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Camden Criminal Lawyers Discuss Justified and Unjustified Use of Police Force

With police tactics and use of force coming under national scrutiny, the Washington, DC-based Police Foundation has released an infographic outlining the difference between justified and unjustified use of police force. Camden criminal lawyers report that this infographic defines what the purpose of use of force is, the different forms it can take, and the factors used to determine whether or not it is considered reasonable.

Defining Useful Force

The infographic states that police use of force is ultimately a means of establishing control in a situation in order to protect others, or in order to make an arrest. If force was used by police without any of these factors, then it was likely an unreasonable use of force. The infographic also lists the multiple forms which police use of force can take, including:

  • Verbal force – shouting in order to compel a suspect into complying.
  • Physical force – pushing or shoving, grabbing arms.
  • Chemical force – tactical use of pepper spray, tear gas, and other chemically-based incapacitators.
  • Electronic force – use of electricity-based incapacitators, such as tasers.
  • Firearm force – use of a firearm in order to resolve a dangerous situation with a suspect.
  • Any of these forms of police use of force can potentially be unreasonable, depending upon the level of that force used and whether the situation sufficiently justifies it or not.

Determining Whether Police Use of Force Was Reasonable

Whether or not a police officer’s use of force is reasonable is determined by a prosecutor, judge, or jury. If the officer’s use of force was found to break the Fourth Amendment, then that use of force is considered unreasonable. This judgment is made considering the context of the officer’s training, experience, and the circumstances encountered.

In addition to listing the forms that police use of force can take, the article also lists the factors used to determine whether the use of force was reasonable, taking into consideration:

  • The severity of crime at issue
  • Whether or not the subject poses an immediate threat to officers or others
  • Whether the subject is resisting arrest or attempting to flee
  • Mental health of the subject
  • Availability of less-lethal options
  • Objective facts of the incident

Factors unknown to police at the time of the incident or the intent of the officer are not considered when determining reasonableness.

Camden Criminal Lawyers at The Law Offices of Michele Finizio Stand Against Unreasonable Use of Force

If you or someone that you know feels that they have been the victim of unreasonable use of force by police, the skilled Camden criminal lawyers at The Law Offices of Michele Finizio are available to help you. It can be difficult to determine whether or not use of force was unjustified on your own, and our skilled criminal lawyers are able to help. From our offices in Moorestown, New Jersey, we defend clients in Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout New Jersey. Call us at 609-230-0374 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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I could not have asked for a better attorney. Michele Finizio treated my cases and the cases of those I've recommended, as if we were part of her family.

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