Crim C175 Lecture 6 Week 6 5/9/2017 3:54:00 AM
• Police are so afraid that they are going to be prosecuted for
enforcing the law that they’ve fallen back on enforcement, and as a
result, crime has gone up and public safety has deteriorated
What circumstances involve police being able to shoot at someone?
Usually, the law is so weighted in favor of the police officer that it’s near
impossible to find wrongdoing
• Come up with a multiple choice question
Use of Force Severity Scale (kind of a 10 point scale) (how we measure
o Verbal commands
▪ Police would probably not ask where you are going
unless it’s of governmental interest
o Hands (non-strike)
o Rubber bullets
o Head strike (massive object or projectile)
Force escalates very, very quickly General Facts
o Presumably rare but prevalence unknown
o Policing is unobserved
o Officers may downplay or not report
o Citizens may not report or may exaggerate
o Most use of force at lower end of scale
o Most use of force occurs during arrests
o “Split-second syndrome”
▪ something happens very, very quickly; training takes
over; result may be good or bad
o explanation or excuse?
▪ It’s important to try to always be in control
Use of Force Case Law
• Legal Standard
o Fourth Amendment "reasonableness"
o Perspective of “reasonable” PO on-site
o Allowance for split-second calculus
o Must comport with law, precedents
• Tennessee v. Garner
o PO may use deadly force against unarmed suspect if probable
cause that suspect poses significant threat of death or serious
physical injury to PO or others.
• Graham v. Conner
o Objective “reasonableness” standard applies to claim that POs
used excessive force in stop, arrest, or other “seizure” of
LAPD Use of Force Policy
o Defense of officers, others
o Arrest or detention o Prevent escape
o Overcome resistance
o “Objectively reasonable” per Graham
o Seriousness of crime
o Level of resistance
o Threat to suspect, officers, public
o Potential for injury to officers, suspect, public
o Presence of weapons
o Relative officer-suspect physical attributes
Female officers are less likely to produce angry response
Tennessee v. Garner (1985)
• Two POs answer burglary call, see someone run away. POs see
that 15 year-old Garner is unarmed. POs shout “halt” but Garner
begins to climb a fence. Since Garner would escape if he made it
over the fence, one PO shoots, killing Garner. Items taken in the
burglary are found on Garner’s person.
• Tennessee laws allow use of deadly force against fleeing suspects.
U.S. District Court finds that the Tennessee law is Constitutional.
• SCOTUS reverses on 4 Amendment grounds: POs had no reason
to think that Garner was armed or dangerous. O’Conner dissents.
Graham v. Connor (1989)
• Friend drives diabetic Graham to store to buy orange j