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NCJ Number: NCJ 185998     Find in a Library
Title: Police Use of Deadly Force: Research and Reform (From Criminal Justice System: Politics and Policies, Seventh Edition, P 134-149, 1998, George F. Cole and Marc G. Gertz, eds. -- See NCJ-185991)
Author(s): James J. Fyfe
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 16
  Annotation: Police use of deadly force first became a major public issue in the 1960's when many urban riots were precipitated by police killings of citizens; since then, police departments have made significant reforms in their policies regarding the use of deadly force and the U.S. Supreme Court in Tennessee v. Garner voided the rule existing in about half the States that allowed the use of deadly force to apprehend unarmed, non-violent, fleeing felony suspects.
Abstract: In the absence of legal and administrative controls on police use of deadly force, police shooting discretion was generally limited only by State criminal statutes or by case law defining justifiable homicide. These laws, however, had several inadequacies, and debates about the merits of fleeing felon laws came to an abrupt end in 1985 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tennessee v. Garner that Tennessee's statute violated fourth amendment guarantees against unreasonable seizure when applied against unarmed, non-dangerous, fleeing suspects. Because this case eliminated some of the arguments about the breadth of deadly force statutes but did not ameliorate a second a more general limitation of law in describing police shooting discretion, the author believes police departments should promulgate restrictive deadly force policies. Variables associated with why some police departments are more likely than others to use deadly force are considered, with environmental and internal organizational explanations offered. 43 references, 4 notes, and 2 tables
Main Term(s): Police use of deadly force
Index Term(s): Police discretion ; Police legal limitations ; State laws ; Police reform ; US Supreme Court decisions ; Police policies and procedures ; Justifiable homicide
Sale Source: Wadsworth Publishing Co
Ten Davis Drive
Belmont, CA 94002
United States of America
Publisher URL: 
Type: Collected Work
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: From James J. Fyfe, "Police Use of Deadly Force: Research and Reform," Justice Quarterly 5 (June 1988), pp. 165-166, 168-170, 171-174, 180-189, 199-205.
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