Steven Aftergood: CRS on Police Use of Force

Congressional Research Service, Law Enforcement
Steven Aftergood
Steven Aftergood

What are the constitutional limits on police use of force? What remedies are available when those limits are exceeded? And in light of recent episodes of police violence, how might the limits and the remedies be modified? Those questions are addressed in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“By the very nature of their job, law enforcement officers are tasked with using physical force to restrain individuals and protect themselves and others from harm,” the CRS report states. “Police officers must stop and seize violent suspects, serve search warrants in hostile environments, and maintain the peace and safety of the communities in which they serve.”

Yet “recent law enforcement-related deaths… have prompted a call for legal accountability against the officers involved in these killings, but also, more broadly, for systemic police reform on both the federal and state level.”

A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Police Use of Force: Rules, Remedies, and Reforms, October 30, 2015.