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Excessive Force

Autor:   •  February 11, 2018  •  Essay  •  906 Words (4 Pages)  •  59 Views

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Deadly Force

Marcus Jackson

Brookline College

January 28, 2018


        The use of deadly force by police and law enforcement has always been a touchy subject. But in the last year an increasingly high number of deadly force cases has raised concern about when and if deadly force should be used. The use of deadly force far exceeds just those individuals directly involved, it can have a wide spread impact in a vast number of areas and touch the life of countless amounts of people. With the use of social media sites such as Facebook and twitter these types of incidents can be seen by millions almost instantly. As we have seen in the past year this can have a tremendous impact on society and how people look at police officers. In 2016 after a string of police shootings a peaceful protest in Dallas Texas turned violent as one man, Micah Xavier Johnson killed five officers and injured seven others. Police learned that Johnson was upset with all the police shootings involving African Americans and stated that he “wanted to kill white people”. This is just one of many incidents this year as a result of the use of deadly force. Politically this has caused for government officials to question the tactics and training police are given when it comes to the use of deadly force. A White House task force had suggested a multiple number of changes to the nation’s police policies, and President Obama went as far as to send former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to cities around the country to try to improve police relations with minority neighborhoods. It has even caused for talks of law reform which gives officers the discretion on when to use deadly force. Legally the use of deadly force can also cause quite a stir. When any officer chooses to use deadly force an investigation into the justification of that force is launched and if it is found that deadly force was not required the officer can face criminal charges and in some cases a lengthy legal battle.

        This was such the case in North Charleston, S.C in 2015 when officer Michael Slager

was charged with murder after shooting and killing Walter Scott. It all started after officer Slager pulled over Walter Scott for a broken tail light. It is said that Scott fled from officer Slager because he owed back child support and did not want to go to jail. A video of the shooting was captured by a local bystander on his cell phone. It begins in an empty lot just after officer Slager had deployed is Taser. This is apparent because the wires can be seen coming from Mr. Scotts body. The Taser obviously had no effect and the two began to tussle, Mr. Scott gets free of officer Slager and begins to run away he is about twenty feet away when officer Slager pulls is weapon and fires eight shots at Mr. Scott hitting him five times in his back.  He then walks back to where the tussle ensued and picks up what looks like his Taser. Slager walks to where scott in laying on the ground and tosses the Taser near Mr. Scotts body. He then calls “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” With the help of the video officer Slager was ultimately charged with second degree murder, he pleaded guilty to using excessive force and violating Mr. Scott’s federal civil rights. In may officer Slager was sentenced to twenty years in prison. The evidence as to why deadly force was not needed in this case is clear, Mr. Scott was running away from officer Slager so he was in no mortal danger. And although officer Slager did apparently attempt to deploy his Taser which had little or no effect he could have continued to chase Mr. Scott and try and tackle him from behind or deploy his mace to temporarily incapacitate Mr. Scott was fifty years old and not in the best physical shape there was not a great chance of him being able to flee from officer Slager. At the very least officer Slager could have fired a warning shot and gave verbal commands for Mr. Scott to stop running and get on the ground. Any other scenario could have averted the death of Mr. Scott and kept officer Slager from a twenty-year prison sentence.  

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