Tip Of The Day…

On issu­ing guid­ance to low­er courts on the issue of Police Reasonable Force, the US Supreme Court’s guide­lines are as fol­lows.

The Supreme Court cau­tioned courts exam­in­ing exces­sive force claims that “the cal­cu­lus of rea­son­able­ness must embody allowance for the fact that police offi­cers are often forced to make split-sec­ond judg­ments – in cir­cum­stances that are tense, uncer­tain, and rapid­ly evolv­ing – about the amount of force that is nec­es­sary in a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion.” The Court also stat­ed that the use of force should be mea­sured by what the offi­cer knew at the scene, not by the “20/​20 vision of hind­sight” by a Monday-morn­ing quar­ter­back. In sum, the Court fash­ioned a real­is­ti­cal­ly gen­er­ous test for use of force law­suits.

Jamaica is not gov­erned by American law yet I thought I would use this guide­line as a barom­e­ter of (1) How the most pow­er­ful court in the world sees and artic­u­lates this issue and (2) the guid­ance it gives to the court sys­tem in the United States as it relates to the lat­i­tude law enforce­ment should have in appre­hend­ing vio­lent non-com­pli­ant offend­ers.

It must be said that the pow­er to use all nec­es­sary force to sub­due an offend­er must only be com­men­su­rate with the lev­el of resis­tance, or just enough above, to gain con­trol of the offend­er.
Immediately the sub­ject is restrained and cuffed no phys­i­cal force must be applied to the sub­ject.
Any force applied to a cuffed offend­er who has stopped resist­ing is exces­sive force and out­side of the guide­lines giv­en to law enforce­ment offi­cers .

In fair­ness to the Jamaica Constabulary Force this pol­i­cy has been the long­stand­ing pol­i­cy of the depart­ment for as long as I can remem­ber.
Officers who approach sub­jects with the intent to arrest must be pre­pared to engage in a strug­gle, no one wants to go to jail.
On that basis offi­cers have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to them­selves to pro­tect their own lives .
Use the com­men­su­rate force and cau­tion to secure the offend­er leave the gib­ber­ish to the cyn­ics, Monday-morn­ing-quar­ter­backs and in Jamaica’s case the vil­lage lawyers.