Friday, August 23, 2019

"Reasonable" to "Necessary"

California has passed a new law intended to reduce police shootings by tightening the legal standards under which deadly force can be used:
The bill aims to “affirmatively proscribe” — as in, explicitly limit — the instances when police officers can use deadly force, changing the standard from one based on a “reasonable belief” that the officer or another person is in imminent danger to one that requires police officers to use deadly force only when necessary. . . .

As Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, wrote in April 2018, “Officers are rarely held accountable [in California] because the law allows police to use deadly force whenever an ‘objectively reasonable’ officer would have done so under the same circumstances, and courts have said that police don’t have to use the least amount of force possible for their conduct to be ‘reasonable.’” . . .

Advocates behind AB 392, including the ACLU, think that the compromises it struck with law enforcement groups to get the bill to the governor’s desk will make a real difference. It’s the shift from a “reasonable” to a “necessary” standard that most matters in the eyes of the bill’s supporters.
That sounds like a positive step to me, but of course the real question is whether jurors can be made to care about police shootings, or whether they remain so frightened of crime and disorder that they reflexively take the police side.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

This is the standard in place in most Western countries - minimum necessary force, whether it be a police officer in the line of duty, or a civilian engaged in self defense, et cetera.

Allowing people to use more force than necessary just invites people do exactly that - use more force than necessary.