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Public Statements

Governor's Statement on Signing SEA 1

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Tuesday evening, Governor Daniels signed SEA 1, titled "Right to defend against unlawful entry." He issued the following statement about his decision to sign the bill:

"After close inspection, I have decided to sign Senate Enrolled Act 1. Contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against them. Senate Enrolled Act 1 puts into place a two-part test before a person can use deadly force against a law enforcement officer: First, it clarifies and restates the current requirement that a person reasonably believe the law enforcement officer is acting unlawfully. Second, it adds that the force must be reasonably necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the citizen. This second requirement is not part of the current law.

"Moreover, unless a person is convinced an officer is acting unlawfully, he cannot use any force of any kind. In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met.

"So as a matter of law, law enforcement officers will be better protected than before, not less so. What is troubling to law enforcement officers, and to me, is the chance that citizens hearing reports of change will misunderstand what the law says.

"Today is an important day to say: Indiana's outstanding law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect all Hoosiers. The right thing to do is cooperate with them in every way possible. This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers. In fact, it restricts when an individual can use force, specifically deadly force, on an officer, so don't try anything. Chances are overwhelming you will be breaking the law and wind up in far worse trouble as a result."


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