Inspired by this item, and a similar one last year at William and Mary University.
Let’s say an institution holds a hostage drill, where those taken hostage don’t know beforehand that it’s a drill, and the hostage taker is a Law Enforcement type playing a role.
Besides ruining the drill for the other LEOs who are supposed to end the situation, what would or could happen if the hostages resisted? Would they be legally be liable for battery on an LEO or even resisting arrest if they manage to overpower the hostage taker and beat the living hell out of him?
It’s not a “drill” if the “pretend” hostage taker really is detaining people against their will. In that case it really is a hostage situation; the perpetrator is committing a crime (unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, etc.), and the victims are justified in using whatever force is permitted by law in their jurisdiction to free themselves and/or to disable and detain the perpetrator.
No doubt. The drill-hostage taker was supposedly an off-duty cop. You’d think he, of all people, would have known the physical risk he was assuming in taking a bunch of real people as real hostages. All it would have taken was for one of those hostages to be a closeted gun enthusiast with an ankle-holstered revolver (legal or not), and the hostage-taker could have end up with a bullet-shaped hole in his head. as psychonaut says, I believe anyone taking action (up to and including deadly force) against the hostage-taker would be exonerated for legitimately acting in self-defense.
Or suppose one of the hostages was a surgeon with a scalpel. Or a large, muscular man with martial arts/combat training. Since none of them could have known the off-duty cop/hostage-taker had an unloaded gun, they would have been within their rights to exert deadly force in self-defense. If someone started beating the crap out of the cop, I wouldn’t expect them to stop just cuz the hostage-taker says “just kidding, I’m an off-duty cop, my gun’s unloaded and this whole thing was only a drill.”
So the hospital gets an $800 fine for compromising patient care? Peanuts. The cop should be arrested and charged with felony kidnapping.
IANAL, but I believe it depends on whether the police properly identified themselves. That’s why they always yell “POLICE, SEARCH WARRANT” about 2 milliseconds before they ram the door in, and why they typically display badges, uniform insignia, or some other sort of visual ID as they enter.
Ask Cory Maye. Short version: you go to jail for capital murder of an LEO, assuming hir buddies don’t immediately shoot you afterward. The journalist, Radley Balko, has done a lot of writing on this particular subject. With the Cato Institute, he’s put together a map of LEO raids gone wrong. I found the research surprising and informative.
For the hypothetical of the “hostage” using lethal force during the “hostage situation”, I would think that the use of lethal force would be privileged under the self-defense doctrine, but that the hostage would still face legal sanction for the instrument they used.
IOW, shooting the hostage taker might be O.K. because the hostage was in fear of hir life, and the lethal force was deemed reasonable to stop the threat to their life, but the hostage is still going to get arrested for having a (gun, knife, whatever) in the hospital or school in the first place.
What a profoundly ridiculous situation Elizabeth City State University chose to put themselves in. How did it eventually turn out? I wouldn’t be happy without everyone who agreed to this idiotic idea having to find other employment. Throw the idiot campus police officer into jail. Add at a minimum free tuition/fees and everything else for everyone in that classroom. Why do I think that none of those remedies actually happened?