Tuesday, February 28, 2017

As a three-time victim of police violence, I'm starting to wonder if states should follow Indiana's lead and allow citizens to shoot cops who disrespect the law

(From rt.com)
For more than 2 1/2 years, the nation has been besieged with reports of police misconduct, much of it brazen and grotesque. And yet, a recent report found that the number of fatal police shootings in 2016 remained virtually unchanged from the year before.

As a victim of police violence three times in less than four years -- and in each case, I committed no crime and engaged in no misconduct of any kind -- I have a perspective on this that might be different from many. In fact, I will admit that perhaps my view is skewed by my personal experience. But the bottom line is this: I've seen, up close, how some police officers can act like thugs, beasts, and outlaws. And I wonder if it might be time for the public to adopt extreme measures to protect ourselves.

One state already has adopted an extreme measure. In 2012, Indiana passed a law that allows citizens to use deadly force against any public servant they believe is unlawfully entering their home, vehicle, or real property. The term "public servant" includes law-enforcement officers.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) pushed for the law, and normally, I don't agree with the NRA on much of anything. But let's consider what has happened to my wife, Carol, and me since fall 2013:

* From roughly September 23 to October 30, 2013, Alabama deputies made about a dozen visits to our property, for no apparent lawful reason, shortly after my reports about U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his ties to 1990s gay pornography. They even came at night, shining lights in our windows and banging on the doors. We later learned the cops supposedly were trying to serve court papers in a lawsuit filed by GOP thug Rob "Uday" Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke, (Some of the visits were apparent efforts to arrest Carol, in the week after I had been thrown in jail.) A lawyer who later reviewed the sealed file said it showed no summons had been issued during the apparent service attempts. That means the service attempts were unlawful and suggests the officers were trying to unlawfully arrest us all along. The Indiana law states, in part:

(i) A person is justified in using reasonable force against a public servant if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to:

(3) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person’s immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect.

Under the Indiana law, Carol and I could have shot each officer as he/she stepped onto our property. Is that a result we would have wanted? No. Are extreme measures needed in an era where law-enforcement officers seem to think they can violate civil rights with impunity? Maybe.

* On September 29, 2013, Alabama deputy Mike DeHart blocked our vehicle as Carol and I pulled into a parking space at the North Shelby County Library. DeHart claimed I had rolled through a stop sign, wrote me a warning, and then handed me court papers in a lawsuit filed by GOP thug Rob "Uday" Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke, saying, "Mr. Shuler, you've been served." When it became clear the purpose of the stop was to give me court papers -- and I had not committed a traffic violation -- I realized DeHart had committed a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment. After I sent a few choice words in his direction -- calling him a "fraud," with perhaps a few qualifying adjectives -- he yanked on our open car door, grabbed my arm, and tried to pull me out of the vehicle. Carol let out a shriek that hinted she was about to jump his ass, right there with parents and children walking about. That apparently shocked some sense into DeHart, and he retreated to his vehicle, moved it, and we drove off.

Under Indiana law, Carol or I could have shot DeHart when he attempted to enter our vehicle. Is that a desirable outcome? No. What other options does a citizen have against cops who knowingly go rogue, especially when judges clearly favor cops in civil-rights lawsuits?

* On October 23, 2013, Alabama Deputy Chris Blevins drove his squad car down our driveway as I was trying to pull into the garage, nearly hitting both our car and our house. I was startled when he honked his horn, but I managed to raise the door and pull the car in. When I got out of the car, Blevins was standing inside our garage, near our car's rear bumper. He asked me to step outside, without showing a warrant, saying he had a warrant, or stating his purpose for being there. I told him to get out of our basement/garage, which was part of our home. Next thing I knew, Blevins was pushing and shoving me, knocking me to a concrete floor three times and dousing me with pepper spray.

Under Indiana law, I could have shot Blevins the minute he set foot in our garage, maybe earlier.

* On September 9, 2015, more than a half dozen Greene County deputies burst into our duplex apartment in Springfield, Missouri, for an eviction that, by law, was stayed because we had timely filed a notice of appeal. Every lawyer involved in the case had been notified of the appeal and resulting stay, but the landlord and deputies decided to evict us anyway. Carol and I had assault rifles and multiple pistols pointed at us, and a deputy slammed Carol to the ground and yanked on her arms so viciously that it broke her left arm. The damage was so severe it required repair by a trauma surgeon, and Carol is expected to regain only 75 percent or so usage.

