Is it Legal to “Fight Back” Against a Cop Who is Using Excessive Force?

We’ve previously discussed when it is and is not OK to defend yourself in the state of Wisconsin (and the lengths to which you can go in defending yourself). These laws apply to defending yourself against citizens. But are you ever able to defend yourself against a police officer if they are using excessive force? That’s the question we tackle in this article.

Excessive Force

Sometimes, in the act of apprehending a person in violation of the law, a police officer may overstep their bounds and use excessive force. If an officer is using excessive force against you, is it ever legal (or advisable) to fight back to protect yourself?

Assuming that the police officer is not trying to rape, murder, or harm you as any other criminal, the answer is no. Even if the cop is trying to take you in on charges and he thinks that you are someone else or if you end up not being the person he is looking for, you cannot fight back against a cop.

Consequences of Fighting Back

If you do physically attack a police officer, even if you were acting in your own defense, you will likely be charged with obstruction of justice at a minimum. You could also face other charges such as:

  • Battery
  • Resisting arrest
  • Assaulting an office

These are all gravely serious charges that can bring a lot of jail time and/or heavy fines. Bottom line – do not fight back against a police officer unless you feel that your life is truly in danger. It is much better to remain compliant during an arrest. If there was misconduct or police brutality involved in your arrest, you can bring a police misconduct case against the officer or law enforcement agency after the fact.