Do you know your rights after an officer involved shooting?
Have you been involved in an Officer Involved Shooting? Do you know your rights? Officer Involved Shootings likely represents the most stressful situation a peace officer will experience in his/her career. If you are involved in an Officer Involved Shooting, you should immediately consult an experienced law enforcement attorney.
Immediately following an Officer Involved Shooting, your Department should assign you a buddy officer. You should not speak to your buddy officer about the incident. You/your buddy officer should immediately contact your attorney. While on scene, you should expect a supervisor to obtain a public safety statement from you. The public safety statement should be limited to:
-Identify crime scene – weapons and evidence
-Identify anyone injured and their location
-number of rounds fired and direction
-Identify outstanding suspects/vehicles, direction of travel, weapons
At the Department
You will be driven to your Department where you will consult with your attorney. You can expect your Department to secure your firearm, and verify/count the remaining rounds in your firearm. Your Department will take photographs of you. You should not discuss the Officer Involved Shooting during this process.
During this time you will confer with your attorney. It is important that you provide your attorney with all the details of the incident. Your discussion should breakdown the incident into three distinct narratives: 1) what occurred prior to the Officer Involved Shooting (type of call for service i.e. Domestic Violence with weapons involved), 2) what occurred during the incident (suspect’s actions causing you to fear for your life or great bodily injury), and 3) what occurred immediately following the incident. By doing so, you will be able to develop all the facts that support and justify the use of deadly force during the Officer Involved Shooting.
Statement to Investigators
Eventually, you will provide a statement to Department and/or criminal investigators. You must make several critical decisions prior to providing a statement which include: providing a voluntary statement or invoking your constitutional rights and only providing a compelled statement, providing a blood sample, performing a “walk through” of the scene, and reviewing your video of the Officer Involved Shooting. These decisions will ultimately affect the outcome of the investigation of the Officer Involved Shooting, and must be given due regard.
You should be prepared to use all facts to develop and support your mindset that justified the use of deadly force. An experienced law enforcement attorney will work with you to develop all facts that you may be overlooking due to the stress of the event, onset of tunnel vision, or effect of officer fatigue following a struggle but prior to the discharge of your firearm. The current state of the media and the changing public sentiments towards peace officers require more than ever that you give a clear and concise statement to investigators following an Officer Involved Shooting. Leave nothing to chance, and contact an experienced law enforcement attorney at Goyette & Associates.