What is excessive force?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Police officers When an officer arrests a suspect for their alleged involvement in criminal activity, it is important that the officer does not use excessive force and violate the suspect’s constitutional rights.

Under Texas Penal Code Sec. 9.51, a law enforcement officer can only use the amount of force he or she reasonably believes is immediately necessary to make the arrest.

Generally, police officers should start by trying to diffuse the situation with their physical presence, followed by non-threatening verbal statements. If those do not work, they should then use empty-hand control methods (e.g., holding, punching, kicking). If the officer is still unable to diffuse the situation, they may then use Tasers, batons, and other less lethal methods. If none of the above work, the officer may then resort to lethal force (e.g., firearms).

Factors to determine excessive force

Courts will consider the totality of the circumstances when determining whether an officer used excessive force when arresting a suspect. Courts will consider:

  • Whether there was a safety risk to officers or others
  • Whether the officer provided warnings
  • Whether there were alternative ways to handle the situation
  • Whether the suspect was resisting arrest or trying to flee the scene
  • Severity of the crime allegedly committed by the suspect

While it is the police’s jobs to keep us safe, they should also be held accountable when they step over the line. If you believe you are a victim of police brutality, you may benefit from consulting with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can review your case and help determine whether the officer who arrested you acted unreasonably.

 

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