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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default When May A Police Officer Draw His Weapon

    What is the name of your state? VIRGINIA

    When is it ok for a police officer to draw his weapon?

    Me and a coworker were riding our motorcycles on a local interstate when ACCORDING TO THE POLICE OFFICER, I made a pass of a vehichle and shortly after my coworker followed suit. Upon observing this pass the officer enganged his lights and siren and pulled behind us. My coworker pulled over immediatley and the officer pulled off the interstate behind him. Upon observing that I had not pulled over the officer pulled back onto the intersate and pulled behind me. I continued to drive with the officer behind me with his sirens and lights for about a mile until I pulled over.


    The police officer never directly told me at any time exactly what the offense was. I did overhear him talking to the dispatcher which is how I know his general side of the story.
    I did pass a vehichle I am sure I was in excess of the speed limit during the pass but no more than 10-15 mph over the posted limit. Although I was not paying attention to my speedometer during the pass I can infer that my speed was not extremley excessive because I was cruising behind the vehichle I passed for a matter of seconds before I made the pass. I know how fast the car was going that I passed because the when the officer was talking to the dispatcher she asked about speed and he explained that he did not have our motorcycles paced but the vehichle we passed was paced at 72. While I unknowingly continued to drive with the police officer behind me I stayed in the left lane at a constant speed of no more than 10 to 15 mph over the speed limit. I initially never saw the officer pull over my coworker nor did I see him pull off or behind me I happended to check my mirrors and that is when I saw the police officer. I imediatley slowed down and turned on my blinker checked my right mirror and moved to the right shoulder. I put my kickstand down and turned off my motorcycle. As soon as the officer had come to a complete stop he flew out of his vehichle with his gun drawn. He yelled to me to "dismount my bike and lay face down on the concrete, hurry up or I will take you off the bike." I did as instructed and as soon as I was face down on the pavement he ran up and put his knees on my back and cuffed me. He then asked if I had any weapons and frisked me ripping out all things I had in my pocket and tossing them to the side. He then told me to roll up on my knees and he took me to the trunk of his car where he removed my helmet. He asked if the cuffs were to tight which they were and I told him so, he then adjusted them. He then put me in the back of the car and starting talking to the dispatcher. After a few minutes he turned to me and asked me why I did not stop. I told him I did. He said how he had been following me and I told him how I had no idea. I told him I checked my mirrors I saw him and immediatley pulled over. He got on the radio and told the dispatcher what I had said and then told the dispatcher that he agreed after talking with me that I probably did not hear the siren. In a nutshell he wrote me a ticket for "general reckelss driving" which in the commonwealth of virginia means driving with wanton (maliciouse on purpose) reckless disregard to life limb and personal property. Under the law code he also whrote racing in parentheses. ( racing by the way in the state of virginia is a completely different law code)

    Here are my questions:
    I asked the police officer why he had pulled his weapon on me, he told me I was asking suspiciouse while pulling over. My first concern is that I was on a motorcycle in plain view in the daylight it is very dangerouse to take your hands off the handlebars while pulling onto the shoulder and I did no such thing. How suspiciouse could I look?

    I was under the impression that a police officer was only supposed to draw his weapon as a last resort when he believes that he needs to defend himself or others. With the situation outlined above does it seem as though the officer used excessive force?

    Does the fact that he drew his weapon on a suspicion of felony evading police matter?

    If the police officer had pulled next to me I would have observed him sooner and would have pulled over sooner. Should a police officer realize this and make every attempt to let his prescence be known?

    The particular sportsbike I own is a 1000cc bike. It has a 1/4 mile time of less than 9 seconds and a top speed of 178 mph. Does the officer have grounds to suspect felony evading when I did not move from the left lane with a constant speed of likely 70 mph?
    The officer also said that a lot of motorcycles try and run on that particular road should he realize the difference in my actions?

    Does the way that he restrained me (with my face down and his knees on my back) constitute my actions up to that point? I was under the impression that being cuffed like that was procedure for a suspect that was showing minor to moderate resistance to arrest.

    I was thinking of filing a request for discovery can you acheive the officers car video that way?

    Sorry for the novel.

  2. #2

    Default Re: When May A Police Officer Draw His Weapon

    When you continue to drive after seeing lights and sirens, any officer is going to take that as resistance. Could be that you're trying to ditch stuff that you don't want found on your person, or could be that you're trying to figure out how to loose them, how to get to your weapon, or any number of other scenarios. If and when you decide to end the pursuit by pulling over, you are going to have a gun drawn on you as part of standard procedure. Count on it. More police officers are killed by the actions of fleeing suspects than any other cause in the line of duty (accidents and domestic violence calls coming in at #2 and #3) - so they are only covering their own butts since most of them prefer to go home at the end of their shift. It's the better safe than sorry scenario, and no, it doesn't count as excessive force. Even the face down/knee to back cuffing is exactly how a single officer dealing with a person who previously failed to yield is taught to do it - he can't risk you resisting further and needs you under control asap. You can certainly have your defense attorney get a copy of the dash video as part of discovery, but it sounds like this officer's actions were by the book.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: When May A Police Officer Draw His Weapon

    I nice summary of what I posted on another board in response to this same poster's query there.

    - Carl
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ...

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