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Laws regulating the use of force differ, but usually officers may not use deadly force unless they or other persons are threatened with seriously bodily harm or death. They may use as much non-deadly force as is reasonably necessary to make an arrest, control a crowd, or engage in any other legitimate police functions. Generally, a police officer cannot use deadly force to apprehend a misdemeanant (someone who commits a misdemeanor, a less serious offense than a felony), but in some states the act of fleeing is a felony. If a person flees after an arrest, the officer may be permitted to use deadly force, even if the original offense for which the arrest was made was a misdemeanor. Until recently, most jurisdictions permitted officers to fire at a fleeing felon, but these policies have changed. Today federal and many local and state law enforcement agencies prohibit use of deadly force unless human life is threatened. Even when a statute permits police to fire a deadly weapon at a fleeing felon, the courts may rule that under some circumstances this action violates the felon’s constitutional rights.
According to Weisburd, and Williams, Greenspan, and Hamilton, and Bryant (2001). “American society has long entrusted to its police the authority to use force in the pursuit of justice, law, and order. This authority is often glorified in books, television, and movies, where the police are seen as constantly responding to violent felons with equally violent reactions. But the reality of police use of force is much less dramatic and the boundaries of legitimate police use of force are much more constrained than defined in popular culture” (Weisburd, and Williams, Greenspan, & Hamilton, and Bryant, 2001). When we think of issues of police brutality and use of force society reflects on the beating of Rodney King, by the Los Angeles police department. This particular…...

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