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The State Law Standard

The State Law Standard

(p.58) 2 The State Law Standard
Evaluating Police Uses of Force
Seth W. StoughtonJeffrey J. NobleGeoffrey P. Alpert
NYU Press

Nearly all police agencies and the vast majority of officers derive their authority from state law, making state law a relevant and important standard to consider in the evaluation of police uses of force. State statutes and judicial decisions set out specific rules for police uses of force, but there is significant variety across the fifty states with regard to when officers can use force and the amount of force they can use. An officer in Delaware, for example, could be arrested for using the kind of force that an officer in Florida would be legally entitled to use. This chapter analyzes the many different state-law justifications for both less-lethal and lethal force, providing useful categorizations of state law and extensive citations to both statutory and common law authority.

Keywords:   common law, less-lethal force, lethal force, police uses of force, state law, state jurisprudence, statutory authority

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