On his Facebook post, Texas-based police and police academy instructor explained to the public that they could legally use deadly force to anti-racism protesters if they try to destroy or vandalize a Confederate monument on their property or in someone else’s property.
Phil Ryan, who identifies himself as a cop in his Facebook post, said that the job is meant to be a public service announcement about justifying legal homicide.
The cop also emphasized that criminal mischief or vandalism is a crime. So, if someone tries to destroy or deface a monument or statue, the act falls under the Criminal Mischief under the Texas Penal Code.
This is nothing more than @DwightBoykins attempting to deflect the bold faced lies he has been telling the citizens of Houston for months. When called out for his lying, he doubles down once again lying about the leadership of the HPOU and falsely claiming racism. https://t.co/U29M61hIna
— Houston Police Officers' Union (@HPOUTX) October 29, 2019
Facebook Posts Educated Civilians on the Law
Furthermore, Ryan outlined the legalities of shooting someone in either a public or a private property by citing statutes on Criminal Mischief, Protection of a Third Person’s Property, as well as Protection of One’s Property before having the rights to shoot someone.
Ryan noted, “Chapter 9.42 states: DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property,” and added that using deadly force is justified after dark. He also stated that his bottom line is if a person is destroying a statue or monument that is not theirs, you can defend it by force at daytime and by deadly force during night time, before adding, “Just a little tip, from your Uncle Phil…”
Viral Facebook Post Gets Thousands of Facebook Post Likes
The viral Facebook post, which falsely suggests that it is legal for people to kill someone to protect Confederate statues from being vandalized, was strongly condemned by many. And although it has been deleted by Ryan himself, it was already featured in various news articles due to its false and potentially dangerous claims.
The news reached the Tioga Police Department, where Ryan was working as an unpaid reserve officer. The self-identified cop was dismissed not long after his post became viral. Adding fuel to the fire, a website named Political Mayhem has written an article about the issue. The website shared the viral concern in an inflammatory and irresponsible manner. The site even had its report titled, “ Hell yeah! This State Just Gave Citizens An Authority to Shoot Protesters on Sight who Destroy Monuments.”
Viral Facebook Post Results in Facts Being Shared
For a fact, the laws that Ryan stated on his viral Facebook post are not new and updated. And even if these laws are updated, they still do not give the public the right to use deadly force to protesters who vandalizes Confederate statues. Although the post happens to go viral, the reason people buy Facebook post likes is to help the odds of that happening.
According to a legal analyst named Gerald Treece, the legal codes Ryan is citing are real. However, these laws do not give anyone the rights that Ryan claimed. Chapter 9.41, for instance, explicitly deals with one’s property in which statues and monuments in public parks do not fall under. Treece also mentioned that one could not consider confederate statues as tangible, movable property.
Treece further explained that you could only use deadly force against someone if there is or there is a fear of lethal force against you. However, statues in public parks do not protect your rights by this law.
Texas Penal Code and Private Properties
According to the Texas Penal Code, 9.43 clearly states that private properties that can protect itself using deadly force need to be movable and tangible. Furthermore, a statue is never meet any of these qualifications since nobody but the government owns it.
The Granbury Police Department have also proven Ryan’s claims false, saying that using deadly force to stop a person from vandalizing a statue is not valid.
With all the current issues and controversies that involve the statue of General Granbury, there has been a significant escalation in the problems that have to be addressed. The self-identified cop and police academy instructor named Phil Ryan went viral after posting inaccurate information about the Texas Penal Code. His posts, which a lot of people are questioning, interprets the chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code as a law that allows the public to shoot and kill someone for merely vandalizing Confederate statue vehemently.
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"Cops Around The Country Are Posting Racist And Violent Comments On Facebook" pic.twitter.com/yr7A7Yo1Or
— Injustice Watch (@injusticewatch) June 12, 2019
Use of Deadly Force and Facebook Likes
The particular section that is under the argument starts with the Texas Penal Code Section 9.42. This section states that a person can use deadly force to stop another person from committing Criminal Mischief during night time. It covers someone who is protecting his or her property as well as those who preserve a third party’s property, as mentioned in section 9.43.
However, Ryan failed to explain a significant part of in viral Facebook post. That is a requirement that says that a person can only use deadly force to protect his property or a third party’s property against Criminal Mischief if the land or property that he is trying to protect cannot be protected by any other means. Besides, the protector can only use deadly force if it would expose the actor to a substantial risk of death pr bodily severe injury.
When you are reading and understanding the entire statute, it is evident that the Texas Penal Code might not allow the public to shoot and kill someone for merely vandalizing a statue, in contrary to what Ryan is claiming. Other factors must involve themselves to justify the deadly force. Also, it would be helpful if you ask yourself first whether it is worth it to take the life of someone over the land, property, or as Ryan said, Confederate statue that does not even belong to you, also if the constitution legally justifies the action.
Furthermore, the Granbury Police Department does not recommend anyone to confront the actor in an instance that they were put under such circumstances. Instead, it would be best to call the emergency hotline 911 and be the best witness that you can be.
So, the bottom line is it is never legal to take any person’s life or to use deadly force in Texas to prevent someone from vandalizing a statue.