Home Forums Krav Maga Worldwide Forums Law Enforcement & Military Use of force and case law.

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  • #34322
    five04zog
    Member

    Hi all,

    I’m new to the forum but think I have a post that may be interesting to the non-L.E. or criminal justice students with questions about use of force. It seems a lot of people have questions/comments about police use of force.

    A little about me…
    I’ve been in law enforcement for 17 years. I’m a field going LEO, FTO and Defensive tactics instructor for my agency. I’ve been training martial arts (on/off) since I was 16 yrs. old (now 44- I feel old). I’ve studied Kajukenbo, Aikido, Hapkido (1st Dan) and I’ve been training BJJ for the last two years. I’ve just now started looking at Krav Maga and plan to jump in with both feet. It looks like a great system.

    Now back on topic. Every department/agency has a use of force policy/regulations that their officers/agents must follow. These policies will take case law and likely add restrictions or attempt to quantify/break down these case laws into steps/policy (continuum of force) for the officers to follow. This can be unfortunate in some cases and can complicate things for LEO’s in the field.

    The BIG case law in question is Graham v. Connor. Other cases of interest are Tennessee v. Garner and Scott v. Harris. The Supreme Court has established that Graham v. Connor is the umbrella case law that should guide use when we need to use force and help us formulate an “objective test”.

    What is the Objective Test? The Court stated that, “The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” The objective test requires the court to envision a reasonable officer and ask this question: Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances, could such an officer believe that the force was reasonable?

    It should be that simple. Adding color-coded charts and policy in how/when an officer can use a tool on his/her belt is wrong and just hurt’s the officer when they need to make split second dissensions on the street.

    The courts have said (in a nut-shell) that if deadly force is authorized, the method used to cause death should not be the issue. Only that deadly force was authorized (objectively reasonable). For example, if an LEO needs to use deadly force to defend life, should it matter if the bad guy was shot or ran-down by a car? The force only needs to be objectively reasonable.

    I’m lucky that my agency has long since abandoned a continuum of force chart and has adopted the objectively reasonable standard set by the Supreme Court. You can now see how the use of force can be confusing to non-LEO’s. It is made confusing by many police agencies policy. I guess I should have been a fire fighter. Life would have been simpler.

    The courts have made some steps in telling us (LEO’s) how we should/shouldn’t use our Tasers. In Short, and not speaking to a “policy”, the courts say the Taser is not a “lasso” and should not be used to stop or detain a person unless the officer has “reasonable suspicion” of a crime or “probable cause” to make an arrest.

    An officer can’t just Taser a person for being difficult (Adam-Henry) or because the person just refuses to talk with L.E. and attempts to walk away. Remember, if the LEO has a legal/lawful reason to stop (“terry stop”) detain or arrest someone, they can legally use force to stop someone. How that is done needs to be objectively reasonable and within the LEO’s policy.

    I hope this was helpful.

    Stay safe…

    #89592

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    I feel your pain. In the military we had to deal with proportionality and collateral damage. Just because a squirter shot some rifle fire doesn’t necessarily mean you can/should respond with the .50 is what we were told once. I hated dealing with that; the unspoken rule was the force you have available at the time you need it is better than the force that you want being oriented to the time and place after the need is identified.

    Edit to add: I use the bit you have listed in your sig/quote quote in normal conversation a lot. It’s a fantastic example.

    #89596
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    Nothing says love like the “Ma Deuce”.

    #89597
    don
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    A few things I’d like to piggy back onto what Five said:

    1. Videos Never tell the whole story.
    2. Uses of force rarely look “pretty” and just because a use of force “looks bad” doesn’t automatically mean it wasn’t Reasonable.
    3. 99.99% of the time (yes, I’m making that stat up), if a Suspect had simply obeyed lawful orders/commands, reportable force wouldn’t have been used at all
    4. There are “lies, damned lies, and statistics” Mark Twain / Benjamin Disraeli
    5. In order to intelligently discuss a law enforcement use of force, you need All The Facts (the totality of the circumstances) which includes the officer’s (s’) articulation of their use(s) of force.
    6. The media is often biased and often inaccurate in their reporting (worse yet, nowadays, they are often intentionally fomenting)
    7. Force policies and rules of engagement can vary “across town” -across the US, even more.
    8. If a shepherd ties his sheepdogs closely to a tree, declaws them, muzzles them, beats them down when they try to protect the flock, and allows the wolves to lay down with his sheep, giving them preferential treatment over the sheepdogs, sooner or later, bad things will continuously happen and it won’t be the sheepdogs’ fault…

    #89599
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    Totally agree don….

