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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Resist/Obstruct A Police Officer- A Life or Death Decision

Sometimes you read about a pending criminal case in the news and you can't help but say- you can't be serious. I read this story on the Simple Justice blog and my hands flew to my head in frustration. Ryan Daniel Snodgrass, a raft guide in Denver, Colorado was arrested resisting and obstructing a police investigation after jumping into the water to save a 13 year old girl who had fallen out of his boat. The girl had been missing for over 45 minutes when the police told Snodgrass that he was interfering with an official police investigation. According to the Denver Post article, Snodgrass did not wait for the police to set up ropes, rafts and rescuers. He jumped into the water, swam over to the girl and rescued her. Fortunately, Snodgrass' boss applauded his employee's efforts-
To leave a patient on the side of a river while you get your gear out of the car and set up a rescue system you read about in a book, is simply not good policy....Making contact immediately with your victim is essential. It's not about who is in charge. It's about the safety of a 13 year old girl. You are going to do everything in your power to insure the safety of your guest, and if that means in Idaho Springs you get arrested, well I guess we'll get arrested.

The police arrested this young man for doing what many would view as a heroic act. I do hope the District Attorney in this County will do the right thing and dismiss this case. Otherwise, there will be a line of criminal defense lawyers lined up to take this resisting and obstructing a police investigation case to jury trial. Let 12 members of the Publish Post community hear this case and send a message that society still applauds selfless acts. What if he had not jumped to save the girl and the girl ended up drowning. Sometimes the decision to resist or obstruct a police officer become a life or death decision.

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posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


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