The Police Have No Duty To Protect

By Jason Solley,

Words in blue from Wikipedia
There is a little known law that the public should be very shocked to know exists. It is the Public Duty Doctrine. It is a U.S. common law that states, there is no general duty to come to the rescue of another. Generally, a person cannot be held liable for doing nothing while another person is in peril.

However, such a duty may arise in two situations:
A duty to rescue arises where a person creates a hazardous situation. If another person then falls into peril because of this hazardous situation, the creator of the hazard — who may not necessarily have been a negligent tortfeasor — has a duty to rescue the individual in peril.[4]
Such a duty also arises where a “special relationship” exists. For example:
Emergency workers (police, firefighters, EMTs, etc.) have a general duty to rescue the public within the scope of their employment, but not a duty to specific individuals.[5]
Parents have a duty to rescue their minor children. This duty also applies to those acting
in loco parentis, such as schools or babysitters.[6]
Common carriers have a duty to rescue their patrons.[7]
Employers have an obligation to rescue employees, under an implied contract theory.
[8][unreliable source?]
Property owners have a duty to rescue
invitees from all dangers on the property.
Spouses have a duty to rescue each other in all U.S. jurisdictions.
Contrary to common law, eight states have laws requiring people to help strangers in peril:
Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.[statute verification needed] These laws are also referred to as Good Samaritan laws, despite their difference from laws of the same name that protect individuals that try to help another person.[1] These laws are rarely applied, and are generally ignored by citizens and lawmakers.[1]

You will notice, if you look closely, that emergency workers are only required to have a general duty to rescue the public within the scope of their employment, but not a duty to specific individuals. Yet if a police officer requests your help you are required by law to help them.

In 1855 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no right to police protection and no right to sue over its lack there of. South v Maryland, 59 U.S. (How) 396; 15 L. Ed. 433 (1855)
Another example of this is in McCloskey v Mueller III. On July 23, 2001, Gary Lee Sampson telephoned the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and spoke with an FBI employee, William H. Anderson. Sampson explained to Anderson that he was in Abington, Massachusetts; that he was wanted for armed robbery; and that he wished to surrender to the authorities. Anderson disconnected the call either accidentally or purposely — the amended complaint contemplates both possibilities — and made no attempt to reconnect it, investigate it, or report it to any other law enforcement officer.
Sampson never called back; instead, after spending several hours fruitlessly awaiting the FBI’s arrival in Abington, he embarked upon a “killing spree.” The spree began the next day when Sampson abducted and murdered a complete stranger, Philip McCloskey. Before local authorities finally apprehended him on July 31, Sampson had killed two other men as well. The three peoples estates sued but the court ruled that the FBI had no duty to the victims.

So if the police have no duty to protect you, who are you to rely on? The answer is simple. It is yourself. The next time someone thinks its a good idea to outlaw all guns, let them know about the Public Duty Doctrine. The police have no duty to help and the courts will be on their side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.