Under Indiana law, Carol or I could have shot each officer as he (or she) burst through our front door.

Do I like the contents of Indiana's law? Well, I'm not sure that I do. I would prefer to live in a country where law-enforcement officers behave honorably, respecting the law and the rights of citizens. But we don't have that. And the latest statistics indicate officers have not learned from all the horrific mistakes they have made in recent years.

So, what do we do? My experience suggests we are more likely to need protection from cops, instead of protection by cops. Experience also teaches that cops are likely to lie about and cover up their misdeeds -- and judges are likely to favor cops over citizens who have been abused, even on camera.

The Indiana law does not allow citizens to just start firing away at cops. It says a citizen must "(a) reasonably believe the public servant is attempting to enter their home illegally; and (b) use no more force than is reasonably necessary to dispel the threat to their lives or property." Given that cops tend to be heavily armed, it seems reasonable force against them would almost always include use of a firearm.

A number of downsides to the Indiana law quickly come to mind:

* No matter how much weaponry a private citizen owns, a cop will usually be more heavily armed. The citizen is at a disadvantage;

* No matter how well trained a citizen is in the use of weaponry, a cop almost always will be better trained. The citizen is at a disadvantage;

* An untrained citizen with a firearm can be a dangerous thing. An individual, intending to shoot a rogue cop, might be more likely to shoot himself, a family member, a pet, or a neighbor. Flying bullets don't always go where they are supposed to go.

What about possible upsides? I can think of a couple:

* In a nation that is dysfunctional enough to "elect" Donald Trump, and watch him anoint Jeff Sessions as attorney general, maybe we all should be prepared to protect ourselves. Our justice system has been decaying for years -- heck, that's the whole reason this blog exists -- but it's painful to imagine how badly our constitutional rights could be trampled under Trump. Maybe we need to adopt a "Wild West" ethos and say, "Screw the justice system. It's not going to protect you, so you had better be prepared to protect yourself -- even against cops."

* Consider this question: Would the cops who abused Carol and me in the three violent instances described above have given it a second thought if they had known we might fight back, lawfully, with deadly force? Would they have been less likely to enter our property, our homes, and try to enter our vehicle, if they knew they might pay with their lives?

I suspect the answer to both questions is yes. I've learned that a lot of cops are stupid, but I don't think they are so stupid that they can't grasp the concept of self-preservation. A lot of police misconduct probably is driven by arrogance -- the knowledge that the firepower, and the courts, are on their side, even when they are acting contrary to law.

Would some of that arrogance drain away if more states adopted laws like the one in Indiana? It probably would. And that's why, while I'm not wild about the Indiana law, I'm not ready to write it off, either.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe Indiana passed this law.

legalschnauzer said...

I can't either, @9:03. In fact, I didn't hear about it until recently, and that's part of the reason I wrote the post. Not sure why Indiana became the testing ground for this.

Anonymous said...

I assume this grew out of the "Castle Doctrine" movement?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, @9:07, that's what I understand. I read the "Castle Doctrine" law here in Missouri, and it comes close to what Indiana has. The language doesn't seem to be quite as specific as Indiana's re: deadly force against public servants. But it's pretty close, as I understand it.

Anonymous said...

You and your wife have been pummeled by cops three times? Jeepers, didn't realize it had been that bad.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, one tried to drag me out of our car, one walked in our garage and beat me up, and a horde of them in Missouri busted through our apartment doors and pointed assault weapons and pistols at us. And that doesn't count the dozen or more who made multiple trips onto our real property, apparently to conduct service in a lawsuit, but with no legit groundds to be there due to lack of summons being issues.

This is for a couple that, between us, does not even have a parking ticket, as far as I can remember. I think I did get cited for rolling through a stop sign in Birmingham one time, but that is pretty much the extent of our "criminal career."

