Use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement Research Papers
(Image by papermasters.com) Permission Details DMCA
Reading the majority opinion in Garner is a bracing experience. Justice White’s extended discussion of the common law standard of police use of force makes clear on many levels that he did not merely want to replace the common law rule: he wanted to bury it. That police could use any amount of force, including deadly force, to “seize” a fleeing felon—the common law rule which at issue in Garner—was not only constitutionally infirm, it made little sense as a policy matter. When, if ever, police are justified in using deadly force against a suspect. How do we decide when a police officer can not only use force, but shoot at a suspect--even shoot to kill? When is a police killing a justifiable homicide, and when is it just a homicide? One place to start in drawing the line between justified and unjustified uses of deadly force is the Supreme Court's 1985 opinion in Tennessee v. Garner.