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Last year, a Taiwanese police officer Ye Ji fired three shots in the leg of a wanted criminal Luo Wen-chang after Luo reversed the car in an attempt to escape. Luo later died from the injuries. On December 28, the supreme court ruled that Ye had overstepped his bounds and was sentenced six months in jail, which could be substituted with a fine of NT$180,000 (approximately US$5,500).

Ye Yu-lan, former professor at the Central Police University criticized that the unfair judges and prosecutors have forced the police to not take action. She wonders who else would be willing to protect the civilians in the future.

Liberty Times reports, Ye Ji pointed out that Luo sped up the car and tried to escape. Ye fired one shot in the air, but Luo refused to give in. Ye said that he was forced to shoot Luo in his legs in order to stop Luo from reversing the car to hit him and run away. He didn’t expect that Luo would die from the injuries.

Ye’s lawyer stresses that Ye has no criminal records and is a responsible, hardworking police officer. On the other hand, Luo not only had numerous criminal records, he was also a criminal on the run. Moreover, Luo even had records of hitting police with cars. Ye did not have intentions to kill Luo, and he had legally used the gun. Ye’s lawyer requested that Ye should be acquitted.

Apple Daily reports, however, the judge determined that Ye was in no immediate danger at the moment according to the surveillance camera. The law demands police officers can only use guns under emergencies if the criminals refuse to be arrested or run away. The judge said that Ye could have fired at the tires to stop Luo from fleeing, and stressed that there was no need to shoot the person.

Other colleagues could not accept the verdict, and they believed this would harm the morale of the other police officers. Some police officers say that in the future they have to protect themselves first while being on duty, because this country cannot protect them.

Police Reform Association Spokesman Ma Zai-qin criticizes that the judge believed Luo did not mean to hit the police officer by reversing his car, meaning that the criminals are more rational than the police and will always be careful for the safety of the people around when they are on the run. Ma asks if the police should not chase after criminals and just let them escape in the future?

As for Ye’s fine, the police station that Ye works at stresses that they will ask the colleagues to donate the money and share the penalty together. They ensured Ye that he would not need to bear the fine alone.

China Times reports, Ye Yu-lan notes that sorrow of the police comes from the lack of legal protections as well as the judges who fail to understand the dilemma police are suffering from, but still hold the rights of making the ultimate decision. As in Ye Ji’s case, the judge overlooked the danger of the car, bluntly believed that reversing the car was for escape rather than attack, and the judge did not take the testimony of the gunshot trajectory expert either.

Ye Yu-lan suggests that a “Police Equipment Evaluation Committee" should be established, and every time police officers fire their guns in the future, a thorough evaluation report should be provided as fair and convincing evidence.

Ye Yu-lan also worries that when judges make such an unfair ruling the people still choose to remain silence and the police are going to be more reluctant in taking positive reactions to arrest criminals. This way the villains will have nothing to fear.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang