Excessive use of force essay

Excessive use of force essay

Excessive Use Of Force By Police (Justice Essay Sample)

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In most cases the Police officers are legally allowed to partially use force. The police superior and the public at large expect this due to the nature of the police duties that requires them to do so when appropriate. In order to deal with the disorderly elements of the society, people who work in the law enforcement agencies may gradually develop the attitude or the sense of commanding authority over the society, this is evident in the traditional reaction-based policing models; in most cases the police hold the believe that they are supposed to be above the law. (Merle, 2004)

Reports link the Police with the causes of misconduct as result of the systematic factors that originates from the police force itself. These are as follows; the Pressures to conform to the aspects of the police culture which are designed to sustain a substantial opposition to the criminal subculture while protecting the police force interests, this goes to the extent of violating the law while at the same time the outsiders are viewed in a suspicious perspective or with a lot of distrust. Secondly, there is the command and the control structures that have a very rigid hierarchical foundation, with law enforcement the more rigid the hierarchy is, then the lower the scores when measured on the scale of ethical decision-making thirdly, the deficiencies that are created in the internal accountability the mechanisms especially in the internal investigation processes.

Police Use of Force

The Police officers use of the excessive force is always kept in check by many jurisdictions through the issuance of the force continuum that allows use of force to certain extent. The force continuum sets relevant levels of force that are considered appropriate in the direct response to a subject’s behavior. This power is only granted by the civil government, and has the limits that have been set out under the statutory law as well as the common law. (Stetser, 2001)

The members of the public sometimes perceive the use of excessive force by the police as an offence even when the force used is lawful. In the daily duties, the law enforcement officers are faced with danger as they carry out their duties. In dealing with a dangerous or the unpredictable situations, the police officers have very little time to organize themselves psychologically and assess the ability to determine a proper response. Therefore, a good training given to the police can enhance the chances of the officers to react properly to the situations or the possible threats. The response that is accompanied with the appropriate tactics for addressing the situations that possibly including some levels of force under the given circumstances.

The Police are charged with the mandate to enforce the social order through the legitimization of the use of force. The use of force describes the amount of efforts that is required by police in compelling the compliance by the unwilling subjects. The levels, or the continuum, of force that the police officer use include the basic verbal and the physical restraint, the less-lethal force and the lethal forces.

The amount of force that the police use should be the minimized to a point that is needed for elimination of the threat that has been presented, in this way the risks are minimized and also the severity of any kind of injury that may occur.
Remedies to the police brutality
Police should do the following to remedy the situation;
Make sure that those people injured receive immediate medical aid.
Notify the family of any injured person.
The officers should be given supplementary guidance from the individual agencies, there should be no universal set of the rules to govern theÿofficers as to when to use forceÿand how much.
The level of force that the police officer use vary basing on the situation, due to of variation, the guidelines for the use of force can be based on many factors, these include;
The experience of the police department.
The Federal and the state mandates.
Availability of the law enforcement technologies.
The relationships that exist between the police and the citizens in a given jurisdiction.
Police-Community Relations

The controversy that exists over firearms policy and the use of excessive force by the police is tied to the overall quality of the relations between the community and the police. In the situations where the police and all the general community develop good relations, then the friction is generally minimized. The perception of the police to the civilians should be that of a concerned professional. This leads to greater respect in all the segments of the community. The confidence of the police officers to count on the support of all the community in the performance of their duties gives them a greater sense of responsibility in doing their job (Justice. gov, par 6).

A very effective police-minority relationship can immensely contribute to the reduction in the incidents of excessive police force. However, if an incident of a police officer excessive force does occur, then the public is likely to give a response with a very open mind due to the positive relationships and the trust that has been built up with the police through their daily experience. The community organizations on the other hand might consider the possibilities which may act as an aid for the improvement of the relations with the police. Another way is through the Exploration and the establishment of communications links to the professional police associations as well as the linkage with the police union.


Most people have a crude understanding that if the police officers use excessive force on a civilian then that is a criminal offense. That is not the case but it is an occupational crime since it is committed while the police officers are operating in their legitimate occupations. If a police officer Abuses a citizen then that is the violation of the trust that has been implied to the position officer’s position and the power bestowed upon the officer (Social. jrank. org, par 5). The Excessive abuse of force tends to violate the state laws, federal laws, and the constitutional rights. By considering all these violations, it is assumed that the conviction of an officer in relation to violence is revered with much fervor.

From my research I made the conclusion that the general public prefers that the police officers involved in violence should be punished, but the police the police on the other hand cannot accept such an action. The offenders learn this acts of brutality through the organization’s failure to give them proper training especially on the importance of controlling of some situations through the use of minimal force. In the practical contexts the excessive force users are rarely punished. The manner in which the police force organizes its departments are tends to encourage the police to use force through their approach.

