There are times when it is understandable that the police have to use force on someone because of their actions or because others are in danger. However, there are many instances in which police officers misuse their powers.Interestingly, there is no universally accepted definition for the use of force. It is up to the discretion of the authorities to determine how much force is acceptable in any given situation.
The use of force is acceptable when it is necessary. For instance, it is accepted when the officer has to protect themselves. Is also acceptable in a situation where they have to defend another person or a group.
However, it is only reasonable to use force until the danger is subdued. If you have heard the phrase “don’t kick a man when he is down,” this could apply in cases of police brutality. If someone has already surrendered or cannot fight back, then they should not continue to be under attack by the police.
The context of the situation counts. Since no two situations are identical, every case has to be handled individually. It is an officer’s job to respond to trouble quickly. Sometimes, they make mistakes believing that they are in danger or that others are in danger. However, situational awareness is necessary. Officers must be trained to know when a crisis is imminent and when to start or stop using force.
By law, how much force can officers use?
The law states that police officers should only use as much force as is necessary to make an arrest, protect themselves or others, or to mitigate an incident. Police force starts at a basic verbal command or physical restraint. Next, there is the use of less-lethal force. Finally, in only the most severe cases, an officer can use lethal force.
When is force excessive?
There has been a growing issue of media coverage of cases involving excessive force. It is hard to determine how often excessive force is used, but it is estimated that there are around 6.6 complaints per 100 sworn officers. Excessive force for those individuals may be taking what should be a verbal altercation to a physical point or using lethal force when non-lethal force would work to resolve the situation.
If you are a victim of excessive force and police brutality, know your rights. It is unfair to be treated this way, and you may have options moving forward.