Sunday, April 6, 2014

Deadly Force

The use of deadly force in the United States is governed by Tennessee versus Garner which was decided by the US Supreme Court in 1985.  It actually made the circumstances more restrictive to use deadly force against another.   It eliminated the fleeing felon rule.  Officers used to be able to shoot a fleeing felon, even if they were not particularly dangerous.

To use deadly force against another person you generally must reasonably believe that the person poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself or another person.  You are not required to retreat from an attack if you are performing your duty.  Of course, retreat may be a valid tactical option, but it is not a legal requirement.

Part of the key is careful observation of what happens.  Then report what you observed.  If the suspect fails to follow your verbal commands to stop, or put their hands up, be sure to write those warning signs in your report.  Anything the suspects says, does, holds, that provides you with your reasonable belief that the suspect was a threat needs to go into your report; that's what the SGT Says.

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