Wednesday, January 10, 2018

MN: Charges Dropped against Paul Jason Allen in Rochester, Self Defense Cited

Paul Jason Allen was involved in a verbal altercation on 19 May, 2017. He says three men in a truck drove past him while he was crossing a street at the intersection. They say he stood in the street and prevented them from passing, then yelled at them, including something about their mother.

All agree the truck stopped, and the three men exited the vehicle. One of the men grabbed a rake from the truck and chased Allen. Somewhere in the process, Allen produced a knife. Three to one is clear disparity of force, so Allen could be justified in producing a deadly weapon. A rake could qualify as a deadly weapon.

It may not matter if Allen stood in the crosswalk and blocked the truck, or if the truck drove past him in an unsafe manner. What matters is the three men in the truck exited the vehicle in order to escalate what had been a mere verbal altercation. Calling the three men the "victims" was premature on the part of  From 
The three victims said they were in their truck and stopped when they saw the other man crossing the street at 14th Street and 11th Ave NE. The victims said they stopped and were waiting for the man to cross when he stopped in the middle of the crosswalk and started yelling at them. He allegedly yelled "something about their mom", so the three men got out of their truck.
When they got out of the truck they say the suspect, who police have identified as 43-year-old Paul Allen, pulled a knife on them so they backed away. One of the men said he grabbed a rake out of his truck. 
Disparity of force is a concept in the law that allows use of a deadly weapon to defend against others, when the others may not have a weapon. The concept includes multiple attackers, larger, stronger, and younger assailants, and martial arts training/expertise.  Some assailants are a deadly threat because of factors other than their possession of weapons.

The County Attorney appears to understand disparity of force. An important datum is that the truck occupants escalated the situation by stopping and getting out of the truck. From
Allen was accused of 2nd degree assault but that charge has been dropped. Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem says Allen notified the court he was planning to claim self-defense and, after further investigation, it was decided they could not refute that claim beyond a reasonable doubt.
Words are not considered sufficient justification for the use of force, unless they are accompanied by actions that a reasonable person would perceive as a physical threat.

In this case, charges were dropped against Allen, and no charges where brought against the occupants of the truck.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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