Police officers are prohibited from using more physical force than is necessary to effect an arrest. Some equate this principle to what is called “one plus one” – officers can use “one” measure of force beyond the force a suspect is using to attempt to avoid or resist a police officer’s arrest. Maintaining this level of restraint requires training, experience, and an appropriate temperament.
If an officer uses more force than what was reasonably necessary to arrest a suspect, that is considered excessive force. If an officer maliciously intends to harm the individual where that harm is unreasonable and unnecessary to effect the arrest, the officer’s conduct could amount to police brutality. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us from excessive force and police brutality.
The United States Supreme Court decided Graham v. Connor in 1989, which concerned what test American Courts should apply to determine whether a police officer’s force was excessive or “objectively reasonable.” The Court set forth three factors to consider: (1) the severity of the suspect’s crime; (2) whether the suspect is an immediate threat; and (3) whether the suspect is resisting arrest or attempting to flee.
If a police officer applied force to you and you’ve suffered physical or mental injuries, contact us for a case evaluation with an experienced civil rights attorney.