The Police have the right to use force in protecting themselves, however the extent beating up a suspect who has been restrained or one who has surrendered is not justified for self defense. Therefore actions need to be taken in order to diminish the crime of caused by the police brutality. Good utilization of the interdisciplinary police units, the justice system, and the police officers trainers can work together to deter the police brutality. The justice system needs to actively pursue and punish the offenders within the police system. On the other hand the Police must do more on their part to change the structure of the police force in order to sanction the officers who abuse their power thereby preventing the new officers from learning the bad behaviors.

Police and the Use of Excessive Force Essay

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The use of excessive force by police organizations around the world as a crime control mechanism has been widely criticized and debated for many years. Many ask, what exactly is excessive force? What causes an officer to use excessive force and is it justified? There is much ambiguity when it comes to answering such questions. Your perception will undoubtedly create your expectation and too many times one’s failure to acknowledge, ‘the other side of the story,’ causes a misperception. How big of a role do the media play in portraying police use of excessive force as fair or unnecessary? These are all valid questions that will be addressed in this analysis as well as what is being done to address the situation. We begin with the definition of excessive force as provided by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, “excessive force is the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling suspect” (Police use of Force, 2009). That is, police will turn to excessive force when an individual has been uncooperative. Some argue that the police’s most defining feature is their capacity to use coercive force (Katz & Walker, 2008).

Police use of force may include physical force as well as the power to arrest, but most importantly the power to use deadly force. It is important to keep in mind that there are laws set in place to limit the amount of force an officer uses, including excessive force. Such laws have allowed for better policing practices and an improved police/community relationship. Although police use of excessive force still arises from time to time, the number of incidents has dropped dramatically over the years. According to a study done in the years 1999 and 2000 of calls for service, force was used by police in less than one percent of the calls (Police use of Force, 2009). In actuality, the police spend most of their shift serving their community as peacekeepers as well as helping others. So what drives a sworn police officer to use excessive force? The answer to this question is not a simple one, and rightfully so. Some argue that discrimination, stereotyping and the environment in which an officer may patrol can contribute to the use of excessive force. People call the police because they want an officer to settle a problem: to arrest someone, to get someone to calm down, or to have someone removed from the home (Katz & Walker, 2008).

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In other words, police are constantly put in volatile situations where the people they are dealing with can become a danger to the officer who is responding to a call and there is no telling what someone might do at any given moment. Often times when an officer has been dispatched to a scene, particularly an altercation, tempers are already flaring and what would normally be a situation calling for a simple mediation performed by the officer can easily escalate to the citizen resisting arrest for fear of going to jail, not knowing that the police is just trying to calm down the individual in order to assist with the situation more accurately. Situations like these are all too common and police can feel very much unappreciated and a sense of disrespect on behalf of those they serve. This frustration often times lead to a small number of officers easily losing their temper when confronting citizens in future instances. It must be pointed out that such instances are rare, but still do arise from time to time. As a retired police lieutenant reflecting on his career put it, ‘The majority of cops were good, hardworking, conscientious individuals.

They cared, and they wanted to do a good job. But there were enough cops—not one rotten apple, but several rotten apples—to give law enforcement the taint it had received’ ((Retired), 2000). The media, which include movies, television shows, and news organizations, have a lot of power when it comes to portraying the police as good or evil. Given the considerable ambiguity that surrounds the issue, whether police use of force is presented as police brutality and whether brutality is understood as a problem depend greatly upon which voices and views the media emphasize (Lawrence, 2000). It is the media who determine what the general public learns about street cops’ daily experience with criminals and the underclass, as well as what the middle-class public learns about other groups’ experiences with police (Lawrence, 2000). A perfect example is the famous reality television program, ‘Cops,’ where camera crews participate in ride-along assignments and capture real life drama from the police officer’s viewpoint. News headlines are one of the most, if not the most, influential media forms influencing public opinion and attitude towards law enforcement.

As the lawyer for a Miami policeman acquitted in the shooting death of a black motorcyclist—an acquittal that touched off days of rioting—indignantly told reporters, “If the headlines read, ‘Twice-convicted drug dealer shot while trying to run over officer,’ there wouldn’t have been any riots” (Lawrence, 2000). So the question arises, what is being done to address the situation with police use of excessive force? History has shown that policing systems and strategies can and do change. One way the situation has been dealt with in recent years is with the creation of local citizen oversight groups where complaints by citizens are reviewed to determine whether the action taken by the officer towards the individual filing the complaint was caused by a lack of policy, or a bad policy, on behalf of the police department in which case a recommendation for a new policy is sent to the department.

Another way that police departments are dealing with the situation is by mounting video recorders on patrol cars as well as working with the local media and using them as a way of checks and balances. There is also the case for higher education for police officers. The subject matter of higher education as a requirement for police officers is a hot debate topic today. Study has shown that higher educated cops receive fewer complaints than those with less education (Victor E. Kappeler, 1992).

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