thought I would throw this out there.
The other day my car was broken in to, the joys of city living. However due to the actions of a good samaritan they were scared off before finishing the job and my car remains, albeit with a messed up steering column now. Apparently this all happened minutes before I would have come across it myself though.
My question is am I able to protect my car the same way I would my house? Could I have restrained one of these kids while waiting for the police? If I had roughed one up could I have been charged with assault?
Just curious. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:36 AM   #2
William McDaniel
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Great question. I have wondered this myself many times. Fresno has a major auto theft problem and cars in our neighborhood get broken into all the time. Every time I hear someone outside at night my wife pleads with me not to go outside. What level of force can I reasonbly use? I have to admit I would, just once, love to dole out a beating to some would be theif. Especially after six months of cf, I feel like I could run them down and catch them. I've even been practicing and getting pretty good at the hop over high fences move that gang bangers seem to be so good at.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:43 AM   #3
Scott A. Fout
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Stephen, In Ohio you can detain as in a "citizens arrest" but you have to watch the use of force you use to detain the suspect. Remember that if you use force to detain you can't let your emotions take over. You have to be able to justify your actions to the police and possibly to the prosecutors office should the suspect try and file charges of assault.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
Scott A. Fout
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

William, Believe me I know what your saying about the frustration you feel. On the street I deal with it every day. Just remember to be safe and level headed with your actions. Anymore you never no who your dealing with and what they might be carrying.
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:37 AM   #5
Stephen Archut
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Thanks for the answer Scott.
I guess then that brings up the question of what is generally considered within reason when using force? I already know that there probably isn't a definitive answer for that but thoughts on it are welcome.
Along with what William brings up, is there a difference between trying to detain someone breaking in to MY car versus a stranger's car? Are these situations looked at in the same light?
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:39 AM   #6
John Seiler
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott A. Fout View Post
William, Believe me I know what your saying about the frustration you feel. On the street I deal with it every day. Just remember to be safe and level headed with your actions. Anymore you never no who your dealing with and what they might be carrying.
And be mindful of what you post in public forums. "As exhibit A, the prosecution would like to present..."
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:04 AM   #7
John Stirling
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Stephen, it's going to be a very difficult question to answer on this forum. The reason being that laws very from state to state. For example, in some states you would possibly be charged with assault and battery for restraining a person in the protection of property. However, I some places, Texas specifically, they have what is called the "castle doctrine". This doctrine authorizes a person to use LETHAL force to protect there home. Where I'm at, a person would have to be a threat of danger to use lethal force against them breaking into your home. In Texas, you can shoot them as they walk through the front door with no weapons. There was, at one time, and possibly still is, a Texas law that lethal force can be used to protect all property.

Example of this...a few years back a repo man took someones car in repossession by using a spare key from the auto shop. The person thought the repo man was stealing the car and shot him as he drove down the street with a high-powered rifle. Repo man dead, gunman accuited.

Check your local laws and ask the question. Here, reasonable would be detaining a person and, from my point of view, if they get minor injuries in a citizens arrest, so be it. However, curb stomping them would not be appropriate as it might be other places.

Always think about this, you might see them breaking into your car and that's annoying. However, they don't need a gun to break into a car, but they might have one. Is the property and the annoyance worth the possible risk? You have to answer that one yourself.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:15 AM   #8
Bobby Nauss
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

While the idea of "citizen arrests" aren't necessarily bad, you have to consider who you are dealing with. In January a buddy and teammate of mine was shot in the face, chest, legs and butt by a suspect. The suspect had stolen a pair of $28 pants from the mall. Those $28 pants cost the bad guy his life. (My buddy is going to be fine)

Just realize that you may be bringing months and months of CrossFit to the table against a guy with a pistol. Remember the old saying, don't bring a knife to a gunfight.
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:21 AM   #9
Stephen Archut
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

Good point on the varying state laws John. I think I remember seeing in the news that Florida has a castle doctrine that's all encompassing.
The thought of them being armed crossed my mind. My car at this point is probably worth more in parts and definitely not worth me getting shot or stabbed over. But I think anyone's natural reaction to seeing a person trying to steal your car would be 'Motherf***er, I got you now' and wanting to take a baseball bat to their head. Which clearly violates controlling your emotions in that situation.
I honestly have no clue what I would have done had I come across it myself.
Overall I'm just really curious on the perspective of the police regarding an incident like this.
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:29 PM   #10
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Re: Question for the police officers out there

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Originally Posted by John Stirling View Post
In Texas, you can shoot them as they walk through the front door with no weapons. There was, at one time, and possibly still is, a Texas law that lethal force can be used to protect all property.
If you can show that a reasonable person would feel that lethal force was the only way to prevent your loss of property, you can utilize lethal force to stop the theft of your property in Texas (or the property of your spouse or family member). You may only do so for a 3rd party's property if they've asked you to watch out for their property. Also, I recall there being some kind of clause that it has to be at night time or something.... I'll have to go research it again

In Chicago, who knows... it might be a crime to not come out and give the bad guy your keys to make his job easier! I would have to imagine that use of force is going to be looked upon badly there, given their liberal-ish bent... but who knows....

Bobby, glad your partner is Ok. Scary stuff. Bobby's got a great point - be real cautious about what you get into. Being fit will not stop bullets or knife wounds (actually more dangerous than bullets). Be smart and stay safe
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