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NCJ Number: 126288 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Force (From Briefs of 100 Leading Cases in Law Enforcement, P 129-133, 1991, Rolando V. del Carmen, Jeffery T. Walker -- See NCJ-126275)
Author(s): R V del Carmen; J T Walker
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Anderson Publishing Co
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sale Source: Anderson Publishing Co
Publicity Director
2035 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Supreme Court decisions concerning use of force are analyzed for their significance to law enforcement.
Abstract: Deadly force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others, according to the case Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). In addition, when feasible, the suspect must first be warned. State laws and departmental rules can set narrower limits on the use of force, but broader limits are unconstitutional. In another case, Graham v. Connor, 109 S.Ct. 1865 (1989), the Court determined that police officers may be held liable under the Constitution for using excessive force. Such liability must be judged under the fourth amendment's "objective reasonableness" standard, rather than under a "substantive due process" standard. This case gives police officers a "break" in civil liability cases involving the use of force. It recognizes that police officers often make split second judgments in situations that involve their own lives and must, therefore, be judged in the context of a "reasonable officer at the scene."
Main Term(s): Lawful use of force
Index Term(s): Police legal limitations; Police responsibilities; US Supreme Court decisions
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