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Police Deadly Force Examined on National Level

November 28th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Fergerson shooting, Everyday citizens are not the only ones whose behavior must conform to certain standards set by law. Police, too, are supposed to follow a set of provisions, many of them put in place by the U.S. Constitution, in carrying out their duties as representatives of the government. Failure to do so, in either case, could result in different consequences. One of the most extreme examples of police action in the context of carrying out their duties is the use of deadly force and the circumstances in which it can and should be used. A shooting death which occurred over the summer has brought this issue to the forefront of media discussions.

License to Kill

There is little doubt that police officers and law enforcement are allowed, in certain limited circumstances, to use deadly force when necessary. These situations include, but are not limited to, ones in which the police officer’s lives are in clear and obvious danger, or are facing a threat of significant harm or death themselves. The problem that the referenced report points out is that there is very little tracking of fatalities caused by officers’ use of deadly force and investigation into the matter to determine whether the use of force in a given case should be met with any consequences.

Usually, reports submitted to the FBI from police agencies only make it optional to include cases of justifiable homicide. This data also does not usually include how often police officers are criminally prosecuted for using deadly force. These cases are likely included within the other criminal killings reported by the agency without distinguishing it as an officer perpetrated crime.

Incomplete Data a Problem

Considering the recent shooting in Ferguson, officials are being reminded just how much this under reporting poses a problem in addressing the issue of police use of force. When there is such a lack of data and corresponding lack of evidence, it becomes difficult to distinguish situations in which rights were violated from those where action was justified. It also invited the public to a wide interpretation of facts, some of which are likely not true.

Congress has acted in the past to correct the lack of data issue, but a lack of federal funding caused the program to suffer over 10 years ago. Now, organizations are concentrating on the use of better databases as well as officer training and education to ensure proper procedures are being followed. Still, the system leaves much to be desired. Several major cities have reported no justifiable homicides in recent years, and some for several years in a row. It is unclear whether this is due to such homicides not occurring, or the fact they were not reported. The ultimate goal is transparency and information being readily available to the public.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys.

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