Deadly force is used when a police officer feels threatened by the suspect. It is the last means necessary when the situation takes a wrong turn. The issue is how often it is used when not even needed. According to research a review of findings from police psychology and force science on use of force and the psychology of deadly force encounters and justification of police officers to determine how dangerous, lethal force is and if it's even necessary (Miller). Dr. Laurence Miller, a clinical and forensic psychologist and law enforcement educator and trainer say the main issue is how the public perceives deadly force and how it's relevant to excessive power (p. 1, par. 2, Miller). He nuances a clear picture of the different aspects of deadly force use and the encounters depending on race- a pre-primed suspicion, bullet count, deadly force spiral, and enforcement culture. It all depends on the situation and what the suspect is presenting at the time. The rationale behind a police officer pulling out a gun is a scare tactic, but it is not necessary and should not be used unless in extreme measures and police officers are trained to sense the extremes. Miller says, To prevent a dangerous suspect from killing or injuring someone else, the primary goal is not to wound the assailant, or even kill him, but to stop him (p. 2, par. 4, Miller). It is the primary job of a police officer but situations happen, and it is perceived differently by the public.
Currently, the use of body cameras has been a great way to view every police officers footsteps. Body cameras were meant to help prevent excessive force by police officers and to see if anything would change. After an eighteen-month study of 2,000 police officers, the results showed almost no effect on officer behavior (p. 2, par. 1, Ripley and Timothy). The benefit of the body cameras was to prove more accurate investigations, better training, create an independent record of police shooting and more encounters with the public (p. 2, par. 3-5. Ripley and Timothy).
According to a study in Rialto, California in 2012 officers wore body cameras and showed half as many uses of force incidents and the number of complaints significantly reduced. Depending on the city, excessive force may be more prawn because it will have more of an impact on police officer mentality. Officers in more busy towns encounter more situations with civilians and don't even pay attention to the camera on their body, leading them to no change and little effect. Professor Harris said, "We were sold on the idea that these cameras were going to bring a brand-new accountability to policing, and that isn't entirely what happened" (p. 5, par. 4, Ripley and Timothy). Contrary to the hope that cameras would make a difference, it did not affect, and the test was not successful.
The issue of police engagement patterns has caused the city of Chicago to have a reform plan. These problems include: shooting fleeing suspects, shooting at vehicles, using Tasers on people who show no threat and using force to retaliate and punish people (p. 1, par. 3, Hanna and Park, 2017). One case had three police officers chase the suspect and later leading to firing 45 rounds and 28 rifles rounds (Hanna and Park). There were no evidence gunshots on the defendant, and the police officer was justified. The department is not reprimanding their officers enough, and this is one reason why deadly force incidents occur over and over again. More legal measures need to be taken.
Reports depict that racism in the Chicago Police Department indicate that police have no regard when it comes to people of color (p. 3, par. 7, Hannah and Park). The entire Chicago department needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to prevent these unconstitutional engagements towards the public. Safety is paramount to both the society and the police officers but the use of excessive force on unarmed suspects who show no threat is unlawful.
Stoughton, a professor, former police officer and state investigator (p. 1), talks about how the public views police officers when using deadly force. Police officers see themselves as warriors, not guardians, protecting the community. He described how the warrior mindset is in the police community (pp. p. 1, par. 5, Stoughton). Having a warrior mindset is good but can also be harmful. Being too confident in work and environment one is it can lead to situations that would have otherwise not happened. Stoughton talks about the limitations of the use of force. When is enough? Do police officers know when to stop? These are great questions that are quite impossible to answer. He gives a great example of when a police officer got out of the car and immediately shot the 12-year-old with no legal justification. Everything has a claim but taking someones life is wrong, and regulations need to adhere.
The public always demands to know if the shooting was avoidable. If deadly force is avoidable and Stoughton says Was it preventable? And he says yes, there is a perfect chance it could have been avoided (pp. p. 1, par. 4, Stoughton). If questions arise from the public and even a former police officer, then a stricter guideline needs to be created to prevent the use of excessive force. It needs to be re-evaluated.
Having a National Database can help us keep track of police officer encounters with the public. Simmons, a former prosecutor, professor, and director of the criminal justice program, talks about the use of deadly force on unarmed suspects, especially African Americans (Simmons). She talks about how social media has a huge impact when it comes to fatal power because it cannot be ignored and everyone sees it. She says A federal database would help policy makers identify not only dangerous trends and determine whether police use force disproportionately against minorities, but best practices, and thus ultimately develop policies to prevent more deaths (p. 1, par. 3, Simmons). She makes a great point into why a federal database would benefit all. It is a measure put in place to prevent deaths, especially those of young age.
Jim Glennon, a retired third generation law enforcement officer, and a police trainer, says how the use of deadly force is extreme in our everyday life. It rarely happens, but when it does, it creates a big issue in the news media world. YouTube, Social Media, and Google outrage the actual claims. He talks about how some videos are shown to the public but leaves out the key points which may have happened in the beginning or the end.
The law enforcers see the entire videos of what may have actually happened. Glennon says We dont train adequately enough- or sometimes even in the right way (p. 1, par. 3, Glennon). By this, he means that not enough exercises are given to the police officers to know when using deadly force is necessary. The media shows a different story compared to the police officers. The question is, why do not show the videos to the public? These videos are meant for training purposes to understand when force is necessary but using a gun should be the last resort. Harm tends to be in no one's mind. The news media is huge. The witness's statement is hard and a brief video may appear. I believe the press does leave necessary information out, to keep the safety of the public's mind at ease during a crisis.
Police officer brutality against those of color has been a significant issue in the past few years. Walter Katz, a former public defender, part of a task force, and a member of the office of independent review (Katz), talks about how there needs to be more evidence shown and that the primary targets are the black. Racism needs to be eliminated. There is a relationship between raced and police violence. I agree with Katz. He provides good evidence. He says, "legal justification for using both lethal and non-lethal force is comprehensive" (p. 1, par. 5, Katz). It is very true and if it can be narrowed down the chances of decreasing brutality and racism is great. Katz has evidence, and the main point he's putting across is to stop racism, especially those of black ethnicity. Katz says, "Departments have to adopt zero tolerance for racial bias and dishonesty and remove any officers from their forces when racial motivations or lying is uncovered (p. 1, par. 6, Katz). This is an excellent point because from the news it seems like the target is the black. Why? Possibly because they show more of a threat but it still doesn't make sense, and Katz puts it out there that it needs to stop. He lets us know how he feels of police brutality, and that it isn't fair. Fire those who are racist and lie and police brutality will decrease.
Glennon, Jim. Police Use of Deadly Force is Rare; Scrutiny Has Risen (2015): 1.
Hanna, Jason, and Madison Park. Chicago Police Use Excessive Force, DOJ Finds (2017): 4.
Katz, Walter. Walter Scott's Death Should End Public's Denial of Police Victimization of Blacks (2015): 1.
Miller, Laurence. When Cops Kill: The Psychology of Deadly-Force Encounters (2015): 5.
Ripley, Amanda and Timothy Williams. Body Cameras Have Little Effect on Police Behavior, Study Says (2017): 5.
Simmons, Kami Chavis. No Way to Tell Without a National Database (2015): 1.
Stoughton, Seth. Police Shouldn't Ask If a Shooting Is Justified, But If It's Avoidable (2015): 1.
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