State v. Westlund

In State v. Westlund, 13 Wn. App. 460, 536 P.2d 20, 24-25 (Wash. Ct. App. 1975), the court considered whether to adopt a rule that a suspect could be justified in resisting arrest if he reasonably but mistakenly believed he was about to be seriously injured by police use of excessive force. Id. The court rejected this test, holding instead that resistance is justified only if the suspect was "actually about to be seriously injured" by excessive force. Id. The court recognized that where a person resists arrest, "the situation can degenerate to the point that what should have been a simple lawful arrest leads to serious injury or death to the arrestee, the police or innocent bystanders." Id. at 25. The court concluded that an actual-circumstances standard is necessary to protect the arrestee, bystanders, and police officers. Id.