So far in 2011, there have been 9 officer involved shootings in Cincinnati. Last year there were only 2. According to Cincinnati.com, this means officers have fired on civilians more this month than all of last year. While the reasons aren’t certain, some suspect young gun owners are less afraid to confront officers than they were in the past.
Officers can use deadly force (fire their weapon) when someone uses deadly force against them. In other words, if they have a reasonable fear that their life is being threatened, they can fire. This is a pretty standard use of force policy, used by departments across the nation.
In all nine cases so far in 2011, the officer who fired believed they were being threatened with their life. In 5 of the cases, the citizen who was fired upon had a gun themselves. In one case, the citizen fired upon police.
It’s standard protocol that any police involved shooting be investigated. None of the officers have faced criminal charges, though not all of the investigations are complete.
There is no way to know for sure what’s driving the increase in situations where officers feel threatened. Many think the youth are simply more brazen than they used to be. One officer said a few decades ago, a suspect would throw their gun and run away, but that’s not the case anymore.
Nationwide crime in general has fallen over the past year. But Cincinnati isn’t the only city that’s seen a rise in officer shootings. Milwaukee and Jacksonville, Florida have seen similar trends emerging.
They say it’s impossible to say at this time if the rise is a short-lived uptick or if it’s a trend that will continue to climb. Time will tell.
However, the increase will, no doubt, make officers more vigilant when dealing with gun-carrying citizens. Even citizens who are lawful gun owners should take extra precautions to ensure they don’t run afoul of the law. Because gun laws are so complex, it’s not completely unusual for people to break them without even realizing it.
Many weapons charges are felonies and don’t only carry a lengthy potential prison sentence but also the permanent designation of being a convicted felon. For this reason, a gun conviction should be avoided at all costs.
If you are accused of a gun charge in Ohio and are unsure of your options, contact our offices today. We can discuss your case and what can be done.