The Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday that a man who threatened to shoot officers dispatched to his home did not commit intimidation as defined by the statute.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officers Juanita Wilkins and Michael Faulk responded to a call regarding a disturbance at Tyrone Causey’s home. When they arrived, they saw the glass on the outer storm door was broken, but did not hear anything. Causey told officers everything was fine, he refused to step out of his home or let them in, and said he was alone in the home. While the officers waited for backup to arrive, Causey opened the door and yelled for them to get off his property and “If you come any closer I’ll shoot.” He continued to yell in an unintelligible manner at the officers and was later arrested for Class D felony intimidation and convicted by a jury.
In Tyrone Causey v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1503-CR-185, Causey maintained the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, citing I.C. 35-45-2-1. The statute finds one commits intimidation if the threat has the intent to place the other person in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act.
Causey claimed he was attempting to prevent the officers from taking future action when he threatened them, not that he was trying to place them in fear of retaliation for having responded to a disturbance. The appellate judges agreed, finding Causey’s “If you come any closer I’ll shoot” statement to be conditional.
They also held Causey’s unintelligible rant could not support the conviction.
“As a general matter, we agree that one should not threaten a police officer. However, such behavior, in and of itself, does not constitute intimidation as defined by the statute. Here, the State has not clearly identified what it believes Causey’s threat to be, nor has it pointed to evidence indicating that this threat was made with the required intent,” Judge John Baker wrote.