A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Friday, August 18, 2006

Daredevil: Matt Murdock, Felon

Daredevil: The Director's Cut


There was at least one other scene of legal note in Daredevil, and it's one that has absolutely nothing to do with the Theatrical Cut. During Dante Jackson's trial, the prosecution questions Officer McKensie, who found Jackson with the murder weapon. Matt listens to the man's heartbeat, and determines he's telling the truth. (Matt apparently prides himself quite highly on being a human lie detector, believing it's impossible the guy could be lying.)

Later in the movie, Matt confronts Officer McKensie outside a strip club. And he does it not as Daredevil, but as Matt Murdock. Who McKensie immediately recognizes from the courtroom.

And what does Matt do to McKensie? He pushes him a bit, then handcuffs him to the inside of his car. Matt then gets behind the wheel and, while pressing McKensie for information, intentionally drives the vehicle into a taxi and a dumpster in the lot. The final impact throws McKensie's head into the dashboard, bruising him and knocking him out. Matt jumps out of the car, leaving him unconscious, and handcuffed, in the car.

Now assuming the officer doesn't have a soft spot for Matt, there's little reason why he wouldn't press charges against Matt for this. After all, there's a pretty strong likelihood Matt reported his corruption. So what crimes has Matt committed here?

- Assault.
- Assaulting a police officer.
- False imprisonment.
- 3 counts of criminal damage to property (for McKensie's car, the taxi and the dumpster).
- Battery.
- and possibly Carjacking.

Thank goodness he didn't drive out of the parking lot, or else we could add 'Kidnapping' to the list. And he did all of this as Matt Murdock. Completely plainclothes, and with a victim who knew him.

Matt's staring down the barrel of about five felonies there, with a victim who probably has little to lose by making the accusations. Surely the taxi driver, at least, would want some recompense.

And beyond the criminal charges, as well as the potential civil suits, the New York Bar Association probably doesn't look kindly upon its lawyers assaulting police officers (even corrupt ones) in their spare time.

It's this sort of thing that gives "Civil War" its premise. Matt's actions here could fairly easily be grafted onto Daredevil or some other vigilante ero, and they would could then seem more palatable. But here he does it all without the benefit of a costume or a masked identity, and it ends up looking rather felonious. Yet Matt apparently gets off scot-free (just like he did for putting Quesada on the train tracks). This is what Captain America is fighting for?