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle Mary Mac and Eliza were enjoying some of Dr Foreman's famous wine when Mary asked Eliza how this war began. Eliza replied. In June 2007 The Land Thieves of Auburn began the theft of a victims property. In August 2007 the Victim discovers on the computer in the Tax Collectors personal office that Auburn had secretly de-annexed property on June 18 2007. In Sept. 2007 the Victim discovers that the Lee County records dept. was fraudulently recording property deeds. In Oct. 2007 the FBI wire taps a phone in Valley Al and records a call of the wife of a former employee of the land theft Victim in Auburn,asking the Victim to bring her money because her husband was not with her and that the Victim was the only person she could turn to for help in feeding her children. She began a tangent conversation about bringing money to enable her to begin her new job. The land theft Victim knew her husband was in jail on drug charges and suspected she was helping the FBI entrap the Victim with a altered wire tap.
The pissed off Victim would bide his time and contacts the Justice Dept. in Washington DC in Nov. 2009 and informs them of the fraudulent de-annexations and the corrupt public officials. In Dec. 2009 The Justice Dept. in Washington contacts Auburn. In Jan 2010 Campus Crest becomes entangled with the Land Thieves of Auburn. In Feb. 2010 the investigation of McGregor begins and McGregor is arrested on Oct 4 2010.
In mid Oct 2010 the Land Theft Victim goes to Mcgregors lawyer's office and informs them about the Justice Dept visit to Auburn in Dec. 2009 and about some of the fraudulent land deeds.
On Nov. 4 2010 a Alabama deputy Attorney General kills himself because the FBI agents investigating McGregor harass the agent because he was helping McGregor. Shuler had a post on this agent.
2011 pre Bingo Trial- Shuler writes in a 2015 post that unsealed Bingo Trial transcripts reveal that the FBI's back-up computers in Virginia were hacked, and the phone and computer records of the FBI that investigated McGregor had been erased. This hacker does not leave any electronic finger prints.
In 2013 A Special Grand Jury is impaneled in Lee County to force every witness in Mcgregors civil suit to keep their mouth shut. The Special Grand Jury is still impaneled 4 years later.
Mary mac replied" WOW! When will the war end." Eliza replied "Soon if the US Congress determines the person who hacked the FBI Back-up computers also hacked the Democrats computers."

Anonymous said...

Your headline is not really going to help you convince anyone you have not made threats to shoot anyone coming to evict you.

You earlier reported statements by officers that dispatch informed them a caller had threatened to use force to resist any trespassing person (presumably those coming to evict you) or some similar threat that raised the threat level for law enforcement.

I've seen you intemperately post this way before (speaking about attacks on people) and giving vent to your feelings in this way in public is not likely to do you any good.

Anonymous said...

And who are you fooling but yourself? You and your wife were actively avoiding service.
You knew about the lawsuit, and you were very foolish not to simply take the papers and go to court with proof of your allegations or the reasonableness of your allegations.

Trying to hide from that service just resulted in bad things for you, such as being found in contempt, and having people write you off as crazy, and even more importantly as a maker of wild claims which have no foundation that you are willing to explain or demonstrate in public.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are working up to a defense of the call law enforcemnt said was made prior to your eviction.

Robby Scott Hill said...

As Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Attorney, Colonel John Eidsmoe, J.D., United
Public servants can be subject to fits of rage & temporary mental illness just like any other human. Remember that judge who got caught masturbating underneath his desk with a penis pump in the courtroom? States Air Force, once said, "Where the law is not consistent with the Constitution, we will follow the Constitution!" I know of no passage in the Constitution of 1787 or the Bill of Rights granting special authority to any police officer. In fact, it has lots of restrictions on what they can do & if they don't observe those restrictions, then you've got the 2nd Amendment & my cousin Thomas Jefferson's clause in the Declaration that gives us the right to "alter or abolish." I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six & no dead man can testify against you in court. When not acting under "color of law," the police have no more authority than anyone else. When they stop me when I've been speeding or doing something wrong, I accept their authority (but don't always admit guilt) I cooperate with the citation or the arrest & show up in court. But dammit, I'm not going to let them frame me up or violate my rights. That's going to warrant some push back.

legalschnauzer said...


Thanks for an insightful comment. I love the line, "I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six." Do you think this Indiana law will expand to other states? Do you think it should?

legalschnauzer said...

