What Constitutes "Excessive Force" for Police?

Posted By The Russell Friedman Law Group, LLP || 11-May-2017

Police have the authority to use force where necessary in order to diffuse a situation and keep themselves and other people safe. However, there are times when police officers overstep their bounds and use more force than is warranted to subdue a suspect or handle a prisoner. When this happens, it is referred to as “excessive force” or “police brutality.”

The reasonable search and seizure requirement of the Fourth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment are Constitutional protections granted to every person. This covers not only the use of deadly force but also any unreasonable use of force that results in injury. But where is the line drawn between an appropriate use of force and excessive force?

There is no concrete definition of “excessive force” since each case is different. Indeed, “excessive” has different meanings in different jurisdictions. The level of force appropriate for a given situation is essentially a judgment call made by individual officers who are often in the “heat of the chase” when they are making these decisions. In most cases, officers are expected to use the minimum amount of force required to achieve a safe and effective outcome, but this doesn’t always happen.

Examples of excessive force by police may include:

  • Punching or kicking a suspect while he or she is down
  • Shooting an unarmed suspect
  • Using a choke hold to make an arrest

Lethal force is only justified if a suspect poses a lethal threat to officers or other people.

Consult a Police Brutality Attorney in New York & New Jersey

If you have been injured by police and believe that you are a victim of excessive force, you should consult with a New York police brutality lawyer at The Russel Friedman Law Group, LLP about your legal rights and options. Our experienced lawyers are prepared to investigate your case to determine if the actions of law enforcement exceeded the bounds of reason. We are here to protect your best interests and help you achieve a favorable resolution to your case.

Call our firm today to request a free consultation: (855) 465-4622. We serve clients in New York and New Jersey.

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