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"Resisting" and Use of Force

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  • "Resisting" and Use of Force

    This is a simple concept.

    Once "Force" has been used by the police, the question of whether or not the suspect complied becomes irrelevant. At that point the only question that really matters is "Was the amount of force used necessary based on the situation."

    Comply with the cops/Don't Resist are things you do to minimize the risk of use of force used against you. But once used, it's no longer relevant.

    Use an extreme example. A suspect in brief underwear only, is laying on the ground, hands out in front. One hand is brought behind the back and cuffed. The suspect resists putting his other hand back for cuffing. The cop shoots him. There is no way that "he should've put his hand behind his back for cuffing" is relevant to the amount of force used. That's not the question that needs to be asked. The question is "Given the situation, was shooting the suspect the correct amount of force to be applied?"

    In the extreme example, the answer is an obvious "No". There is no reason to justify that shooting. Pointing out that the suspect should have just put his other hand back doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion. At best, well after the fact you can show that non-compliance makes you more vulnerable to police use of force, but that doesn't do anything to justify that use of force.


  • #2
    There is a use of force continuum that police officers use.

    And shooting someone for not putting their hand behind their back is not a valid use of force.

    https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/use-force-continuum

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
      This is a simple concept.

      Once "Force" has been used by the police, the question of whether or not the suspect complied becomes irrelevant. At that point the only question that really matters is "Was the amount of force used necessary based on the situation."
      Well, the actual phraseology is "only sufficient force as is necessary to effect the arrest". Placing handcuffs on somebody requires a degree of force that will escalate in accordance to the person's cooperation or resistance. So, it's not so much "was force justified" but "was excessive force used".

      Comply with the cops/Don't Resist are things you do to minimize the risk of use of force used against you. But once used, it's no longer relevant.

      Use an extreme example. A suspect in brief underwear only, is laying on the ground, hands out in front. One hand is brought behind the back and cuffed. The suspect resists putting his other hand back for cuffing. The cop shoots him. There is no way that "he should've put his hand behind his back for cuffing" is relevant to the amount of force used. That's not the question that needs to be asked. The question is "Given the situation, was shooting the suspect the correct amount of force to be applied?"

      In the extreme example, the answer is an obvious "No". There is no reason to justify that shooting. Pointing out that the suspect should have just put his other hand back doesn't really contribute anything to the discussion. At best, well after the fact you can show that non-compliance makes you more vulnerable to police use of force, but that doesn't do anything to justify that use of force.
      And, another point --- the suspect actually becomes more dangerous to the officer once "half cuffed" --- if he has one half of the handcuffs on, and breaks away, those handcuffs become a weapon that the suspect can use against the officer. So, it's not just a binary "handcuffed or not". The threat INCREASES when the suspect is being handcuffed, then is lessened when the handcuffing is finished, and you'll often see the officer, after successfully cuffing, use the pointy end of the handcuff key to "lock" the handcuffs in position so the subject cannot ratchet them tighter in attempt to justify a brutality charge.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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      • #4
        What I'm trying to get across is that there's a heightened sense of danger once you commit to putting the handcuffs on somebody -- it's at THAT point that they have to make a very quick calculation about how badly they do NOT want to go to jail, so it's pretty much forcing the issue.

        And if you think about the open end of the handcuffs being whipped around, or held as a weapon to slash and cut --- it's pretty intense from the time you get the first one on to the time the second one is complete. (not to mention when you're cuffing a particularly "Plus Size" individual, and you have to string 2 or 3 pair of handcuffs together so you don't dislocate their shoulder trying to get both hands behind their back.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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