In light of the recent spate of police-involved homicides of suspects who may or may not have put the lives of the police involved in fear for their safety and well-being, this paper seeks to examine the use of deadly force by police officers in the line of duty. The training involved in using one’s service weapon in situations that call for a determination of the use of force will be explored, as will the rules, regulations, and extenuating circumstances that lead to the firing of a service weapon in the line of duty, resulting in the death of a suspect. The Supreme Court cases that have led to and/or upheld laws allowing a broader interpretation of what is considered justifiable use of deadly force will be briefly examined. Additionally, the use of non-lethal weapons, such as Tasers, by police forces and how the availability of these weapons influences the rate of deadly force will be inspected. Finally, an elucidation of the various perceptions of the general public of the police after use of deadly force is used within their communities will be addressed.
Police brutality is seen as a real problem in America today. What people do not seem to realize is that the police carry a massive burden each day. The work that officers do has the potential to be very demanding and sometimes involves dangerous situations. In these situations the officers are in the position where they may be required to use force to gain control. The continuum of force dictates the level that is most appropriate for the situation. Most people do not realize that is not the officers job the meet the force. However, it is their job to overcome the force. Police departments have very strict standard operating procedures about officer use force and how force is applied. With this paper, I will attempt to explain the continuum of force, police discretion, and why the police can do some of the things they do.
The use of force is without a doubt an important aspect in policing. The decision to utilize any type of force comes from a multitude of recourses; department policies, training, situational variables and ethical systems. There are three major categories in which an officers use of force is categorized under; justifiable, excessive and deadly; with a thin line between justifiable and excessive. Cases where excessive force has been used, has lead to injuries, deaths, civil damages, officers convicted and sentenced to jail and police chiefs and elected officials being removed from office (Fyfe, 1988). It is an officer`s discretion in determining when the use of force is justifiable.
Force that police tend to use on subjects that pose a threat has become an escalating issue in society today as we know it. Sometimes the public gets the notion that the police abuse their authority and use dangerous
Police brutatlity infleucnes its victims, as well as can undermine the group 's trust in it 's police force. Cops are given a extended range of scope in playing out their obligations. Since they are required to ensure society general safety and face conceivably brutal people, they can legitmatley utilize physical, and even fatal constrain in specific situations (Pierce, 1986, p. 52). Notwithstanding, and officer who utilizes extreme force when it is not called for, or important to play out his or her employment, may go too far into police
Use of force is the effort used by a police officer to force compliance of a suspect who is not willing to submit. The basic presumption is that police officers should not use force that is more than necessary to make an arrest or protect themselves and the public from danger. There a several factor to take into consideration in determining if the use of force is necessary. Some of these factors are the location of the encounter and the mental capabilities of the subject. Although there is an established guidelines for officers to determine whether it is necessary to use force and the amount that is appropriate, there are situations
Whenever a law enforcement officer places an individual under arrest or is involved in a deadly force scenario the officer has used some degree of force. The incidents where an office has to make a split second decision and use physical force to control a situation is known as “Use of Force.” The use of force varies as situations present themselves to the officer and they must decide what level of force is necessary to control the situation. Often the use of force is subject to much debate and not a year goes by without some media coverage of some law enforcement officer accused of using excessive force. In dozens of studies of police use of force there is no single,
The media has scrutinized the use of force even more recently. Recordings of officers using force (weather excessive or not) become uploaded to the web and many individuals quickly jump to conclusions. Police use of “force” is up to the discretion of each individual police officer, and with each action a multitude of consequences can occur. The public often gets enraged after a court justifies the use of force, but often individuals do not have the full facts or understand how the justice system works. The outcomes of some use of force cases, many individuals are asking for transparency of agencies. Policy makers are often quick to react to satisfy the public by changing police policy.
Results from this study suggest that when people, such as police officers, are given the authority to use whatever force deemed necessary by an authority such as the police department, they feel justified using their “power” however they feel. David Lester conducted a study in which he found police officers attain an “expectation of harm” through their schooling at police academies (Lester 186). Lester found “shifts in…attitudes during both academy training and the period of working” (Lester 186) to officers being less willing to admit to the existence of police brutality. It seems that the departments do not see the occurrences as brutal, but as self-defense.
When debating the issue of police use of force, the issue of what actions constitute too much force must also be addressed. Another concern is the possibility of corruption amount officers. When given such great power, the probability of corruption is high. Officers generally do not start out as corrupt, but years of work on the force can create animosity between officers and suspects and lead them to decide to use force more quickly (McEwen, 1996). Many times, officers patrol the streets alone which creates the opportunity for potential abuse of power (McEwen, 1996). Although police officers need to be permitted to exercise some discretion, they also need limits and guidelines to follow when using their powers of discretion (Manning, 1997). The decision to use force should not be taken lightly in that citizen’s lives are at stake. Police should be allowed discretion in decisions to use force; however, this discretion should be limited. In several cases in Arizona, officers have used deadly means of force. In all cases, the officers
The Supreme Court has stated that the calculus of the propriety of an officer’s use of force must include the fact that officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving. Officers who use force in the street are judged under the Objective Reasonableness
Police officers are faced with a wide variety of threatening situations on the job every day, they go through an intensive training at the academy to prepare them for the safety keeping job they have. The use of force may or may not be a significant predicament but it should be viewed by the community as well as the police. Often police officers find
An integral training of today’s police officers duties is the physical skill of the application of use of force. This is needed skill requirement to detain and arrest a person who has committed a crime and resisting. Police officers must be trained to use force properly when the skill is required on a subject who is resisting police officers efforts to place them under arrest. This skill has the potential for the officer to exceed the needed amount of force to place them under arrest that can lead to civil suits alleging the officer use of excessive force. Police use of force is a controversial topic with not only the community as well as leadership in the department. Concerns about excessive and unnecessary uses of force continue to require the researcher to locate what indicators police officers react to when the application of using force or threaten to use force.
Police behavior plays a gigantic role in whether or not an officer will be willing to use excessive force against a suspect such as their background, training, morals, and composer in stressful situations. In Worden’s article he explains three theories about police behavior that comprise of existing research on police behavior and they’re training. These are sociological, psychological, and organizational theory. He explains sociological theory as the premise that police behavior is
According to theguardian.com, 634 people have been killed so far in 2015 by police officers or while in custody (theguardian.com, 2015). Years of good policing practices and community trust can be jeopardized by a single act of, or perception of, the excessive use of force (EUF) by police (www.justice.gov, 2015 ). Police deal with difficult people and situations on a daily basis, one of the biggest complaints from citizens is that excessive and sometimes unnecessary force is used by police officers during arrests. In the wake of past claims of police brutality such as Rodney King and more recently publicized victims like Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown, I will use the functionalist perspective to determine if giving police the liberty to exercise the force they deem necessary per arrest situation is effective or if stricter guidelines for the use of force and training is needed to deal with citizens. I believe most citizens exert some type of resistive behavior when they feel they are being unlawfully arrested. I will investigate separate claims of excessive force use by police against citizens in America. I will also look at other countries’ police brutality complaints to determine if the issue lies mainly in America or if it is a global issue. I will use the inductive research method as well as qualitative research such as present and historical data, past journals, court cases, news publications, and statistical data to conclude my findings.