Has anyone in the United States ever been acquitted of assaulting an on-duty police officer on grounds of self-defense- ever? Is it even legally possible, given the authority bestowed on police to demand the unresisting surrender of citizens? My w.a.g. would be that it’s never come to a court case; in instances where police misconduct could be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt (video), the authorities would decline to bring charges.
Google is your friend.
An on-duty uniformed officer I doubt but in the carefree days of my youth I got acquitted of assaulting an on-duty officer. A dude looking pretty much grubby like the rest of us hippies/bikers was drawing a gun (I physically saw it) and I clocked him from behind and called the cops. They arrived and I found out he was a cop - undercover. He admitted that he didn’t/hadn’t identified himself yet; he was waiting to get his gun out before he did so ------- so I got off. I got charged - it just didn’t fly in the end.
(He thought he had seen a “known felon” but it turned out he had the wrong dude ----- assuming that was what was actually happening. The first part of the 70s could be real confused and free-wheeling sometimes. Can’t say what today’s standards would be.)
I was going to say that acquittal on a charge of alleged assault is different from where it wasn’t in dispute that an officer was struck, but **Wilbo523’**s second link is to a successful justification defense. Frankly I’m astonished.
In Quebec a few years ago, a man was acquitted of killing an on-duty police officer. The police decided to raid this guy’s house at 4AM and came in unannounced, breaking down his door with guns ablaze. He was in bed with his wife (who was injured in the shooting and he took out his gun and killed one of them. He was acquitted and plenty of people were aghast at his acquittal (“But he killed a police officer in the line of duty”, said our cleaning lady). FWIW, they had a warrant to search his house (for drugs, of course) and came in this way so he couldn’t flush them down the toilet. They didn’t find any. But I don’t think any warrant would have justified what they did.
I have never heard of such a case in my own criminal-justice experience here in Ohio (since 1992), and agree with the OP that in most such cases the prosecutor would probably decline to bring charges against the civilian if the officers were unbelievable or had engaged in clear misconduct.
An acquaintance broke the nose of an officer when he grabbed her from behind when she was trying to break up a fight. He didn’t announce that he was an officer; she reverse-head-butted him. The other police officers had a good laugh.
I was on a jury that acquitted an inmate of the county jail of striking a jailer one time with his fist. We ruled that the inmate had reasonably believed the jailer was about to strike the inmate without just cause and thus acted in self defense.