An officer is given a great responsibility when they take the position as a law enforcement officer. Along with hours and months of training, the officer is asked to use many skills on a daily in order to follow and abiding by local protocol and respecting a person’s rights. One of the main things that an officer is taught is escalation of force. Escalation of force is a method for officers to use the minimal amount of force possible for the situation of hand. A good example is, “Physical conflicts tend to escalate. For example, as tit-for-tat exchanges between two children escalate, both will often assert that the other hit him or her harder” (Shergill, S. S., Bays, P. M., Frith, C. D., & Wolpert, D. M, 2003). Excessive use of force includes both physical and verbal altercations with any member of the general public when a law enforcement officer is exerting their authority beyond a reasonable and necessary level. (Brinkmeier, A, 2009).
One case that had an impact on history was the case of Graham v. Connor where it was sought that officer M.S. Connor, the responding officer on scene was accused of using excessive force on Dethorne Graham, the defendant on the night of November 12, 1984, while on his way to the convenience store in attempt to buy orange juice for an insulin reaction. Graham was at home working when he had an insulin reaction due to being diabetic. He asked one of his friends William Berry to drive him to the convenience store to buy some orange juice for his reaction. When Graham walked in and realized that the line was too long and didn’t want to have to wait he asked his Berry to take him to a friend’s house. Out of suspicion of Graham entering the store rapidly and exiting unusually quickly Connor followed the vehicle. He followed the vehicle and pulled it over about half a mile away. Graham who was suffering from an insulin reaction ran around the car and finally sat down on the curb to wake back up after passing out. He woke up faced down on the sidewalk with cuffs around his hands. When he woke up again and Connor leaned him up against the patrol car Graham tried to reach down to grab his diabetic card when he was slammed against the car. As a result of the whole incident, Graham ended up with a broken foot along with multiple injuries. Graham filed charges by the use of excessive force, unlawful assault, and unlawful restraint consulting false imprisonment.
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