“Right To Resist” Police Entry Bill Passes

Assembly passes law in response to court ruling restricting use of force against illegal police entry.

Monroe County Sheriff Car and Jail

Photo: Indiana Public Media

Bill passes despite concerns that more members of law enforcement will be endangered.

Hoosiers can once again forcibly resist illegal police entry into their homes under a bill lawmakers approved Friday. Legislators say police are better protected as well.

Last year, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a ruling – Barnes vs. the State – interpreted by many to bar citizens from using force to resist police entry into their homes – even if that entry was illegal. Logansport Republican Randy Head says the legislature was forced into acting on the issue this session because the court decision went too far.

“Bottom line for me under Barnes,” says Head, “is that is says if a police officer is off duty and breaks into a house, clearly unlawfully, and steals something from that house or hurts someone in that house or sets fire to that house, the homeowner has to say, ‘Officer, stop or I’m going to sue you later.’”

But Fort Wayne Republican Tom Wyss says the new law is too complicated for the general public to understand. He says he worries it will create dangerous situations for citizens and the police.

“I just don’t want to go and put a rose on a casket because somebody didn’t understand this and they killed a cop by accident,” Wyss says.

The legislation says residents can only use deadly force against police if they feel their life is in danger – and supporters of the bill say that’s greater protection than Indiana law ever provided.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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