Most of the time, when police officers interact with members of the public, no violence occurs at all. Some studies claim that about 2% of individuals who interact with the police actually encounter either violence or threats of violence. The other 98% do not.
But in the 2% of cases, there’s a major issue. There are situations in which the police are accused of brutality or the use of excessive force. This doesn’t mean that the police aren’t allowed to use force at all, which makes things complicated. There are certain situations in which they need to and when it is legal. So what is excessive force?
More force than is necessary
As a general rule, police officers are expected to use the necessary amount of force for any situation. They can’t escalate the situation and increase the level of violence, but can only respond to what is happening.
For example, an officer who uses deadly force needs to prove that they feared for their life or faced deadly force. If they’ve been shot by an alleged criminal, for example, the officer is likely within their rights to return fire.
What does it mean for an officer to fear for their life? Say that a suspect pushes an officer, who then shoots them. Did the officer really fear for their life or did they overreact? This isn’t to say that someone should shove a police officer, but they don’t deserve fatal ramifications for doing so.
Therefore, the police can be accused of excessive violence, even in a scenario where some level of violence was warranted. If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality, be sure you know exactly what options you have.