Police try to conduct their investigations quickly, but this pursuit is not always in line with public safety or justice. Many times, when serving arrest warrants, police escalate matters more than is strictly required. A recent Polk County incident reveals a potential problem with police investigations. A mistake can lead to greater criminal charges for the accused.
The unfortunate day
According to WESH-2, a Polk County arrest warrant took a turn for the worse recently, when a deputy was fatally injured as the result of friendly fire. According to news reports, when police entered a home to arrest a 46-year-old woman, she was holding a BB gun that they mistook to be a lethal weapon. Police fired at the woman, and one of the officers was struck. He later died at a local hospital. The woman was also shot and was treated at a local hospital.
Among the many felony charges the woman now faces is a charge for the murder of the police officer. This type of charge is sometimes known as “felony murder,” and applies to situations in which a person who, in the course of committing a felony, acts in a way that is dangerous to others and leads to the death of another person.
For example, if a person points a gun at someone in a felony armed robbery, and the victim is so startled that they step out into traffic and are killed, the robber may in some cases be charged with murder even though they never fired the gun. Texas prosecutors have used felony murder charges in certain cases involving alleged drunk drivers who killed another person in an accident. In so doing, they upgrade a manslaughter charge into a murder charge.
You have rights
Our justice system has checks and balances, under which where the police have certain tools, like warrants, and the people have certain advantages, like criminal law attorneys. No matter the level of the crime, the United States Constitution guarantees you rights.