    #89608
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    I like this guy’s video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQl7K_uPZzQ

    #89639
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    quote five04zog:

    You have posted the best link of video. I have watched it and even have shared it on my social profile because it provides the best help in understanding the topic. Thanks

    #89643
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    I have been looking at this Instructor’s videos (Nir Maman, CT-707 Krav Maga). I love his stuff. He rocks…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dTCR4NwKLM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF7Zl7_9siI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOWDGHmN3JY

    #89662
    chaos
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    GRAHAM and the other cases refers to federal court statutory civil rights claims and 4th Amendment considerations. There are state court civil actions sounding in statutory remedies, assault, negligence and other tort claims plus, of course, exposure to criminal liability.

    Some similar standards are bound to be found as defenses in the other actions but, the cited cases are analyzed as to minimal constitutional requirements and the civil rights statute and the other causes of actions have their own applicable and often broader standards of conduct.

    Reference to these particular cases is useful but an insufficient guide when it comes to other forms of civil liability for use of force. situations.

    #89663
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    You’re not wrong….

    I’m a federal officer and teach/train only federal officers. My agencies use of force policy basically only mirrors the case laws I motioned. I indicated that LEO’s must follow local laws, regulations, dept. policy, etc.

    I even stated -“Policies will take case law and likely add restrictions or attempt to quantify/break down these case laws into steps/policy (continuum of force) for the officers to follow.”

    I was not attempting to teach. If that was how you received my post, I’m sorry. I was attempting only to generically reflect to non-LEO’s what an officer/agent my need to think about in a slit second before every use of force contact.

    Let me be clear, I am not a lawyer, am not giving legal advice or lessons in law and am sorry if anyone interpreted my post as such. I will refrain from any future post concerning laws, case law, police policy, etc.

    #89664
    don
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    quote Chaos:

    GRAHAM and the other cases refers to federal court statutory civil rights claims and 4th Amendment considerations. There are state court civil actions sounding in statutory remedies, assault, negligence and other tort claims plus, of course, exposure to criminal liability.

    Some similar standards are bound to be found as defenses in the other actions but, the cited cases are analyzed as to minimal constitutional requirements and the civil rights statute and the other causes of actions have their own applicable and often broader standards of conduct.

    Reference to these particular cases is useful but an insufficient guide when it comes to other forms of civil liability for use of force. situations.

    1. And You are…?
    2. If You were going to give a brief readers digest explanation of LE use of force to laymen, specifically what legal standing (i.e. federal laws, case laws, state laws, department policies) would You reference in order to be “sufficient”?

    #89666
    five04zog
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    Hi all,

    I just said I wouldn’t post legal stuff again and I shouldn’t. I just need to finish my first post. Again I’m not a lawyer. I’m an FTO and DT instructor. I teach federal LEO’s from my agency and nothing more. I know and teach what I learned at FLETC. In a nut shell…

    The US Supreme Court case Graham v. Connor (1989) is considered the umbrella case that covers use of force and yes it is a 4th amendment case. Using force to arrest someone is a 4th amendment issue.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    to arrest someone is a seizure in the eyes of the law.

    See below links for more info.

    https://www.fletc.gov/sites/default/files/PartIGrahamvConnor.pdf

    https://www.fletc.gov/sites/default/files/PartIIIDeadlyForce-TennvGarner.pdf

    https://www.fletc.gov/sites/default/files/PartIVDeadlyForceScottvHarris.pdf

    1. We have the U.S. Constitution….

    2. The U.S. Supreme Court makes case law…

    3. We have Federal Circuit court of Appeals (case law) I’m in the 9th Circuit (yuck)…

    4. We have Federal laws & regulations

    5. States have State Constitutions…

    6. States make case law & have State laws/ regulations

    7. Law enforcement agencies have policy, regulations, etc.

    8. The field going LEO needs to interpret all this in a split second in the field. This was my point.

    #89692
    don
    Member

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    quote Don:

    1. And You are…?
    2. If You were going to give a brief readers digest explanation of LE use of force to laymen, specifically what legal standing (i.e. federal laws, case laws, state laws, department policies) would You reference in order to be “sufficient”?

    Bueller? Bueller?

    #89856
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Re: Use of force and case law.

    What does that means?

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