I’ve previously discussed how protective orders don’t stop domestic abusers from harming their victims, and how the police often fail to arrive in time to save a victim. However, as a recent tragic case from Arkansas shows, even once the police arrive, the victim isn’t necessarily any better off:
As reported, 26 year old Jill Ulmer had a restraining order against her ex boyfriend, Ricky Ray Anderson. Ricky was on parole for aggravated assault and robbery, and Jill was pregnant. One night, Ricky allegedly began calling Jill and sending her text messages, which made her fear for her safety. She called the police, and they were dispatched to her home. When they arrived, they heard Jill screaming for help, and allegedly saw Ricky attacking Jill with a knife, through Jill’s window. The police are then said to have opened fire on Jill’s attacker, although they do not appear to have hit him. However one of the bullets hit Jill, who was laying stabbed on the floor. Jill died shortly thereafter, and the medical examiner believes that either the gunshot wound from the police officer’s bullet, or the stab wounds allegedly inflicted by Ricky, would have each been enough to end her life. Ricky was taken to the county jail on suspicion of 2nd degree murder.
I’m not going to sit here and second guess the cops who opened fire, apparently trying their best to stop a murder that was in progress. Even if they were somehow in error in how they responded to the emergency, their actions seem to have been undertaken in good faith, and seem to be objectively reasonable as well. It seems that this is a case where the fault for Jill Ulmer being shot lies with her attacker, rather than the cop who tried to save her life.
Instead, my point is that anytime a citizen calls an armed cop to their home, there is inherent danger for that citizen. The armed cop may, as happened here, inadvertently shoot the victim while trying their best to shoot the attacker. Or, the cop may mistake the victim for the attacker, and shoot that victim. Indeed, the statistics show that cops are 5.5 times more likely to make this sort of error than an armed citizen who shoots in self defense.
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