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Friday, April 10, 2020

Police Officers are Rarely Prosecuted For Shooting People

     Police agencies have developed policies that generally permit officers to use force when they reasonably fear imminent physical harm. In 1989, the U. S. Supreme Court shaped the standard that governs the use of deadly force. According to the ruling in that case, the use of deadly force must be evaluated through the "perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

     Since then, prosecutors usually side with officers in police-involved shooting cases. Prosecutors and grand jurors are reluctant to second guess a police officer's decision to use deadly force. Many of the cases that don't result in criminal charges involve armed suspects who are shot during confrontations with the police. But even an officer who repeatedly shoots an unarmed person may avoid prosecution in cases where he reasonably believed himself to be under risk of serious bodily injury or death.

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