Soc131-Lect14

Soc131-Lect14 - Text Pages: 155-169 Police Abuse of Power o...

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Text Pages: 155-169 Police Abuse of Power o Use of Force o Most people cooperate with the police, yet officers must at times use force to arrest, control disturbances, and deal with the drunken or mentally ill. o Police may use legitimate force to do their job. It is when they use excessive force that they violate the law. o Citizens use the term police brutality to describe a wide range of practices, from the use of profane or abusive language to physical force and violence. o The concept of “use of force” takes many forms in practice. We can arrange the various types of force on a continuum ranging from most severe (civilians shot and killed) to least severe (come-alongs). o Most research has shown that in police contacts with suspects, force is used infrequently and the type of force is usually at the low end of the continuum. o By law, the police have the authority to use force if necessary to make an arrest, keep the peace or maintain public order. o Tennessee v. Garner (1985): Deadly force may not be used against an unarmed and fleeing suspect unless necessary to prevent the escape and unless the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious injury to the officers or others. Presents problems because it can be hard to judge how dangerous a suspect may be. Because officers must make quick decisions in stressful situations, creating rules that will guide them in every case is impossible. o
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course SOC 131 taught by Professor Shoemaker during the Fall '08 term at Wisconsin.

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Soc131-Lect14 - Text Pages: 155-169 Police Abuse of Power o...

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