Use of Force

Topics: Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Police, Police brutality Pages: 3 (974 words) Published: January 10, 2011
Use of Force

Use of Force
Serena R. Smith
Grand Canyon University
JUS 515
Use of Force

Use of Force
One night, a small-town patrol officer stops a car driven by two teenagers. The officer believes that one of them might be responsible for a string of recent burglaries. The teens are questioned, and the officer becomes angry at their responses. Over the objections of the teenagers, both teens are pulled out of the car and shoved around a little. They are both told that they are under arrest and the officer begins to place handcuffs on them. Both fight back and both are beaten badly (Bruno, 2010). The question is what legal recourse is available to the families of the teens if any?

Let me first start by discussing the use of force by law enforcement. Every day, law enforcement officers face danger while carrying out their responsibilities. When dealing with a dangerous-or-unpredictable-situation, police officers usually have very little time to assess it and determine the proper response (Use of Force, 2010). The United States Commission on Civil Rights has stated “…in diffusing situations, apprehending alleged criminals, and protecting themselves and others, officers are legally entitled to use appropriate means, including force” (Use of Force, 2010). The IACP or International Association Chiefs of Police defines the use of force as “the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” The IACP also identified five components of force: physical, chemical, electronic, impact, and firearm (Use of Force, 2010). So, the use of force in essence is the necessary amount of force used by law enforcement to prevent crime or apprehend an individual. When the use of force is abused it can be known as excessive force. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics or (BJS) in Data Collection on Police Use of Force, states that “…legal test of excessive force…is whether the police officer reasonably believed that such force was...

References: Bruno, Lisa (2010) Justice 515 Class Syllabus pp 2. Retrieved from on 11-18-2010.
Fourth Amendment. (2010) Retrieved from
Use of Force. (2010). Retrieved from on 11-23-10.
Rodney King (2010). Retrieved from
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