Attention Good Samaritans: Be Careful Who You Save | Colorado

The following is a video transcript.

I want to speak today about common pitfalls that my clients and members often fall into when they are trying to use deadly force (or even just force) to protect a third party.

Let’s talk about the common pitfalls. You do not always know what you’re getting into, and if you are going to jump into a situation without all of the facts you need to be prepared for some adverse effects or consequences. Let’s put that into motion.

You Don’t Know Always What You’re Getting Into…

Let’s say that you see some sort of incident. You walk up and you decide that “Person A” is the bandit and “Person B” is the victim. You jump in and you either use force—in terms of your fists—or you use deadly force—either with a bat, a knife, or a firearm—in trying to defend the person you believe is the victim.

If you do not have all of the facts straight, you could quickly be charged with assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, or even murder, depending on the amount of force you use against the bandit.

Now, what happens if, before you showed up, the person you thought was the victim was actually robbing the person you thought was the bandit? And what if, by the time you got there, the bandit had things under control and was waiting for police officers to come and make the arrest?

You come along, the would-be Good Samaritan, and you jump on this would-be bandit, you use your firearm to point at them or, God forbid, you shoot the person and you are wrong. You could be charged with any number of crimes.

You really need to be very careful when you are jumping into that situation.

Another scenario could be that you walk up, and you wrongfully assume the aggressor is a bandit, but the bandit is actually a police officer who is in plain clothes and making an arrest.

Make Sure You Knows the Facts Before You Act…

All of this underscores the importance of making sure you understand the situation that you are walking into because when you are trying to use force to protect a third party, really what the law is saying is, “If you were that third party, could you have used force or deadly force to protect yourself?”

If the answer is “Yes” then you, as the Good Samaritan, could come in and protect that third party. But if the answer would be “No” (and that is knowing all of the circumstances, not just the circumstances that were available to you at that moment) then you could not do it.

If you have any questions about this, give me a call. Talk about it with your Independent Program Attorney because the last thing I want to have is a situation where you have made the wrong decision and find yourself in hot water.

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