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Police Force: Reasonable Vs. Excessive

The use of force by police officers can range from pushing and hitting to holding a citizen at gunpoint. Many of these encounters are precipitated by citizens resisting the police, arguing with the police, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The five factors that influence the use of force by law enforcement officers are:
-Departmental policies
-Departmental culture
-State, local, and federal laws
-Officer characteristics

In your opinion, when does a reasonable force become an excessive force? What behaviors by citizens, except those mentioned above, can result in the use of excessive force? Which of the five factors do you feel is the most likely to impact the use of force by law enforcement officers? Why? Support your answer with a factual rationale.

Solution Preview

A reasonable force becomes an excessive force when the reasonable, capable, adult person would consider the force to be unreasonable. Most courts use the reasonable person standard in a variety of situations, and in my opinion, it applies to reasonable force, as well. The main question that I would ask would be, "would a logical, reasonable person find this force excessive considering the circumstances of the incident?" There are certain behaviors that would result in the use of excessive force. As well as arguing with police, resisting arrest, and being under the influence, any ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the use of force, and the point where the use of force by law enforcement becomes unreasonable. This solution also discusses each of the five factors listed and which factor is the most likely to be abused by police officers.