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use of force

use of force

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  • 1. Excessive Force
    • Mary Arnold
    • Michelle Keterson
    • Maureen Mavelle
    • Katie Schmitter
    • Erik Young
  • 2. Use of Force
    • Definition:
    • -There is no one, all
    • encompassing definition
    • -Based on a continuum
    • -The officer may use force that is equal to that used by the suspect
    • -Different for each police department
  • 3. Deadly Force
    • -When and officer uses force that leads to severe physical harm or death of a suspect
    • -Not necessarily excessive
  • 4. Excessive Force
    • -When an officer clearly uses too much force in a situation
    • -Must be decided whether the
    • officer acted with
    • malicious intent to harm
    • or out of a perceived
    • threat of danger to
    • himself and others.
  • 5. Prevalence
    • Difficult if not impossible
      • No national databases
      • Media interference
  • 6. Dean v. City of Worcester
    • Officers had an active warrant for a man with a history of known violence.
    • Officers encountered a man resembling the suspect in an known area for where the suspect might be.
    • Police immediately threw him on the ground, face first, and cuffed him.
    • Gerard Dean was the wrong man.
  • 7. Sean Bell
    • After leaving a night club, Bell and two other individuals drove down the block and struck an unmarked undercover police van.
    • Bell put the car in reverse and struck the van again, missing an undercover police officer.
    • Five officers shot over 50 rounds into the car. Over 21 rounds hit the car and killed Sean Bell, severely injuring the other two individuals.
    • Sean Bell was to be married the following day to the mother of his two young daughters.
  • 8. Pro’s of Use of Force
    • Gives officer’s an outline to use certain amounts of force for certain situations.
    • Keeps officers safe and as well as the offender.
    • In court it helps to determine if officers are in the wrong.
  • 9. Con’s of Use of Force
    • There is no universal continuum of force for officers to abide by.
      • Individual agencies teach different ways of dealing with certain situations.
    • It is very broad and does not account for the adrenalin that an officer might experience during a certain confrontation.
  • 10. Utilitarianism
    • The Greater Good
    • -Conduct should benefit the happiness of the greatest number of people, even at the expense of the few.
    • -Trolley Example
  • 11. The Police
    • -Police officers are responsible for public safety
    • -In some cases that means using force to stop one person from doing damage to others.
  • 12. Egoism -Definition- Egoism maintains that each man should seek his own good and ignore that of others, except when this would be to his disadvantage. -Example- -Loaning money to a friend.
  • 13. Explaining Egoism and Excessive Force
    • Knowledge of Interests
      • Everybody knows what is in our own interests.
      • We know other people’s interests, imperfectly.
    • Devaluation of the Individual
      • One life to live.
      • One opportunity to gain happiness.
  • 14. Egoism and Excessive Force
    • Protecting the Self
      • Results from 1 study looking at use of force.
        • 30 out of 113 cases resulted in excessive force.
        • Situations explained a gun or physical confrontation took place
        • Not only protecting the self, but protecting others.
          • Can compare to loaning money to a friend.
  • 15. Egoism and Excessive Force cont.
    • Police Subculture
      • Training compared to “tips” from veteran officers.
        • Training
        • Veteran Officers
      • Excessive force encouraged/learned
        • New officers earn “shaky” reputation
      • Pressured to use excessive force
        • Isolated from other officers if they don’t.
  • 16. Determinism
    • Everything is predetermined to happen as it actually does happen. Every event has a cause.
  • 17. Causation
    • Nothing happens that is not caused to happen by some other event, condition, or set of events and/or conditions.
    • Every event is connected to the preceding events in such a way that if the first events had not occurred, the second would not have occurred.
  • 18. 4 Casual Factors
    • Social ecology
    • Demographics
    • Officer attitude
    • Institution ideals
  • 19. Social Ecology
    • High crime areas
    • Low crime areas
  • 20. Demographics
    • Drunk, poor, Afro-American male
    • Sober, working class Caucasian male
  • 21. Officer Attitude
    • It’s us…
    • Against them
  • 22. Institution Ideals
    • Saving face & saving money
    • Crime control models and military control models
  • 23. Ways to Prevent Excessive Force: Training
    • More effective training
      • On the job training
      • Reality training
      • Swat team training
      • Feasibility
  • 24. Ways to PreventExcessive Force: Leadership
    • Hold Leaders Accountable
  • 25. References
    • Adelman, S. E. (2010, June). Court reaffirms Governing Excessive-Use-of-Force
    •       Lawsuits. Corrections Today, 72 (3). Retrieved from
    • CNN (2010). Sean Bell: News & Videos. Retrived from:
    • Dean v. City of Worcester, slip op. (Jan. 23, 1991) (Open Jurist).
    • Duffee, D. (1980). Explaining criminal justice: Community theory and criminal justice reform. As cited in: Engel, R.S., 2008.
    • Durose, M.R., Langan, P.A. & Smith, E.L. (2007). Contacts between police and the public, 2005. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
    • Engel, R.S. (2008). Revisiting critical issues in police use-of-force research. Criminology & Public Policy . 7(4), 557-562. doi: 10.1080/155488070.156470
    • Fehige, C., Frank, R. Feeling Our Way to the Common Good: Utilitarianism and the Moral Sentiments.
    • Friedrich, R.J. (1980). Police use of force: Individuals, situations and organizations. As cited in: Harris, C.J., 2009.
    • Hall, J. (1997, October). Police Use of Nondeadly Force to Arrest. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Retrived from
    • Harris, C.J. (2009). Police us of improper force: A systematic review of the evidence. Victims and Offenders . 4(1), 25-41. doi: 10.1080-155488070.156870
    • Huberts, L., Kaptein, M., & Lasthuizen, K. (2007, April 19). A study of the impact of three leadership styles on integrity violations committed by police officers. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management , 30 (4), 587-607. Retrieved from
  • 26. References cont.
    • Hunt, J. (1985, January). Police Accounts of Normal Force. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 13 (4), 315-341.
    • Klinger, D.A. (1997). Negotiating order in patrol work: An ecological theory of police response to deviance. As cited in Phillips, S.W. & Sobol, J.J., 2010.
    • Lersch, K. M., & Feagin, J. R. (1996, July). Violent Police-Citizen Encounters: An Analysis of Major Newspaper Accounts. Critical Sociology, 22 (2), 29-49.
    • Mcfadden, R. D. (2006, November 26). Police Kill Man After a Queens Bachelor Party . The New York Times . Retrieved from‌/‌/‌//.html?_r=4&pagewanted=1
    • Micucci, A.J. & Gomme, I.M. (2005). American police and subculture support for the use of excessive force. Journal of Criminal Justice . 33(5), 487-500. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
    • National Institute of Justice. (August 2009). The Use-of-Force Continuum. 1 October 2010.
    • Niederhoffer, A. (1967). Behind the shield: The police in urban society. As cited in Micucci, A.J. & Gomme, I.M., 2005.
    • Phillips, S.W. & Sobol, J.J. (2010). Police attitudes about use of unnecessary force: An ecological examination. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology , 25.
    • Reiss, A.J. (1968). Police brutality-answers to key questions. As cited in Harris, C.J., 2009.
    • Skolnick, J. (1994). Justice without trial: Law enforcement in a democratic society. As cited in Micucci, A.J. & Gomme, I.M., 2005.
    • Worden, R.E. (1995). The causes of police brutality: Theory and evidence on the police use of force. As cited in Harris, C.J., 2009.
    • Williams, C. & Arrigo, B.A. (2008). Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice . Pearson Prentice Hall: New Jersey, 55-57.