Did you know that you have the right to defend yourself against a police officer who is using excessive force?
A court in New Jersey recently referenced a State Supreme Court case from 1970, which stated that if an officer “employs excessive and unnecessary force, the citizen may respond or counter with the use of reasonable force to protect himself, and if in doing so the officer is injured no criminal offense has been committed.”
This decision applied in the case of Darnell Reed, a 33-year-old man from New Jersey who was charged with resisting arrest following an encounter with police in 2013.
Get this, Darnell was approached by two officers in plain clothes, driving an unmarked car. Their version of the story was that Darnell was holding a brick of heroin, and when he was approached by the officers, he ran away from them—which of course completely justified the officers beating him until he was a bloody mess, in desperate need of medical attention.
Now, Darnell Reed was facing eight charges, but the only charge the jury convicted him of was “resisting arrest.”
However, when those charges were presented before an appellate court last week, the court ruled that Darnell was not given a fair trial, because the jury was not instructed to consider whether he had the right to defend himself against the excessive forces used by the officers.
The court also ruled that given the situation Darnell was in, he would have been justified in defending himself against the abuse.
The thing is, you should be allowed to defend yourself against anyone who uses excessive force on you. We seem to live in a society today where when you give a man a badge and a gun, he is transformed into this magical unicorn who is above the law, and is 100 percent right all of the time. That’s just not true.
The charge of “resisting arrest” is used and abused by cops on a regular basis, but it’s important to remember that the minute you give up your right to self defense, you’re putting your trust a corrupt system does not have your best interest in mind.