@9:39 --

Why would I need to work up to a defense of a phone call I didn't make? My understanding is that 911 calls are taped, so it can be easily established I didn't make the call. The claim was that the call came from our phone, and that's not possible. Again, technology should easily show cops are lying.

If someone else made a fake call, falsely using my name, I believe such abuse of the 911 system is a crime, so will be interesting to see if someone winds up doing time over this.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:39 --

Sorry to bring reality to your fantasy world, but a lawyer who reviewed the file while I was in jail, said no summonses had been issued. That means the officers could not have been attempting service. You can't conduct service without a summons. The officers were trying to pull exactly what it looked like, a con game.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:31 --

It's a matter of fact I made no such threatening phone call, and technology will prove that.

Are you calling the people of Indiana "intemperate"? They passed the law, not me. In fact, I say, if you actually read the post, that I'm not sure I agree with the law -- even though I've been physically abused by cops three times.

You comment doesn't make a lick of sense.

legalschnauzer said...

My comment at 11:28 should be addressed to 9:36.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the people who think you are obligated to answer when someone (cop or not) knocks on your door. 9:36 is a dolt. If you see cops are knocking on your door, and you think they are up to no good -- and given your experience with Shelby County cops, you had every reason to believe that -- you are 100 percent within your rights to ignore them.

If they are trying serve you, and they clearly were not in this case, the burden is on them to get it done. It's not your burden to help them.

legalschnauzer said...

Good points, @11:47. I should point out that I had been served with civil court papers before, in the case where the criminal neighbor sued me. I know what that process looks like -- and this wasn't it. I knew they were up to something underhanded, and the lawyer's case review showed I was correct.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's to be expected that a few dunder-heads would equate the phantom 911 call in Missouri with a law that was passed in Indiana. There is no correlation. No. 1, I believe it will be proven you made no such call in Missouri. I'm pretty sure you are smart enough not to do such a dumb thing. No. 2, the Indiana law is not about threatening "public servants." It's about your right to lawfully use deadly force if you believe they are unlawfully entering your private space.

Anonymous said...

I would feel better about the Indiana law if the NRA were not involved.

Anonymous said...

I hope people will take to heart the warnings you note about the possible downsides of this. Next time you see a cop, take a look at all the weaponry on his belt. Even the strongest 2nd Amendment advocates aren't likely to have that firepower. Plus, the cops are trained. They might not be very smart in general, but I feel certain most of them know how to use guns and pepper spray and billy clubs, etc. A lot of them probably became cops because they would be trained in using weapons, with permission to use them on pretty much anyone. Folks in Indiana might have this law, but in most citizen v. cop confrontations, the citizen is going to lose.

Anonymous said...

I see upsides and downsides, but I don't think there is any question cops would think twice, under this law, before pulling the stunts they've pulled on you and your wife and many others.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy some of your articles. Mostly the Ashley Madison episodes, but you are a bit too liberal for me, but that's what makes life interesting. I would "offer" a little advice about shooting someone. ( from experience ) You have the right to shoot someone if you feel that your life ( or one that you protect ) is in jeopardy . You will go before a Grand Jury if you shoot someone. Given what I've read about you and your wife and law enforcement, I think you would be much wiser to invest in some good cameras, talk to the cops in a sane manner when confronted and get some legal help. Otherwise, I think you both may be headed to the "happy hunting ground." By the way, now that you have exposed a lawyer in Montgomery, Alabama as being a part of the Ashley Madison site, you might check the list, there is also a preacher on the Montgomery County list.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:27 --

Thanks for a thoughtful comment. I should point out that I've never shot anyone and never even owned a gun. I'm not advocating shooting cops or anyone else, but I am noting this Indiana law, which I find pretty darned interesting. I agree with your statement re: a good camera, etc.

If you feel comfortable doing so, feel free to share the name of Montgomery area preacher on AM. The list is long, and I don't think I'd have any way of recognizing a preacher. Will keep your ID out of any story if you send via email, and you are welcome to send name via anonymous comment, which I will delete until I've had a chance to research subject.

legalschnauzer said...

I initially rejected the following comment because it's mostly nonsense. But I decided it offers some opportunities to educate the public. I can't publish in its original form once I've rejected, so I'm including it here, in a comment from me:

Of course they were trying to serve him. He was being evasive which accounts for the repeat visits.

