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Kansas Supreme Court Rules Self-Defense Doesn’t Apply When Bystanders Are Injured

The Kansas Supreme Court decided that self-defense protections were not valid when bystanders are injured.

A Witchita police officer tried to shoot a dog and in the process, wounded a 9 year old girl. The justices then ordered the trial of former officer Dexter Betts to proceed. The charge levied against the former officer is felony reckless battery and he will face trial in the Sedgewick county district court.

“If the Legislature wishes to extend self-defense immunity when an innocent bystander is hurt, it can do so,” Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles wrote. “In the meantime, we find nothing in the statutes providing a blanket shield for reckless conduct injuring an innocent bystander who was not reasonably perceived as an attacker.”

The officer’s lawyer, Jess Hoeme, believes that Betts acted correctly and will be acquitted of all charges.

“Law enforcement officers have a very, very difficult job to do,” Hoeme said. “When officers begin to hesitate or when they start to second-guess their own actions like that, law enforcement officers are going to get killed.”

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