Daniel Damato

Good Samaritans are supposed to help strangers, not beat them up.

Joke about Good Samaritan liability all you want, but we’re about to talk about an interesting case that is right on point.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports on a lawsuit that has been filed in New Jersey. Keith Briscoe was killed during a scuffle with Winslow Township police officer Sean Richards and other men who came to the officer’s aid. Some of the men were cops, while others were random citizens — so-called “good Samaritans” — who had no idea what was going on but tried to help out the cop anyway. All of them are being sued in a civil action brought by Briscoe’s family members.

I hope Briscoe’s family wins.

I don’t know about you, but when I see a cop and a citizen having an argument or even getting into a fistfight, I don’t assume that the cop is in the right. I don’t assume the cop is addressing the situation with the best intentions or proper motives.

But I don’t assume that the cop is doing anything wrong either. I simply don’t assume and go about my business.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I do think I’m in the minority. And I think it’s about time that some in the majority feel some heat for making, and then acting upon, faulty assumptions that reflexively favor the police…

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