5 legal reminders for an officer-involved shooting

At a recent Force Science Certification Course, student Scott Wood, a police defense attorney and General Counsel for the National Tactical Officers Association, made his business card available to other students during a break, pointing out that the back of the card listed five things officers should keep in mind if they’re involved in a shooting. Here’s the list:

1. Remember your constitutional right to remain silent (Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution).

2. You should consider retaining a lawyer knowledgeable in this area of the law.

3. Any statement you give may be used against you in a subsequent criminal, administrative or civil proceeding. Make sure you are psychologically ready before giving it.

4. Regardless of whether you have retained a lawyer, when your initial statement is given, make sure you have been ordered to give that statement by a superior officer.

5. Remember that the law in the area of use of force is evolving. You have a constitutional right to legal representation (Sixth Amendment, U.S. Constitution).

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