Challenges Related to Use of Force By Police Officers

The use of force in the police department remains a prevailing concern in USA United (States& United States, 1982). Due to this, the use of deadly force has led to cases between police and suspected offenders going all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court as a result has altered laws that encircle this arena owing to the decisions made.

Under section 42 of the US constitution 1983, citizens sought and continue to seek civil damages. Not only that, decisions made by the Supreme Court have completely configured the existing criminal statutes and law enforcing protocols.

The police department has formerly found several challenges in the US Supreme Court following its involvement in cases which are linked to use of force against suspected offenders. The officers directly involved were found to have violated the fourth amendment or the policies governing the arrests.

Taking a case involving the use of deadly force, a Tennessee police officer was involved in excessive use of force in 1985 where they responded to a scene of burglary. The officer intercepted the suspected offender who was a juvenile by ordering him to stop running. However, the juvenile on disobeying the police order got shot by the officer which led to his death at the hospital later on.

The event finally led to the landmark case of 1985 which involved the Tennessee and Garner (105 s. ct. 1694) where the Supreme Court reviewed the facts that prevailed. The court ruled that the use of force by police on nonviolent and unarmed felony suspects violated the fourth amendment.

The fourth amendment guarantees US citizens against unreasonable seizure(Ederheimer & Fridell, 2005). The US Supreme Court therefore termed the laws of many states as unconstitutional because of the use of deadly force in such cases. The states involved ended up following the legal directive given by the Supreme Court. Policies governing use of force in apprehension of nonviolent fleeing felony suspects changed from then on.

From the Tennessee case, the state law changed, with the state guiding on the use of deadly force. The law also branched into several statutes which were based on fleeing felon sections. Consequently, more law enforcement agencies ended up developing.

In my opinion, I agree and fully support the Supreme Court’s ruling and legal guidance since it is necessary to both protect the lives of the officers involved and the suspects too. The use of deadly force on nonviolent an unarmed suspects only makes the matters worse. It makes the situation look as if the police officer involved is already subjecting the suspect to retribution.

However, in some special situations, it might be appropriate for police to use force or deadly force on a suspect. For example, if an officer appears in a scene of criminal activity of disorderly conduct and identifies themselves as police but then the unarmed suspect attacks the police officer, the scene may end up requiring the use of deadly force. The attacker may overpower the officer for instance, forcing the officer under the circumstance to pull their gun and shoot the suspect.

As seen from such an incidence, it is also essential to protect the life of the police officer involved as well as the people present at the scene of criminal activity. Law enforcement agencies dictate that there are several instances that the police can use force on suspected offenders. Firstly, if the suspect has the capability and ability to cause bodily harm, secondly, if the suspect has the capacity to kill any officer in the scene and lastly, if the suspect has the opportunity to cause bodily harm to the officers involved. It will then see to it that the use of deadly force by police is executed in the fairest manner.

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