Fort Lauderdale, FL — As TFTP has reported on numerous occasions, calling 911 for help does not guarantee you will receive help. Many times, families who call 911 for help end up watching their family members get maimed or killed. Even in instances in which people tell police their location and need assistance getting out of a life threatening situation, responding officers won’t even get out of their car to look — letting an innocent child die. As the following case illustrates, elderly disabled men begging police for help with a home intruder, will have their cries for help fall on deaf ears.
Earlier this month, Bill Norkunas, a 70-year-old childhood polio survivor was shocked when he got out of the shower and noticed a shadowy figure standing outside of his window. Norkunas began flicking his outdoor light on and off in an attempt to make the stranger leave. However, this had the opposite effect and made the man, later identified as 23-year-old Timothy Johnson of Fort Lauderdale, even more threatening.
Johnson walked up to Norkunas’ front door, which is made of glass, and began pounding and banging on the door, prying away at the door with his garden paver.
Barefoot and standing in the broken glass of his front door, fending off Johnson, Norkunas is on the phone with the Broward sheriff’s department begging them for help — that would never come — despite cops being just a few houses down.
“If he opens the door can I shoot him?” Norkunas asks the 911 dispatcher about two minutes into his phone call for help.
Moments later, Norkunas is telling police that Johnson is kicking in his door. According to transcripts of the call, Norkunas is telling Johnson that he better not come any closer or he’ll shoot.
“Get the cops here quick,” he tells police at minute four.
Three minutes later, Norkunas’ voice is weary: “Sheriff, hurry up please.”
Three more minutes pass. “Where the hell are the cruisers? … They are still not here. Jesus Christ. There’s still no cruisers. Come to my house, please please.”
“If he gets inside this house, I don’t know what I am going to do. I’ve never shot anybody,” he tells the dispatcher as glass can be heard breaking on the recording.
But cruisers were there, just not at Norkunas’ home. They would stop 500 yards down the street, despite Norkunas neighbors witnessing the incident and calling 911 as well.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God he’s walking to my f— house. Holy f—. Please help me….” cried out another neighbor, who spent several minutes on the phone with a dispatcher initially trying to get help for Norkunas and then for herself as Johnson headed toward her house.
That wasn’t all, another neighbor called as Johnson approached her.
“Oh my God this guy is f— terrorizing everybody’s house and you guys are nowhere to be found.”
In total, 18 deputes were dispatched around the elderly man’s home, and not a single one of them approached it — despite multiple 911 calls.
Norkunas’ pleas for help would fall on deaf ears for over 15 minutes as cops waited down the street. The police never helped him and the incident was only resolved when, for some reason, Johnson decided to walk to the deputies and surrender himself.
“I’ve been on this earth 70 years, and I have never seen anything like this,” Norkunas said in an interview. “No officer came to my house. None.”
After turning himself in, Johnson was arrested on two burglary charges, battery on a person over 65 and throwing a missile into a building. He is out of jail on a $14,100 bail.
When questioned by the Tampa Bay Times, the Sheriff’s Office refused to answer questions about the response, including why no one showed up at Norkunas’ home, whether policy was followed or broken, and whether the situation could have been handled better. Instead, according to the Times, the department released this statement:
“Within days of the incident in Tamarac, the Broward Sheriff’s Office began a thorough review into how the deputies on scene handled the response to this fluid and rapidly evolving situation. The review into this incident is ongoing.
“The Broward Sheriff’s Office responds to tens of thousands of calls for service each year. The vast majority of these calls are handled appropriately with satisfactory outcomes. (The Broward Sheriff’s Office) constantly reviews and assesses its responses to emergency calls in order to provide the highest level of service to the public.”
“The law doesn’t require law enforcement officers to protect you from other people,” Rodney Jacobs, assistant director of the Civil Investigative Panel, a police oversight committee for the city of Miami told the Times. And he’s right.
Readers of TFTP will also remember the coward cop who was not only fired for refusing to protect the children of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but was also arrested for it. He was also with the Broward sheriff’s department. The disgraced ex-deputy Scot Peterson aka “The Coward of Broward” later claimed in court that he had no legal duty to confront the Parkland shooter and protect the children inside the school.
Peterson’s attorney, Michael Piper acknowledged that while this argument for defense may seem offensive and outrageous, as a matter of law, the deputy had no legal duty to confront the shooter.
“There is no legal duty that can be found,” Piper said. “At its very worst, Scot Peterson is accused of being a coward. That does not equate to bad faith.”
If we go back through decades of court cases, we will find that Piper is indeed correct.
Police in America are not required “protect and serve.”
As Norkunas’ case illustrates, calling the police for protection is nowhere near effective, not to mention that there is a good chance your house will be wrecked, your pet killed, or worse.
Not only is it a crap shoot to call 911, but it’s a terribly rigged craps game in which the house almost always wins – and you lose.
Researchers found that less than 5 percent of all calls throughout the country dispatched to police are made quickly enough for officers to stop a crime or arrest a suspect. The 911 bottom line: “cases in which 911 technology makes a substantial difference in the outcome of criminal events are extraordinarily rare.”
Even the cops know this.
As the Free Thought Project previously pointed out, Police chiefs across the country are urging citizens to arm themselves and admitting that police cannot stop mass shootings or home invasions, only a well-armed society can.
This is due to the fact that police officers have absolutely no legal duty to protect you.
The leading case on the topic is Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981) when the Court stated that the “fundamental principle of American law is that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”
In that case, police were directly alerted by Carolyn Warren, Miriam Douglas, and Joan Taliaferro that they were being held hostage by Marvin Kent and James Morse. Warren called police twice. But police never intervened and Warren, Douglas, and Taliaferro were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse—for over 14 hours.
The appellants argued that because police were alerted—twice—that police had a specific duty to protect them from the harm to which they were alerted. However, the court ruled in favor of police following “the well-established rule that official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection.”
On top of this case is another from the Supreme Court dating back to the 1930’s which established the guidelines for federal government protection of citizens. In short, there is none. In the case of Erie Railroad Co. Vs. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 82 L.Ed. 1188, the Court stated “there is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a state whether they be local in their nature or ‘general,’ be they commercial law or a part of the law of torts. And no clause in the Constitution purports to confer such a power upon the federal courts.”
In fact, the only case establishing that police have a duty to protect individuals states that those individuals must be under direct responsibility of police at that time.
In the case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (109 S.Ct. 998, 1989; 489 U.S. 189 (1989)), the court in DeShaney held that no duty arose as a result of a “special relationship,” concluding that Constitutional duties of care and protection only exist as to certain individuals, such as incarcerated prisoners, involuntarily committed mental patients and others restrained against their will and therefore unable to protect themselves.
As the apologist crowd continues to fear monger about why we need police and “what would you do if your home was being invaded?” etc., remember this story and the statistics above. Police will almost always show up after the crime has been committed and your safety is entirely up to you, and you alone. Had Norkunas not been armed, things may have played out far differently.
Cops did not save Norkunas. Norkunas saved himself.