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.