Volume 48, Issue 1 (January 2003)
Attempted Suicide by Cop: A Case Study of Traumatic Brain Injury and the Insanity Defense
Over the years, there have been a number of well-publicized incidents involving persons who seemingly maneuver police officers into shooting them. Such cases, while relatively rare compared with most forms of violence, nevertheless pose difficult challenges to law enforcement agencies. Relatively little is known about persons who engage in suicide by cop incidents. To our knowledge, there has been no published in-depth research on instigators of suicide by cop who survived. In this paper, we present a case study of an individual who engaged in and lived through three separate “attempted suicide by cop” incidents. After describing relevant history as well as events of the most recent incident, we compare the case with the extant literature on suicide by cop and analyze commonalities and differences. Finally, we examine the legal considerations involved, with particular attention devoted to the role the individual's traumatic brain injury played in applying the insanity defense.