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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Use of force, the perspective of the user and the law.

After the Trevon Martin-George Zimmerman shooting in Florida from 2012, and the subsequent acquittal of Mr. Zimmerman a lot of people where asking "How could they let him go, Martin wasn't armed..." In multiple blog post or Facebook discussions I had to explain that is not required. The legal standard for use of deadly force is when the actor has "reasonable fear of life or serious bodily injury" for themselves or a third person.

Like most areas of the country, if an officer (or any citizen for that matter) uses deadly force that action must be reviewed by a grand jury. Nice thing about Harris county is all things being even, grand juries here give cops the benefit of a doubt when they shoot.  And we don't take an "understanding eye" when Obama voters break into a house and are shot dead by a resident (New York, California take a note of how it's done!), but that's another subject for another post.

One thing Harris County does is allow its grand juries to go through a shoot-don't shoot simulator. It gives the average man/woman on the street some perspective. An attorney (Paul Looney, what a name for a lawyer) has issues with that and here is great interview with him with a local host,Matt Patrick. Mr Looney at one points criticizes the use of the simulator, saying it makes people identify with the cops and we should have people who judge their actions more objective with police, to "stand back". In the next sentence he says we need a "cross section of experiences", with people representing the police officer, some the defendant, No one ever said you should expect intellectual consistency from an attorney.

Just over four minutes and worth your time. .

Police Shoot Simulator for Grand Jurors

BTY, he lost the appeal

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