While police can use some level of force or violence to prevent further injuries and stop violent crimes, there are a number of situations that show problems in this doctrine.
Police opened fire and killed one suspect involved in a burglary in Rockville Maryland.
Suspect killed during robbery in progress
The incident began when the suspects drove their car into the window of a gun store near the intersection of Randolph Road and Parklawn Drive in Rockville. They apparently used to impact of the collision to shatter the front window of the store. After they gained entry, they stole firearms and other items inside. Police received a 911 call at about 2:30am and arrived on the scene as the suspects were beginning to leave.
As one of the officers parked his vehicle and approached the store, an SUV in the lot accelerated and hit the parked police cruiser before taking off. The officer opened fire on the SUV, but it continued drive away down Randolph Road. The suspect’s vehicle broke down after a short while and four of suspects left the area on foot. Three young men between ages 15 and 21 were eventually captured and arrested. Another one of the suspects was found in the SUV with a gunshot wound that proved to be fatal. One of the men who fled on foot was not found and may still be at large in the general area.
The officer who fired the fatal shots was placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.
Use of force in Maryland
The use of deadly force to prevent or stop crimes in progress can be a complicated issue based on state laws and the facts of each individual situation. For non-violent crimes and misdemeanors, it is never acceptable to use deadly force. However, certain states do have laws on the books that allow either police or ordinary citizens to use deadly force to prevent certain violent crimes and felonies.
Under Maryland law, people are generally allowed to use deadly force in their homes to prevent death or physical harm. Outside of the home, there is a duty to retreat to avoid an aggressor before deadly force is permitted, and there must be a reasonable apprehension of immediate and serious harm from the perpetrator. In other words, these laws are not entirely clear and it helps to have a police brutality attorney argue that use of force by law enforcement was not justified given the circumstances.
The suspects in this situation were clearly engaged in committing burglary and fleeing the crime scene. However, it is uncertain whether they posed any immediate danger to people in the area aside from the fact that they were armed. It seems that the shooting was prompted by a collision with a parked police car rather than any genuine danger to the officers or others in the area.
Talk to a local lawyer today
Attorneys are available to help after a police shooting or any other act of violence. Rowe, Weinstein, and Sohn provide expert help to clients in Rockville and the Washington D.C. metro area.