There wasn't any reason not to take the papers, there was no advantage in hiding, or in pretending a pretextual stop (if the cop saw you roll a stop sign, the law is well settled that he can stop you, even if he has another purpose) isn't an acceptable way to serve papers (it is.)

All he did was create more trouble for himself and Carol than was necessary, which has led to a cascade of disasters. It also had the downside of making him look crazy, casting doubt on his willingness or ability to support the allegations and accusations he makes in his writing, not the least because he won't defend the things he writes in a substantive way when the people he accuses say he's defaming them and sue him.

So he loses credibility about anything he has said, and looks like a hypocrite of the worst kind when he thinks courts he thumbs his nose at should be at his service when he wants to force action.

The far WISER course is to take the papers without games or evasion, and defend himself properly with evidence of the truth or reasonableness of his reports. It may be, and what his evasions suggest, is that he could not do so. Why else would he refuse?

Roger Shuler has some very peculiar notions of how to protect his rights, and his actions have set him at a disadvantage at every turn, not to mention the few people who have any real connection to him, like his wife and his mother.

Roger Shuler is dumb enough to make a call or calls saying he'd be in his rights to shoot anyone trying to "unlawfully" evict him or something similar. He has a bad habit of maximizing trouble for himself.

legalschnauzer said...

A few responses:

(1) "Of course they were trying to serve him. He was being evasive which accounts for the repeat visits."

LS: They did not have a summons, so they could not have been serving us. That's a fact. Sorry it interferes with your dream world.

(2) "or in pretending a pretextual stop (if the cop saw you roll a stop sign, the law is well settled that he can stop you, even if he has another purpose) isn't an acceptable way to serve papers (it is.)"

LS: You don't know the law. Once the purpose of the traffic stop is completed, it cannot be extended without probable cause to believe a crime is associated with the vehicle. The cop unlawfully extended the stop once he returned my license etc. That violates the Fourth Amendment, as it would in any case where traffic stop is used to serve court papers. That's why it is not acceptable and not lawful to stop a vehicle to serve court papers.

(3) not the least because he won't defend the things he writes in a substantive way when the people he accuses say he's defaming them and sue him.

LS: Again, you don't know the simplest law. I don't have to defend against civil charges. I certainly don't have to defend when I have not been summoned to court. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, to prove the articles are false and defamatory, and they've never come close to doing that. Why? Because my reporting is true.

(4) Why else would he refuse?

LS: I expect cops and courts to follow the law. If I'm expected to follow the law, and I am, they should have the same expectation. Without proper service, a court has no jurisdiction over a party. These things matter, and you must raise them at appropriate time, whether you like it or not.

(5) Roger Shuler is dumb enough to make a call or calls saying he'd be in his rights to shoot anyone trying to "unlawfully" evict him or something similar.

LS: Roger Shuler made no such call, and evidence will prove that. What makes you think I made such a call, which you admit it would be dumb?

Anonymous said...

--Mary mac replied" WOW! When will the war end." Eliza replied "Soon if the US Congress determines the person who hacked the FBI Back-up computers also hacked the Democrats computers."--

First, as someone posted on here long ago, it's total BS that the FBI back-ups were hacked and the info wiped clean. Second, it sounds much more plausible that the DNC wasn't hacked and the info was leaked.

Anonymous said...

To @;10;31
"The hacker does not leave any electronic fingerprints." Some one inside the FBI is involved in both hacks/ leaks.

e.a.f. said...

being an average Canadian, I'm not in favour of people walking around with guns. However, after I heard on the news the suggestion from Indiana I couldn't stop laughing. Now wouldn't that be fun. Some American states have the stand your ground laws, which seem to be for the benefit of white people. people of colour don't try to stand your ground, even if the person has abused you. You could wind up in jail like the Mom in florida, so a sort of stand your ground law when it comes to out of line police officers, this could be a whole new t.v. show.

It is very disconcerting that a country which is supposed to be a democracy has police who are so out of control, this suggestion is actually being made.

The war started in my opinion at the Kent state killings. this is just another ratcheting up of the whole thing. It makes sense though. It protects people from very strange people, wonder if it applies to people who are having difficulty with ICE? or does it just apply to police within the state?