1893 – ‘If in the course of arresting it becomes necessary for the citizen to take the life of the officer, the charge against the citizen shall not exceed manslaughter.’ Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306.
1900 – In the historic ruling of John Bad Elk v. U.S., the Supreme Court stated:
“Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”
Although the precedent of this ruling has since been overturned, it was actually stated by the Supreme Court in the year 1900. What are the chances these days you would be indicted of manslaughter if you took the life of an unlawful-law-officer? Maybe you need to have the middle name “Bad.” And the last name “Elk.”