1. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    Police pursuit accident question

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Malisky, May 27, 2016.

    Let's say that somebody committed a small offense, like stealing a wallet without violence (light-handed thief) and then he was immediately pursued by the police. In order to avoid getting caught, the thief runs into an abandoned building which is on the verge of crumbling down and runs up a staircase. The police officer follows him but he is heavier than the thief and while he is running up the stairs, the staircase collapses and he falls to his death. If the thief gets caught in the end, will he also be charged for the death of the police officer?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Could be a felony, in which case he could be charged under the felony murder rule. I think robbing someone is considered inherently dangerous.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    Felony-Murder Rule
     
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  4. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    So, taking what you posted into account means that the thief would probably not be charged with murder of any degree. Right?
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    Probably not but there are many variables. Unfortunately there is a lot of bias in the police and prosecutor departments that could go either way. If the suspect was black (sorry folks the data backs this up), it's more likely. If he was a teen with a clean record, it's unlikely. If he had a record of thuggery, more likely and so on.

    Doesn't mean he'd be convicted. That's a whole other side to the equation.
     
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  6. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    It would be very easy for them to slap the murder charge on the thief as well. Whether he would be convicted or not, well, that depends on a plethora of character possibilities. The defense, the lawyers, the jury, the evidence (or possibly, lack of), and testimony.

    Exactly this. The context and appearance of your thief will play a major role. If he's "thuggish", tattooed, and has more black marks on his record than a zebra has stripes, then he's screwed. However, if he's an innocent-looking young man, who puts on a scared act in the trial, then he could stand a chance.

    Where could I find this data you speak of? I'm curious.
     
  7. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Usually police officers are expected to know when a situation is too dangerous and when it isn't. I'm failing to understand why, if the original offense was so minor, did the officer not simply give up the chase?

    If the criminal was poor and/or not white, the police might try to pin the death on the criminal, but actually getting a conviction would require an openly racist judge. Any conviction would immediately get bounced up to a higher court and overturned.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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  8. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    From where I come from pick-pocketing is very common as is the pursuit that follows whenever the picker gets caught red handed. Not only the police officer, but anybody who might be near would probably butt in to help the victim. Police officers that are usually placed in such responsibilities are the younger ones. More cocky and eager to make a bust. For them, it's a dream come true making such a bust and get the immediate savior attention from their surroundings. It's one of the rare occasions where they are perceived as cool and useful. They wouldn't miss that chance.

    Thanks for your time and knowledge. It's been very helpful. I got what I wanted. :)
     

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