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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Darrell L. Ross

Allegations of excessive force in policing have been cited as one of the most frequent claims filed against the police in arrest situations. The United States Supreme…

Abstract

Allegations of excessive force in policing have been cited as one of the most frequent claims filed against the police in arrest situations. The United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor (1989) determined that “objective reasonableness” is the Fourth Amendment standard to be used in evaluating claims of excessive force. This paper analyzes the patterns of lower federal court decisions in 1,200 published Section 1983 cases decided from 1989 to 1999. The assessment examines how these courts have applied and interpreted the standard in four categories involving force. Policy and training issues are discussed and future research concerns are presented.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

In Soo Son, Chiu‐Wai Tsang, Dennis M. Rome and Mark S. Davis

Examines the relationship between the observation of police use of force and the subsequent evaluation of police performance. The data in this study were obtained from a…

Abstract

Examines the relationship between the observation of police use of force and the subsequent evaluation of police performance. The data in this study were obtained from a random sample of 992 Ohio citizens. Finds that the observation of police use of force that the respondents judged excessive had a significantly negative effect on their perception of police performance. The effect of this observation remained significant even after controlling for sociodemographic, experiential and neighborhood characteristics. Suggests that the police could substantially increase citizens’ satisfaction with their performance by reducing incidents and allegations of police misconduct.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2001

Jeffrey Michael Cancino

Approximately 50 years ago, William Westley’s (1953) pioneering study of police officers brought to the forefront the special characteristics of police work. The present…

Abstract

Approximately 50 years ago, William Westley’s (1953) pioneering study of police officers brought to the forefront the special characteristics of police work. The present research raises the question: how far have thepolice come since Westley? Using focus group interviews and surveys collected from alarge Southwest police department, the study examines the situational role context of physical force. In doing so, it provides an explanation of physical force today, compared to explanations offered by Westley. The current research examines whether officer use of physical force and its severity are determined by the situation. The results confirm this hypothesis by suggesting that physical force is determined situationally, according to low‐order excessive force and high‐order violent force. As a way of understanding the lack of change in attitudes and practice of physical force, a possible explanation is the patrol culture.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2019

Jaeyong Choi

The purpose of this paper is to examine if global and situational support for police use of force vary across first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine if global and situational support for police use of force vary across first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants and native-born Americans.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on data from the 2012 General Social Survey, multivariate logistic regression models are performed to predict each of the three binary outcome variables (e.g. support for police use of reasonable force or excessive force) depending on immigrant generation status.

Findings

Results indicate that, compared with native-born individuals, first-generation immigrants express less global support for police use of force and less support for police use of reasonable force. In contrast, the first-generation group is more supportive of police use of excessive force compared to the second-generation group and native-born group.

Originality/value

Much research on immigrants’ perceptions of the police has yielded conflicting findings. Part of the reason has been attributed to failure to distinguish first-generation immigrants from successive generations of immigrants. The present study fills a gap in this line of research by assessing the extent to which there is a disparity in support for police use of force between different generations of immigrants and native-born individuals.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2000

Liqun Cao, Xiaogang Deng and Shannon Barton

Applying Lundman’s organizational product thesis in explaining citizen complaints against police use of excessive physical force, the current study tests several…

Abstract

Applying Lundman’s organizational product thesis in explaining citizen complaints against police use of excessive physical force, the current study tests several hypotheses with a national data set. Tobit regression analyses of the data show that Lundman’s thesis is partially supported. Both organizational behavior and organizational characteristics are important covariates of the complaint rate against police use of excessive physical force. Although generalization is limited, police departments need to actively recruit more mature persons into the police force, reinforce field training officer programs, and continually provide more in‐service training programs for its members if they are serious in reducing citizens’ complaints.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2016

Nicole E. Haas

In this study we set out to explain police support for the use of force, police response to a vignette about force, and police self-reported use of force.

Abstract

Purpose

In this study we set out to explain police support for the use of force, police response to a vignette about force, and police self-reported use of force.

Methodology/approach

The computer-assisted survey was conducted among 419 officers of the Metropolitana police department in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Findings

The regression analyses show that a substantial part of how officers view force, and the reported frequency of their own use of force, can be explained through demographic characteristics, organizational features, attitudes toward citizens, and personal experience.

Originality/value

This study was conducted in a region where excessive police use of force is unfortunately a continuing concern. Based on the results we advise police organizations to tackle this issue by investing in improving police attitudes toward both internal and external relations. We also recommend prohibiting officers to carry the regulatory gun while off duty, in order to reduce deaths of both civilians and officers.

