A Missouri law that justifies the use of deadly force in the line of duty protected two cops 14 years ago when they killed two unarmed suspects during a drug bust.
That law is almost certain to come into play in the case of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, who shot an unarmed black 18-year-old named Michael Brown, the Daily Beast recently noted. Even though it’s been 14 years, some of the major players in the Brown shooting were also involved in the 2005 drug bust.
The lead prosecutor investigating the shooting in 2005 declined to charge the cops who killed the suspects. The cops were working under current Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
Jackson argued that the officers were justified in killing the suspects — who were reportedly driving a vehicle moving toward of the officers — because they feared for their lives, according to The Daily Beast.
The law that protected those officers in 2005 says in Missouri, police officers are justified in using deadly force while making an arrest or preventing an escape from custody if he or she “reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest” and “may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”
If Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is charged in Brown’s death, attorneys could invoke this law to argue that he justifiably believed Brown could have endangered his life.
That same law was also used in a 2005 case in which a Missouri police officer shot and killed an unarmed man, coincidentally also named Michael Brown, according to The Daily Beast. Brown was riding in a pickup truck with his friends when the driver was pulled over for speeding. The cop shot at the vehicle when it pulled into a driveway and started rolling toward him in neutral.
In the most recent Michael Brown case, police say Brown lunged for Wilson’s gun during a struggle after Wilson stopped him and a friend for walking in the middle of the street.
There’s another potential issue in the most recent Michael Brown case that NBC News pointed out. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch lost his father at age 12 when he was killed in the line of duty as a police officer, which some say could affect his objectivity in the Brown case.
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