Use of Force Case Law



This link from Policeone regards Use of Force case law that police officers should know…

Probably good for anyone who carries a gun, or teaches self protection to be aware of; much of this impacts the way use of force in self defense will be viewed by the legal mind, and how that legal mind thinks related to UoF.

1. Graham v. Connor — This is the essential use of force rubric in the country.
2. Tennessee v. Garner — Addresses deadly force to prevent escape.
3. Terry v. Ohio — Established the legality of so-called “Stop & Frisk” searches.
4. Plakas v. Drinski — No constitutional duty to use lesser force when deadly force is authorized.
5. Pena v. Leombruni — Addresses suspect’s known mental state regarding force.
6. Thompson v. Hubbard — Case where suspect appeared to be drawing a gun and no gun found.
7. Smith v. Freland — Examined policy violation but no violation of Constitutional law.
8. Bush v. City of Tallahassee — Addresses excessive force applied through Graham.
9. Green v. N.J. State Police — Addresses excessive force applied through Graham.
10. Forrett v. Richardson — Unarmed fleeing felon applied through Tennessee v. Garner.
11. Elliot v. Leavitt — Addresses 20/20 hindsight on officer shooting.
12. Brown v. United States — The original (1921) Graham v. Connor style decision.
13. Wardlaw v. Pickett — Punching an approaching verbally argumentative person.
14. City of Canton v. Harris — Addresses liability and “failure to train.”
15. Popow* v. Margate — Addresses shooting an innocent person (training).

(*name corrected from original article)

We strive to be multi-dimensional as well as inter-disciplinary tacticians, and this is probably the most critical dimension of all, though among the least rehearsed in skills-based training. We must be Fluent in Force Articulation.


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