When you enter a negotiations, it is important to know what everyone expects out of the encounter. Everybody needs something...and is there to attain it. If you know what the other side is after, you have a great deal of control over the tempo and eventual conclusions. So in this last segment we will discuss the different pertinent parties involved, specifically the initial first responder, his supervisor, the investigator, and of course you.
Let's begin with you shall we? You shot shot the terrorist, robber, killer-thug in the face and he is dead on the concrete with his brains showing. You called the 911 system and stood by carefully waiting. You gave a brief but accurate no-shitter depicting yourself several times as a justified victim with proper and articulate language. And the first contact went well. The first question is asked of you by the first officer - "What happened?" That is the stage that is set. What do you want?
I know what I wanted, and would still want. I want to be treated like a victim and not a suspect. I want the officers to identify with me as a good guy and think to themselves they would have done everything the same way I did it. I want to not have to spend a crap-ton of money defending myself from a murder charge and I want to sleep in my own bed. Tall order? Not really.
What do the rest of the parties in play want?
The responding officer has a template of actions he wants to accomplish. He wants to arrive safely and secure the scene. He wants to follow procedure so his sergeant doesn't yell at him. And he wants to begin writing his preliminary report as soon as possible so he can get home to his Swedish gymnast girlfriend and eventually also sleep in his own bed. The last thing on his mind is to screw anybody over on a report. He knows if he makes a mistake, it will cost him.
The sergeant on scene wants policy and procedures to be followed and doesn't want the watch commander lieutenant to yell at him either. Everyone is passing the liability ball around and he is the one that will tend to collect them. A misconception is that he doesn't care what you have to say. He does because they don't want to make a mistake either way. The sergeant wants all the boxes checked, all the policies followed and all his guys to do their jobs as expected in a professional manner.
The homicide investigator (we are assuming that you are a Suarez student so that is the sort of investigator you will be speaking with) wants something as well. Do you think he wants yet another murder case? Does he not have enough already? He won't let one slide but he is not going out of his way to create one either. His perspectives have already begun to shift toward one position when he received the first call from dispatch that there was a homicide. If you used your words, you are already being seen as a victim, which you are, and not as a suspect. What does the homicide investigator want? He wants corroboration beyond any doubt to confirm what he thinks happened, and what the evidence tells him happened.
In order to have your position as a victim sealed and locked in, you need to give these guys what they want, as much as is in your control. How do you do that? By telling your side of the event, from your position. What you saw, why it alerted you and caused your reaction, and this last is important, why you couldn't have done anything else. All of these are illustrated in the flowchart we posted earlier.
- You were there on good faith minding your own business.
- The bad guy presented as a bad guy intent on doing harm to you or others.
- It was clear from what you saw and heard that what was going on was to cost lives if something wasn't done.
- Being a man, a father, a person for good, you could not morally run away and leave innocents to their fate...or it was not tactically possible to do so.
- Your only option was to shot the bad guy.
If you can truthfully say those things, and in a compelling and credible manner, you will in fact be the victim and not the suspect. And everyone will have gotten what they wanted except the bad guy.
There is a sentiment in the "industry" that this realm is to be left for the lawyers as most of you are far too stupid to ever speak for yourselves. That you should never speak to the police and should instead always call your lawyer to have him speak for you. But is there something the lawyer wants? Certainly...he wants to get paid. And a case that lasts two years with multiple conferences with investigators and prosecutors and judges could top $100,000! I recall one attorney friend of mine who said, a victim will make him a few hundred bucks, a suspect will make him tens of thousands.
The sad part as you do not need to be the suspect. You can be the victim and get what you want. That is how you do it. To become very skilled and able at this sort of thing, take a look at the Killing Within The Law/Winning The Aftermath series we teach. The next class is in Prescott, AZ in August.