Shooting Fleeing Felon

Discussion in 'Citizens Encounters' started by Nemo, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Nemo

    Nemo Man of Myth and Legend

    Read and Discuss. For the fun part read some of the comments following the article at link cited too.


  2. GoDores

    GoDores Like a Boss

    The laws in Georgia covering legal use of force are in OCGA 16-3-21 through -24, and no provision is made for using force (including lethal force) against a fleeing felon, unless you reasonably believe he intends to imminently commit another forcible felony (say, armed and running from you but towards another potential victim).

    But there are a few other code sections that I think might also be relevant here.

    I'd summarize the relevant parts of these code sections as follows:
    1. A police officer can use deadly force to arrest a suspect who is armed with a deadly weapon or who has seriously harmed or threatened to seriously harm someone.
    2. A private person can arrest someone who he knows has committed a felony and is escaping or attempting to escape.
    3. Justification is a defense to prosecution, and it is a justification that a person was acting in his duties as a government officer, or if the defense stands "upon the same footing of reason and justice" as someone in that category.

    So I would argue that if a police officer's use of deadly force were legal in order to stop or arrest a fleeing felon, a private citizen in the same situation using the same deadly force and for the same reason would be considered "justified" in that they were acting on "the same footing of reason and justice" as they would have been if they were employed by a police agency.

    Note that I'm not a cop, lawyer, or judge, and if you were in this situation and the cops didn't agree with my analysis, you'd have to pay a lot of money to a good lawyer and hope they could get the judge to agree with me.
    gunsmoker likes this.

  3. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    The author, David Kenik, is from Rhode Island.

    A liberal state with a totally different legal system and community values from the deep South.

    Kenik says categorically that citizens can't chase violent felons, but here in Georgia you certainly CAN as part of a citizen's arrest, and you can use a reasonable and necessary amount to force in doing so.

    HOWEVER, O.C.G.A. 17-4-20 is too broad and cannot be used alone to justify using deadly force. For example, it lets you shoot any armed suspect, even one with a holstered pistol who is not resisting. It lets you shoot a suspect who tries to bare-fisted punch the cop who tries to handcuff him. Tenn. v. Garner won't allow for that!

    The other OCGA laws on deadly force must be obeyed along with the laws on arrests, both. So see Title 16, Chapter 3 also.