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7th Circuit: Gunman’s reach for weapon nullifies excessive force claim

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A federal court in South Bend rightfully rejected a civil rights claim brought by a man shot by state troopers trying to serve a warrant who found themselves in a six-hour armed standoff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Gary W. Helman filed a federal suit claiming his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated and that Indiana State Police used excessive force when they shot him multiple times at his home in Cromwell. Helman displayed a weapon after authorities arrived, and the standoff ensued.

Helman ventured outside his house after a few hours, and police deployed a flash bang device. According to the District Court opinion, at that point Helman pulled his gun and police responded by shooting him. Helman later pleaded guilty to a Class D felony charge of resisting law enforcement.

In Gary W. Helman v. Bruce Duhaime, 12-3428, Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner wrote that District Judge William C. Lee properly granted summary judgment in favor of the law-enforcement defendants on the basis that Helman’s guilty plea to the resisting charge constituted admission that he reached for his weapon before police fired.

“Helman is left, then, with an argument under § 1983 that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights in shooting him when he was reaching for his firearm,” Rovner wrote. “That claim, however, cannot survive summary judgment because such a response is objectively reasonable.”
 

 

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  1. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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