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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118570 Find in a Library
Title: Liability in Police Use of Deadly Force
Journal: American Journal of Police  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(1989)  Pages:89-105
Author(s): M M Kaune; C A Tischler
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 17
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article on liability in police use of deadly force distinguishes between a pertinent Federal civil rights suit and a State tort action, reviews the constitutional amendments applicable in a Federal court action, considers the U.S. Supreme Court's posture on the use of deadly force, and discusses the impact of the Tennessee v. Garner decision on the police and later court decisions.
Abstract: Actions brought in Federal court must have proof of a deprivation of constitutional guarantee. Excessive force claims filed in State courts, however, are governed by State tort law. Four constitutional amendments are considered applicable in excessive force suits brought in Federal court. They pertain to the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the guarantee of due process of law, and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. In keeping with democratic ideals and the protection of individual liberty, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that "it is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape." In "Garner," the U.S. Supreme Court stated, "where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force." If a police department establishes a defensible firearms policy, maintains an awareness of judicial precedent, and instills a sense of professionalism in its officers, litigation is not likely to succeed. 65 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Legal liability; State laws
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