Here are some basics to help people better understand the intricacies. If other LEO's have info to add / correct please do so.
Law Enforcement Use of Force / Subject Resistance Control Continuum - The Basics
Law Enforcement use of force / subject resistance control is based on several factors -
* - The level of resistance encountered.
* - The level of force used to overcome resistance.
There are different diagrams used by departments and on the outside they look different. From a "sliding scale" going from low to high to an
overlapping bubble system. The diagram below is generic but gives you an idea of the breakdown.
Some things to note about use of force -
* - An officer does NOT have to start at the bottom and work their way through each level. They may enter at any level that the resistance being
encountered is at.
* - Unlike civilians law enforcement has what can be described as a 1+ advantage. This means law enforcement is allowed to lawfully raise their level
of force to overcome the level of resistance encountered.
* - The universal standard that the Supreme Court established when reviewing an officers use of force is "what did the officer perceive at the time
force was used". 20/20 hindsight is not permissible when reviewing a use of force.
* - When reviewing any use of force the term "Totality of Circumstances" is key.
* - The Supreme Court requires Officers use the least amount of force to overcome the resistance and it also requires LEO's deescalate their use of
force at the earliest possible moment.
Totality of Circumstances
When all the factors surrounding an event are taken into account.
I see a lot of people focus on only one aspect of police incidents while ignoring everything leading up to it. Totality of Circumstances requires all
relevant info / actions leading up to an event be taken into account along with the incident itself.
This can include but is not limited to -
* - Threats suspects have made.
* - Comments suspects make (I wont be taken alive / I am a black belt in Karate / etc)
* - Prior criminal history if known to the officer.
* - Indicator status of the suspect (IE known to be armed / known to fight with law enforcement / etc).
* - Size disparity between suspect and officer.
* - Number of officers present (the more officers the greater the justification required on use of force).
* - Number of suspects present (the more suspects the lower the justification required on use of force).
Investigation into use of force
If a civilian shoots an individual their is a criminal investigation. Miranda Rights involved.
If a law enforcement officer shoots a person there are 3 investigations.
* - Internal Affairs - Did the officer follow all departmental policies / guidelines / orders issued. Because LEO's operate in a command structure we
can be ordered to answer questions. We are read our Garrity Rights -
Garrity rights protect a police officer from incriminating himself. An officer being questioned concerning actions that might lead to a criminal
prosecution can invoke these rights. Once he does so, whatever he says will be used only for an internal investigation or administrative purposes, not
IA investigations operate on a reverse of the normal presumed innocent. If we refuse to cooperate with an IA investigation we
are considered guilty till proven innocent.
* - Criminal Investigation - Did the officers actions break any laws and was the use of force justified under the law. Miranda Rights apply just like
* - Civil Rights Investigation - 42 USC 1983 governs persons acting under color of law and their actions. When a person is shot by police its
considered a seizure under the 4th amendment (thats just 1 example). This is usually civil and can be investigated by the FBI. The goal is to
determine if an officers action violated the civil / constitutional rights of a suspect / person.
Because of the conditions police operate under - people lying to law enforcement / people breaking the law / armed individuals / split second decision
making / lack of complete information / etc - law enforcement is allowed a certain amount of leeway to compensate. Its why we review situations
individually as opposed to one large grouping. 1 incident of an officer involved shooting can be completely different to another officer involved
What weapons are considered deadly weapons
Most people view only guns as a lethal weapon. Some think it covers only guns and knives. In general the second list, gun and knives, are the accepted
view. However, any item and the manner the item is used can be considered a deadly weapon. This goes along with totality of circumstances as well.
While most people don't think about it, a handcuff can be considered a deadly weapon. An unsecured cuff link can penetrate a human skull. A mag light
can be used as a blunt instrument. OC Spray / Tasers can be used to incapacitate an officer, exposing his duty weapon.
Almost any item, in the hands of a person wanting to inflict harm, can be considered a deadly weapon based on totality of circumstances.
I will leave it here but if anyone has questions ask. If any LEO's have info to add or see a mistake let me know.
and yes, hesitation can kill an officer.
edit on 19-7-2016 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)