Innocent until proven guilty. You take your victims as you find them. Both common cliches used to amplify or deflate legal jeaprody.
In the state of California, I am not allowed to use deadly force against a burgler, outside of my home unless he turns violent. If I were to advance the “Oops, I thought he was in my apartment” defense around here, the DA would be within he rights to charge me with some level of murder because I have to take my victims as I find them.
But in a less advanced society like Texas, Ms. Guyger can argue that she had a right to defend her property – even if she chose the wrong apartment and therefore the wrong victim. She can further argue that she had a right to use deadly force immediately because she was an off duty sworn officer.
Since I have not heard that she identified herself as police when she walked into this man’s darkend door, shouting commands and simultaneously using deadly force, I am not sure that she can hide behind the cover of authority.
Suppose Mr. Jean had decided that Ms. Guyger was threatening his life and left her laying for dead in his doorway. I find it hard to believe that his story would even be considered.
At best I am prepared to charge the police department for poor training. If she is to be considered off duty, for her own safety, she shouldn’t be allowed to walk around in full uniform, slinging a gun. Proper training should have taught her that when approaching a potential crime scene, while off duty and without backup, she should call her department dispatcher with her badge number and have on-duty officers directed to the scene. With proper training and a mindset to save and protect lives, since she had time to take cover, she could have taken advantage of the opportunity to move away from the scene and place her self out of harms way. The need to stand her ground would have been temporarily eliminated. The department may also be complicit as having coached her as to how to describe and file a self serving police report, designed to absolve an officer of guilt by misdirecting the facts.
We have to do better, and we should start now.
Click the link and take a look at the Stand Your Ground legalese down below.