I'm sure we've all heard of the fiasco regarding the passenger who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane, to the point where he was knocked nearly unconscious and dragged down the plane by airport security. For those who don't know about this yet, here's the video of the event: Now this brings up an interesting question. If you believe you are being treated unfairly by any kind of law enforcement, or experience violence from an officer, are you allowed to physically defend yourself? For example, let's say for example that when the security guards grabbed that passenger, and the passenger lashed out against them, stopping their advance, what would happen? If it went to court would the passenger have had reasonable grounds to defend themselves? Of course I know it depends on the situation, but if a law enforcement officer or security guard attacked you, could you legally defend yourself from them? EDIT: As a side note, I have a friend who is ex-military and suffers from PTSD, to the point where if someone lays a hand on him in a threatening way he will instinctively strike them without warning. It's a completely reflexive action that he has very little control over. I can imagine him being that passenger, and the moment the security guards touched him he would knock them down. How would the courts treat that kind of scenario?