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Police Respond To Wrong House


Clyde
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Why was the door unlocked?

 

Because this is America?

 

This situation is really tough for me. Even when one says they want to hold off judging until more information comes to light, it is really hard to withhold forming an opinion at least internally or subconsciously. At least with this situation there are multiple cops, and the homeowner has his wits so can provide his side of the story as well.

 

From the information we have, I'm not sure what subjective details led to the police deciding to enter the home, but it was ultimately the wrong decision. Regardless of their probable mistake, this is just one of many decisions the vast majority of us never have to make.

 

Here are a few possibilities (that didn't happen here) that highlight my difficulty with this situation:

 

1) The description of the suspicious person in the call may have matched one of someone who has burglarized other houses in the community and the police saw the homeowner through the window who might have matched the description.

2) The cops could have actually come upon an active robbery and apprehended the subject.

3) An actual robber could have entered the house and seeing someone was home yelled that he was the police.

4) One of the cops could have fired as soon as they saw the homeowner

5) The homeowner could have shot at the cops even though he saw they were actual law enforcement.

 

Basically, the homeowner wasn't out of bounds in expecting no one to enter his house at night and entering the situation armed. At the same time, while the police seemingly made a mistake entering the house in the first place, they very well could have had the right to do so if there was a reasonable suspicion that they were preventing the commission of a crime.

 

At the very least, thankfully no one was killed.

 

From the information we have, I assume the homeowner will have his bills paid and might get some sort of settlement, but I have a hard time seeing charges for the cops. After an investigation, some internal discipline may be in order, but this seems to be an instance of a wrong decision leading to a shootout where once in the heat of the moment both parties were in line in using their guns in defense. If that's the case it is a far cry from a situation like Ray Tensing where pulling and using the gun was the mistake vs. just putting yourself in an environment where guns are eventually needed.

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At the same time, while the police seemingly made a mistake entering the house in the first place, they very well could have had the right to do so if there was a reasonable suspicion that they were preventing the commission of a crime.

 

I'm not so sure about this...I don't know that reasonable suspicion allows for entrance without a warrant or a confirmed threat to life... anyone ?

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