Protecting the president and public safety.

Today I heard mention, on the radio, of Squeaky Fromme’s attempt on President Ford’s life. The narrator said that the officer grabbed the gun with one hand and Fromme’s arm with his other hand and subdued her into the crowd.
That set me to wondering.
What if, instead of grabbing Fromme, the officer had been in a better position to grab a bystander and insert him/her between the gun and the president and he did so to stop the bullet intended for Ford. Say the gun went off and killed the bystander, saving President Ford. Mission successful, right?
What, if anything, would the officer be charged with? Lets say he was a secret service agent charged with protecting the president, although I don’t know that he was.
I know that the SS is empowered to commandeer private property in an emergency, and that they are trained to stop a bullet for the president, but in this scenario he didn’t have time to insert himself.

The protection detail is trained to protect the president. They train their reactions so they do it without thinking. Otherwise who would put themselves between a gun and a target? Looking around for a human shield would take time and not be very effective (people tend to put up a struggle when grabbed without warning). They react by jumping on the shooter or the target. If they are in a position for neither they put their own body in the way. Anything else isn’t practicle and doesn’t have a real answer since it will never happen.

You think so? I don’t know. I was thinking more of a chance opportunity, not “looking around” for a suitable shield.
For example, the famous hug Bill Clinton shared with “that woman” in public. Had she stepped back at the exact moment a gun was presented, it would have taken very little planning to push her back into the line of fire.
I guess what I’m asking here is, what legal protections are in place for the members of the detail while on duty (24/7, I understand) if harm comes from their actions.

To amplify what Loach said, the SS is trained to such a high level that their reaction time is significantly faster than the average Joe’s (or Oswald, as the case may be ;)) and they’re also trained to be highly observant, so they can spot the telegraphing gestures characteristic of someone drawing a weapon early on and begin moving in to either stop the assassin, block the shot, or get the President out of the way. If you’ve seen the video of the Reagan assassination attempt, you’ll notice that one second Reagan’s standing there, the next second he’s being shoved into the limo, the second after that, the limo’s tearing out of there. The only reason Reagan was hit was a lucky shot, where the bullet skidded down the side of the limo and then into Reagan.

As for the Squeaky Fromme event, the accounts I’ve read all state that the SS man stopped the shot by jamming the webbing between his thumb and pointer finger between the hammer and the gun. So to give you an idea of what we’re talking about as far as skills go, in the span of a few seconds, the SS man realized that there was a threat to the President, what kind of threat it was, where it was coming from, and that the way to stop the threat was to use a part of his body most people don’t normally think about and jam it into an area probably no larger than a quarter of an inch wide. The SS men are also heavily armed and can bring their weapon to bear rapidly, so in the event that an SS man realized that he wasn’t in range to block the shot with his body, he’d have his weapon drawn and would stop the assassin by shooting him/her.

So, for example, someone draws a gun, points it at the President, and a SS agent shoots that person in the weapon arm, the bullet then hits someone else and kills them. As long as it can be shown in a court of inquiry that the SS man was acting in the best interests of protecting the POTUS and that there was a legitimate threat to the safey of the POTUS, the issue ends there. No doubt the POTUS will express his condolances to the family of the deceased, and the assassin may be charged with something that indicates his/her actions were responsible for the person being killed as well as trying to kill the President.

Except an SS agent will empty their weapon into the center of mass of the assassin, not shoot them in the arm.

Otherwise, if one of the shots overpenetrates and kills a bystander, the rest of your post would apply.

Yeah, I know, but I wanted to try to posit an example where it’d be more likely for a shot to pass through someone than for the round to “rattle around” inside of them (as would most likely happen).

Not 'zactly. No criminal liability would attach, but civil liability might. Certainly a wrongful death suit could be filed. Might be tough to win, but it could be filed.

Well, yeah, but that’s because people will sue for anything these days. You can always hold someone to be civally liable for something. Winning is another matter completely. Although in the case posited above, the government would probably just pay off the family of the bystander. Easier all around for everybdy (except said bystander, of course.)

I was hoping for something a little more dramatic, I guess. So much for that story.
We haven’t triggered any Homeland Security spyware, have we? That would be cool. At least I’d have my story. :wink:
Here ya go. A nice parting gift. :smiley:
I miss Bill.
mangeorge, using his free day.

I imagine that the moment the case hit a judge’s desk (assuming you could even find a lawyer willing to take it) he’d toss it out. The victim’s family would probably get some compensation from the government (say funeral expenses), but a court case is highly unlikely.

Apparrently, though in other threads you seem generally well informed, you know nothing about law. Judges do not often “just toss it out”. If a suit is filed, it is usually going forward at least until a motion to dismiss is filed, a hearing noticed, and a ruling thereon made. Wrongful death suits are brought against various branches of government all the time. In this scenario, there may be additional hoops to jump through involving the Federal Tort Claims Act, and numerous discovery issues, but there is nothing about it to make a lawyer reluctant to accept the case (assuming he does tort actions), and filing suit if unable to settle prior to filing.