CHANGES TO DEADLY FORCE LAW
This bill would change and remove circumstances when peace officers are legally authorized to use deadly force. Currently, in addition to other circumstances, the law allows officers to use deadly force against someone “whom he reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon.” This bill removes this provision and would not allow an officer to use deadly force to arrest or prevent the escape of someone who used or threatened a deadly weapon in a felony. The law would now only allow an officer to use deadly force to arrest or prevent the escape of someone who is using a deadly weapon to escape (not simply possessing a deadly weapon, but actively using a deadly weapon in his escape); OR against those who would be an imminent danger to life or serious bodily injury if not apprehended without delay.
Secondly, this law removes the specific provision regarding chokeholds. Currently, the law expressly places chokeholds (any restriction of the airway whatsoever) on the level of deadly force. It completely eliminates this provision, and would place the use of chokeholds back to a reasonableness calculation. However, the reasonableness of a chokehold is likely going to be viewed at a deadly force level from now on.
Finally, the law changes the way detention officers may use deadly force regarding prisoners. Originally, the law allowed detention officers to use deadly force to prevent the escape of a prisoner convicted or held for a felony. Under this draft bill, detention officers are held to the same standard as police officers, and deadly force may only be used when the prisoner poses an imminent danger to life or serious bodily injury to another.
Now more than ever is it important for the good men and women in law enforcement to have knowledgeable legal representation when they find themselves accused. The landscape for the policing profession has never been so difficult. The attorneys at Front Line Law have backgrounds as police officers, in the district attorney’s office, and military. We stand ready to help you when you need us.