Details

The Politics of Policing: Between Force and Legitimacy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-030-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

John L. Worrall

Qualified immunity is a defense available to law enforcement officials in Section 1983 lawsuits alleging constitutional violations. Whether qualified immunity is granted…

Abstract

Qualified immunity is a defense available to law enforcement officials in Section 1983 lawsuits alleging constitutional violations. Whether qualified immunity is granted hinges on the objective reasonableness of the officer’s actions; that is, on what a reasonable officer would have done under the circumstances. However, when a plaintiff alleges a Fourth Amendment violation, another objective reasonableness test is used. The result can be a paradoxical finding of reasonably unreasonable conduct. The present study examines this quizzical feature of civil liability law and seeks to clarify the role that both objective reasonableness tests play. In doing so, it examines the varying definitions of objective reasonableness, reviews a number of court decisions where the Fourth Amendment and qualified immunity have collided, and makes recommendations for minimizing future confusion.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2007

Michael R. Smith, Matthew Petrocelli and Charlie Scheer

The purpose of this paper is to help inform the ongoing policy and training debates over use of the Taser and its proper role in the use of force continuum.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to help inform the ongoing policy and training debates over use of the Taser and its proper role in the use of force continuum.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper qualitatively analyzes all reported court decisions (n=53 as of January 31, 2007) in which a Taser was used by a law enforcement officer.

Findings

The majority of reported cases have resulted in the dismissal of claims against officers and municipalities for alleged Taser‐related excessive force violations. In most cases, plaintiffs were unable to show the existence of an unconstitutional policy or custom to support municipal liability. As for the liability of individual officers, most cases were decided in the officer's favor on summary judgment, particularly when the suspect was exhibiting physical resistance. In a few cases, summary judgment was denied to officers when the plaintiff alleged that he or she was fully compliant when the Tasering occurred.

Research limitations/implications

This analysis was confined to reported court decisions, which do not necessarily represent a random sample of all Taser‐related lawsuits filed in the courts. Likewise, Taser‐related lawsuits appear to be increasing as the use of the Taser proliferates among law‐enforcement agencies. Thus, the trends and patterns in Taser liability identified in the analysis may change and evolve with newly decided cases.

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that agencies should review their policy and training guidelines on Taser usage to remain compliant with emerging legal standards. Officers should be trained to articulate a physical threat or potential threat before using a Taser against a verbally resistant subject.

Originality/value

Civil liability is always of concern to law enforcement officials, particularly when an emerging technology is involved. At the time of this writing, there were no published analyses of Taser‐related excessive force claims.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2012

Sanja Kutnjak Ivković and Wook Kang

The purpose of this study is to examine the contours of police integrity among Korean police officers a decade after police reform was started.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the contours of police integrity among Korean police officers a decade after police reform was started.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected in 2009 at the Korean National Police University (KNPU) and the Police Comprehensive Academy (PCA). The questionnaires distributed to police officers contained 14 vignettes describing various forms of police misconduct. The sample consists of 329 police officers, mostly non‐supervisors, attending courses at the KNPU and PCA.

Findings

Results indicate that the contours of police integrity vary across different forms of misconduct. Regardless of whether the respondents' views were measured through questions about misconduct seriousness, appropriate discipline, willingness to report, or knowledge about official rules, the findings suggest that Korean police officers perceived corruption as a serious form of police misconduct, while they considered the use of excessive force to be substantially less serious. In addition, a strong code of silence among the police was detected.

Research limitations/implications

The study examines the contours of police integrity among a convenience sample of police officers from South Korea.

Practical implications

The Korean police administrators interested in controlling police misconduct could utilize this methodology to explore the contours of the code of silence among the Korean police. The results of the study indicate that substantial focus should be put on changing police officer views about the use of excessive force and narrowing the code of silence in general.

Social implications

The results show that the contours of police integrity among South Korean police officers clearly reflect the attitudes and views of the society at large toward corruption and use of excessive force. The lenient attitudes that South Korean police officers have expressed regarding the use of excessive force reflect both the historical attitudes and the lack of clarity of official rules. The strong code of silence is related to the insufficient protection for whistleblowers and the adherence to Confucianism among Korean citizens.

Originality/value

Prior research predominantly measured police integrity as the opposite of police corruption in Western democracies and East European countries in transition. This research expands this by focusing on different forms of police misconduct. In addition, it explores integrity in an Asian democracy with the police agency undergoing extensive reform.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

Tom McEwen

Analyzes policies from 96 law enforcement agencies on their use of less‐than‐lethal force. Includes a review of several topics: policy purpose, definitions of lethal and…

Abstract

Analyzes policies from 96 law enforcement agencies on their use of less‐than‐lethal force. Includes a review of several topics: policy purpose, definitions of lethal and less‐than‐lethal force, provisions for authorized and unauthorized weapons, training requirements, avoiding excessive force, medical aid and report requirements. Concludes that most policies are deficient in one or more topic areas. Provides recommendations on how to improve these policies.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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