I am not sure if this topic was already raised in this specific context, so I apologize if it has already been addressed.
However, we read about a man in Portland, Oregon who was surrounded by BLM protesters, tried to escape in his truck, crash, and then was ripped from his truck and beaten.
I am worried that, one day, one of us may be presented with a similar situation. This man probably did not wake up thinking this would happen to him. He was probably driving down the road and was simply stopped by the mob, in a surprise fashion, as they are want to do. Of course, we can not simply step on the gas and keep going, as we have seen in other news stories.
My question is “When, if at any time” would this man have been justified in using deadly force?"
In my mind, I believe a mob of people threatening you is something akin to “aggravated assault” since there is more than one other person. Ten people using their fists against you should be adjudicated as deadly as a gun or a baseball bat or a knife, etc.
I live in Texas, and the law says this (in part) about Deadly Force:
Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PRSON. (a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:
(1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and
(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or
(B) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
(b) The actor’s belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
(C.) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);
As you might be able to see, there is no use of deadly force authorized against assault or aggravated assault. That strikes me as odd.
This is problematic because the BLM mob was not trying to kidnap, sexually assault, rob, (or so we are aware of) murder the guy. Even under the regular use of force laws of Texas - that I could find - the use of force is not authorized to defend assault. Since the guy was in his vehicle, it looks like 9.32(b)(1)(B) would apply since the mob attempted to remove him from his vehicle, but if none of the mob were holding guns or weapons, then the use of a firearm does not appear to have been justified.
The trick is that nobody may use deadly force (in any jurisdiction of the U.S. that I am aware of) until it becomes obvious that it is necessary against death, or severe injury. However, how would a person not reasonably be afraid of death or severe injury from a large, angry, and/or violent mob?
In this case, it would only be the very moment someone stuck their hand in the car, to rip him out, or opened his door without his consent, or some other unclear moment where he would have had the slim opportunity to use a firearm. After this, he was beaten by a number of people and kicked unconscious, rendering him unable to use his weapon.
I am afraid because this appears to be how many of these mob interactions go for many people, nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens, and then BOOM suddenly they are ganged up on and savaged. There are other interactions where people are not attacked by the mob but simply screamed at. In those cases, deadly force would not have been reasonable, but things can turn in a moment and the law asks people to be right on the money, accurately predicting or being “cool hand luke” and pulling the firearm exactly in the nick of time when moment for deadly force makes itself apparent.
I am afraid because it takes some people some time to process, maybe minutes or maybe moments, but that is enough time to have something bad happen and the person would be punished in court for attempting to do the right thing. However, the use of a firearm may have prevented this severe injury to this man and his wife this way, as the mob jackboots would likely scatter when the gunshots rang out.
I am not sure how the different and various regional laws in the U.S. address being attacked or threatened by a mob in the use of deadly force, so I am interested to see or find out what known resources there are for this.