Chapter 15-Use of force Flashcards Preview

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two types of force

non-deadly and deadly force


deadly force

likely to produce death or serious bodily injury


deadly force cases, safest rule is

follow department policy strictly


non-deadly force cases, the rule is

use only reasonable force, meaning only as much force as is needed to accomplish a legitimate goal.


regardless of circumstances, the rule is that police must never

use punitive force


Tennessee v Garner, 1985

Court held police may not use deadly force to prevent the escape of a suspect unless it is necessary and officer has probable cause to believe that suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to officer or others


Graham v Conner, 1989

set the liability in police use of excessive force cases.


Court held that the test for liability under Section 1983 cases is

objective reasonableness.
rather than substantive due process.


objective reasonableness

judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.


Suspect must first be warned when



police may be held liable under the Constitution for using excessive force. The test is liability is "objective reasonableness"

Graham v Conner


The old "substantive due process" test used by many courts prior to Graham, required the courts to consider whether the officer acted in

Good faith or maliciously and sadistically for purpose of causing harm


police attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the 4th, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death

Scott v Harris, 2007
scott performed a pit manuveur to end a high speed chase that was dangerous for citizens. Harris lost control of his car and wrecked. Harris badly injured and is a quadriplegic.
no violations of Constitution, using deadly force to stop a chase.


Court argued that it is reasonable for officers to use deadly force to prevent harm to innocent bystanders, even if such use of deadly force puts the fleeing motorist at serious risk to injury or death.

Harris case
officers are not civilly liable under federal law.


determining the reasonalbeness of the manner in which a seizure is effected

must balance the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's 4th interest against the importance of the governmental interest alleged to justify the intrusion.
Case is significant for officers because it affords them protection from civil liability under Title III