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Should Failure To Record Equate With Excessive Force? A Court Speaks

The problem of officers failing to activate recording equipment before or during a force encounter can be a thorny one with multiple potentially negative consequences. But a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit has tried to push the issue to a new and radical extreme. The incident in question began in the snowy, predawn hours of...
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2 New Use Of Force Court Decisions Offer Valuable “Learning Points”

Two recent federal appellate decisions are good reminders of how US judges may assess claims of excessive force where unarmed suspects are involved. Atty. Michael Brave, always a popular legal updater at ILEETA conferences and other venues, tells Force Science News that these cases “have many learning points” for trainers, police attorneys, and street officers...
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De-escalation: Could This Hot Mess Have Been Prevented?

A recent US Appeals Court decision hinged on whether an officer’s use of a CEW was objectively reasonable, but an important subtext in the case concerns de-escalation—more precisely, whether a fateful escalation of force could have been prevented in the first place by a different attitude and different language. The Michigan case, Marshall v. City...
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Anatomy Of An Officer’s Defense In A High-Profile Shooting (Part 2)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last September in a volatile case that drew international attention, Betty Shelby, a white police officer in Tulsa, OK, was charged with first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting an uncooperative black man she thought was reaching into his SUV for a gun to use against her. No weapon was found, and Shelby was accused...
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Anatomy Of An Officer’s Defense In A High-Profile Shooting (Part 1)

Part 1 of a 2-part report Police Atty. Scott Wood was absorbed in his son’s high school football game that Friday night, so he missed the two calls to his cell phone until half time. Then he listened to the voice mails that hurled him into one of the nation’s most explosive officer-involved shootings. A...
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Court Rules On OIS Where Officer Put Self In Jeopardy Of Moving Car

A federal appellate court has ruled that a sheriff’s deputy was justified in shooting dead the driver of a car heading toward him as a weapon, even though the deputy deliberately stepped into the vehicle’s path and stayed there when he had the opportunity to move aside. The 10th circuit Court of Appeals said the...
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Court Rules On LEOs’ Legal Duty To Bring Delusional Subjects To Medical Care

A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that LEOs have no obligation to transport delusional subjects to a hospital instead of to jail in the absence of evidence of special medical risks. A three-judge panel in the 6th appellate circuit last month reversed a lower court that had denied qualified immunity and summary judgment to...
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With Insights From Force Science Graduate, Deputy Found Not Guilty Of Manslaughter Charge

Part of an ongoing series on real-world successes The shooting was predictably controversial: A sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a black man with a master’s degree in telecommunications, a steady job at an advertising agency, no criminal record, and a history of mental illness, who was carrying home an unloaded air rifle he’d just bought at...
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“Accidental” Shooting Not A Reason To Avoid Trial, Court Rules

The risk of keeping a finger on the trigger when not intending to shoot has long been emphasized in Force Science research reports. The potential human toll–and the liability burden–are vividly illustrated in a recent Appellate Court decision in which justices ruled that officers are not guaranteed qualified immunity from legal action when a shooting...
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Supreme Court Rules On Trooper Who Fatally Shot At Moving Vehicle Printable Version Has Wrong Title, Online Version Is Correct

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided a case involving fatal shots fired at a moving vehicle that provides an important reminder to officers about thoroughly articulating use of force and offers help to police lawyers in arguing qualified immunity cases, according to two prominent law enforcement attorneys who are also Force Science instructors. For officers...
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