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Police not allowed to use deadly force during arrests under this proposed NH law

New Hampshire State Police (Jason Lawrence/WikiCommons)
January 21, 2019

The New Hampshire legislature is eyeing up a proposed bill that, if passed, could put law enforcement officials in danger.

The bill, HB 218, brought forward by a group called the Liberty Republicans, would ban police officers from being able to use deadly force during an arrest, WMUR 9 News reported.

Contrary to the group’s claims that the bill would save lives, Chief David Goldstein of the Franklin Police Department said, “It will make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for us to affect our jobs in certain situations.”

HB 218 is sponsored by GOP members of the state’s House of Representatives — Reps. Chris True, James Spillane, Kurt Wuelper, and Max Abramson.

Actor Dean Cain, a supporter of law enforcement and a reserve officer, said, “Terrible idea. No law enforcement officer wants to use deadly force during an arrest. Regrettably, sometimes it is the only option. Enacting a law like this is dangerous, irresponsible, and will lead to even more violence against law enforcement,” according to The Daily Caller.

The bill will be voted on in late January by the New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice Committee and expected to be out of committee in mid-March.

From 2017 to 2018, there was a 12 percent increase of on-duty police deaths with most of those caused by shootings, according to data from The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Retired police officer Ron Martinelli said, “In addition to the threat of on-the-job injury or even death, police officers have to worry if they’re going to lose their job or get sued.”

In 2018, New Hampshire saw at least four legally justified police shootings, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

In December, Trooper Christopher O’Toole shot and killed 26-year-old Jesse J. Champney in Canaan.

Authorities said, “the officer’s use of deadly force was legally justified because the suspect kept telling police that he had a gun and threatened to shoot,” New Hampshire Public Radio stated.

A state police officer fatally shot a man in Epping on Sept. 29, according to NECN News.

The suspect’s vehicle met the description of that identified in a 911 call and an officer saw the vehicle on the side of the road.

When he approached, “an encounter ensued” in which the trooper discharged his firearm, killing 40-year-old Walter Welch Jr. Welch was found dead with a gun in his hand.

On Aug. 20, police shot and killed Douglas Heath, 38, after a chase ended in a crash and exchange of gunfire. Heath was wanted on several warrants.

On June 26, an individual was shot by New Hampshire police during an arrest, but the suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment.