Indiana lawmakers reacting to a recent court ruling saying people cannot legally fight police entering their homes are closer to proposed legislation that would specify when violent force can and cannot be used against officers.
The legislative panel is due to vote next week on a bill that would allow people to use violent force to resist police entry if they do not know that it's police at their door or if the officers are not performing official duties.
"At that point, if there is not identification, no warrant, they're not in uniform, we don't know who they are, the citizens shouldn't have to take a guess," said State Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis.
"We think the citizens and police officers both would benefit if they all knew the rules that we were supposed to play by," said State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. "The Supreme Court decision says there's never a justified use of force against a police officer and, quite frankly, that's not true in Indiana."
The proposed legislation would not cover suspected cases of domestic violence or imminent harm, crimes in progress or the serving of warrants.
Still, State Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, argued that once lawmakers allow force to be used, more restrictions must be put in place.
"Once you authorize that, does it set in motion the events that could result in people's lives being taken?" he asked. "It's a delicate situation because it's literally a life-and-death issue we're dealing with."
Lanane suggested looking at other remedies besides violence, such as taking the officer to court for public misconduct.
The Indiana Supreme Court last month upheld its contentious earlier ruling saying people cannot violently resist police they believe are trying to enter their homes illegally.
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