Police Discretion

1244 Words5 Pages
Police Discretion
Jocelyn Golphin
University of the District of Columbia
Criminal Justice System
2/21/2014

Golphin 2 Police discretion is a very important approach in matters concerning criminal justice. There has been a consistent problem between enforcing the law and the spirit of the law. Discretion in the broader sense can be defined as the individual’s ability to make a decision basing on the principle of courses of the action. During training, police officers are given different possible scenarios that they may experience while on duty. However, the situations presented are not exact and the police come face to face with more riveting situations that demand their personal choices. The
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The disadvantages of police discretion mostly lie in the abuse of the privileges they have in regard to exercising the discretion power. Discretion has been seen as inviting partiality in dealing with the citizens as well as creating an opportunity for corruption. Others have debated that during discretion, the police don’t have the slightest idea about what could be the consequences of their actions (Peak, 2009). Police discretion is a potential tool for abuse that could possibly result into potential needless death and/or injury. A police officers choice may be influenced by personal factors that may determine an irrational decision. For example; In the 2005 shooting, that occurred on 126th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues, the suspect, Richard Gooding, ignored officers’ orders to drop his gun and began shooting. Five officers returned fire, fatally injuring Mr. Gooding and wounding Ms. Johnson in the right elbow. Garnold M. King was shot in the lower back; he has settled his lawsuit with the city.
Two officers said they did not look to see if there were bystanders on the street while they were shooting; one of those officers said he did not look to see if there were bystanders until after the shooting was over, Ms. Johnson’s lawyer, Barry A. Gutterman, told the judges — echoing those officers’ pretrial depositions. At one point in the hearing, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman questioned Susan

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