Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Duty to Protect

My comments follow this story from Fairfax County, Virginia..

Shooting Victim Sues Police, Claims Brush-Off
The Fairfax County Police Department is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for an employee's alleged refusal to protect and serve.

"You can see how the bullet got stopped by the cross," said shooting victim Najib Gerdak.

It was a necklace that saved the life of the 28-year-old. While he's thankful to be alive, Gerdak said he still lives with the pain and visible wounds from being shot five times.

"As soon as I open my eyes I feel the pain," Gerdak said. "You know, you get ready to go to work, you look at your body in the mirror, sliced from here to here. I have holes everywhere."

The painful injuries could have been prevented if Fairfax County police responded to his cries for help, he says. On Feb. 2, 2008, Gerdak ran into the Franconia police sub-station at about 3 a.m. after witnessing a road rage incident.

But when he got inside, Gerdak says, he found an employee asleep behind the glass.

"I had to knock twice because I didn’t catch her attention because she was asleep," Gerdak said. "I said, 'There’s two crazy people outside. Some guy is chasing a taxi driver,' and she said the cab driver needs to call his own dispatch."

Gerdak says he was turned away, and when he went back outside into the parking lot, one of those drivers involved in that road rage incident opened fire.

"I just felt an impact in my shoulder and I heard a gun blast and I knew I’d been shot," Gerdak said. "I felt my hand turn to fire. One second it was hot and then everything just started spinning."

Now, more than two years later, Gerdak said he still has two bullets inside his body. One is lodged near his groin, and Gerdak has decided not to get the surgery to remove it because it’s so risky he could lose the ability to have children. He’s decided to file a $10 million lawsuit against the Fairfax County Police Department and that employee on duty that night.

"You’re supposed to run into a police station, and they’re supposed to help you," Gerdak said. "If they can’t help you, then what? Are we all supposed to carry around guns now? I feel like nobody’s protected."

To this day, Gerdak said he does not know why he was shot, but he’s hoping this lawsuit will prevent this terrible incident from happening to anyone ever again.

Fairfax County Police would not comment on the lawsuit because it's ongoing litigation.

The man who shot Gerdak was sentenced to 66 years in prison.
Those of us in the "gun culture" have known for along time that the police have no duty to protect any individual. In some states this exception is actually written into the law. For example, the California Covernmet Code declares in Section 821 that:
A public employee is not liable for an injury caused by his
adoption of or failure to adopt an enactment or by his failure to
enforce an enactment.
In section 845:
Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for
failure to establish a police department or otherwise to provide
police protection service or, if police protection service is
provided, for failure to provide sufficient police protection
And in Section 846:
Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for
injury caused by the failure to make an arrest or by the failure to
retain an arrested person in custody.
There are dozens of State and Federal court case across space and time establishing the principle of "no duty to protect" in the law. Police protection, inasmuch as it exists at all, only extends to society as a collective and not to any individual member of that collective.

"To Protect and Serve," is a lie..

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