Excessive force cases refer to when a government official uses more force than is necessary in a particular situation. If his force exceeds the minimum to protect himself or others than he is abusing his power. This can also be referred to police brutality. 

Types of Claims

The Fourth Amendment search and seizure requirement contains an individual's right to freedom from excessive force. In the case of an arrest, excessive force can be proven in minor injuries or more major injuries is more force than was necessary was used . The degree of force used must be scaled to the threat that the arrestee is posing. 

Use of Force Spectrum

When an officer is trying to gain control of a situation he typically will need to scale the amount of force used:

  1. The officer can use his presence to try to stop a situation from happening
  2. Next he can try to use verbal commands to stop an individual 
  3. He then can use his body to block punches or kicks, he may grab the individual
  4. Use of a less lethal weapon such as a baton, taser, or dog can be used
  5. Using a lethal weapon such as a firearm

According to the Constitution, using a lethal weapon can only be used if it is:

  • Necessary to prevent an escape
  • The officers believe that if the suspect escapes he could cause deadly harm to police officers or others

Every situation is different.

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