A Bad 911 Call Can Send Lawful Self Defenders to Prison
Anything can and will be used against you in a court of law. How you communicate to law enforcement could put you in jail or keep you out.
When it comes to the judicial system, the system is not on your side. There are many reasons for this, from politics, to personal beliefs, to any number of other reasons. The primary takeaway is, don’t bank on the truth prevailing in the American court system. It is a very harsh and unfortunate reality, but it is something we must deal with.
When it comes to self defense, it is very possible to be the victim of a crime and be convicted of a felony anyways.
When you call 911, you are being recorded and what you say can and will be used against you in court. If you shoot someone in lawful self defense, but say the wrong things to the 911 operator, you can go to jail anyways.
In this video, John from Active Self Protection and Terry Johnson from Firearms Legal Protection discuss a real case where a man was attacked and used his firearm to defend himself. Even though he was completely justified in his defense, the victim was still convicted. Terry Johnson is a nationally recognized expert in firearms and self defense law. He is the kind of subject matter expert you should listen to, so I’m going to let him lay everything out.
What does Terry Johnson recommend you do when you call 911?
Say, “There was a shooting at (state the address)” and hang up.
The more you speak on the phone, the more opportunities you have to say something that can be used against you. Fully comply with the responding police officers when they arrive, and expect to be put in handcuffs as they don’t who is the real victim when they arrive.
What to do when talking to responding officers is yet another topic, and is an equally debated topic. The generally accepted suggestion is to point out the attacker, point out any related evidence on the ground, and point out any witnesses. This is heavily debated as you can say things that will send you to jail at this point as well. Just know that the police officer is going to try to get you to talk, but it is important to talk to legal representation as soon as possible. If you say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person (which includes police officers), you can be convicted for defending yourself.
Written by Brian Purkiss - always a student, sometimes a teacher.
I don't consider myself a competition shooter - I think of myself as a performance pistol shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.