Must I allow police snipers on my roof?

A few days ago the news reported on some high-profile terrorism-related raids in Paris and Brussels. Many of the images reported by the media show police snipers poised on the roofs of nearby apartment buildings.

I was wondering whether such snipers need permission from the building owners, or if the law automatically grants them the right of access. I understand that many jurisdictions make provisions for something called “hot” or “fresh” pursuit, but I always understood this to be about letting police enter private property to arrest a suspect who is in the process of committing a crime, or who is fleeing from the scene of a crime they’ve just committed. The recent situation in Europe is different because the crime occurred months ago, and because snipers themselves can’t put the suspects under arrest (though they are cooperating with more proximate police officers who can).

Though it’s the cases in Paris and Brussels that prompted this question, I’d be interested in learning what the law in other jurisdictions says about this sort of scenario. For example, in any part of the US, does the hot pursuit doctrine (or any other law) require a homeowner to allow police snipers access to her roof, or even her home’s interior rooms?

That’s an interesting question except most likely they wouldn’t fire and you wouldn’t even know they were there once they were on the roof, with you being in the interior of the building. Their protocol is to stay as quiet as possible and to not cause a scene or make their placement known.

See exigent circumstance:

The rest of the article indicates that this is very much a judgment call, but I would guess that the urgent need for placement of snipers in order to ensure public safety (e.g. in a hostage situation) is probably considered justification enough to require immediate access to adjacent structures.

What if they require access to the inside of the structure in order to gain roof access, and you have some drugs out? Plain sight doctrine and all that. Say you attempted to politely decline access first, and also assume the cop’s a jerk.

Sure, but in a hostage situation there is a crime in progress, whereas in these cases there apparently wasn’t. I suppose one could still argue that public safety is at risk because the planned arrest could lead to a hostage situation (or to a simple shootout). But I wonder how far one could plausibly take this reasoning.

Yeah, this occurred to me as well. Is evidence of a property owner’s criminal activity discovered during hot pursuit of a third party admissible in court?

How would you go forth to deny them access? They have freakin’ guns!

Edit: If you happen to be a gun-owner yourself, shooting at them wouldn’t only make you widely impopular, but also very dead.

By “deny” I mean “withhold legal consent” or “state one’s refusal”. If it’s not legal for them to enter your property, and they know it, then there is a good chance they will simply leave. Of course, any police officer intent on breaking the law can do so if they have the means of overpowering physical resistance. But if you didn’t at least state your disagreement with their plans, it could later be taken as consent or cooperation.

The wording of the Wikipedia article doesn’t indicate that criminal activity has to be taking place at the time of entry, just that there has to be an “an emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence.”

I don’t think the OP is asking how to stop them, but rather whether they have the authority to enter at all. If they don’t have the authority to enter (i.e. if “exigent circumstance” doesn’t apply), and they enter anyway, then you have the basis for a complaint/lawsuit after the fact.

Yeah, try to sue the police for trespassing…

I plead the Third.

I’m not saying it would be easy or likely to succeed, but Googling turns up some past cases where the officers were hauled into court for trespassing. Some (like one Robert Jacobs) were even convicted on criminal charges.

A related question. Can the police commandeer a vehicle in an emergency? You sometimes see this in movies and I’ve often wondered about the legality of it.

I would direct you to any one of umpteen previous threads on that topic.

The most recent Third Amendment case I can recallis discussed here. The incident involved police forcibly entering a neighboring home to gain tactical advantage. The third amendment claim was dismissed though other claims were allowed to proceed. The account of the incident is troubling. I don’t know the outcome of those claims.

Here is an actual third amendment violation.

Doesn’t apply. The exigent circumstances doctrine applies to exigencies that already exist. In other words, a police agency could argue that a sniper needed to enter your home in order to shoot someone in a hostage situation, but not that the sniper needed to enter to be in better position for a potential future hostage situation.

As a general rule, law enforcement personnel will stay in publicly accessible areas or ask the property owner’s permission before entering.

Except for that case in Nevada. Where the broke down a door, shot the resident with a pepper ball, and shot his dog with a pepper ball, after pointing their weapons at the resident and threatening to arrest him. Because he lived next to a suspect.

Yes, that case reads like assholery all around.

These cases (and OP) remind me, uneasily, of the stunning cases, immediately and widely carried out, in the manhunt in Boston suburbs after the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing, where Boston police not only entered the houses but forced the residents out.

Is this not relevant? Were any legal challenges–as opposed to journal/editorial opinion pieces–raised in the aftermath of those events in Boston?

No judge would indict a sniper for entering your appartment without consent, but the 4th amendment protects the drugs charge.