On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in blog on Thursday, April 5, 2018.

In America, every person has the right to fair treatment from police – even if they are suspected of a crime. However, the law allows police to take extreme action in an emergency. These dangerous situations may require lethal force in order to stop a catastrophe.

Unfortunately, many California residents believe that police officers have abused this power. The law must balance safety with rights, but residents are doubtful that it has protected everyone in the aftermath of several deaths. Now, lawmakers are considering a new policy that would limit how much force an officer can use against a citizen.

When can police use lethal force right now?

According to current laws, police can shoot a citizen whenever they feel that deadly force is “reasonable.” The trouble with this rule is that police might not always use good judgment if they panic or misunderstand a situation. As a result, citizens could die while innocent or without a fair trial. After the fact, the law might not always hold police accountable for their actions. Some residents suggest that this rule encourages police to shoot suspects more often than necessary.

How would the new law protect citizens?

The new policy would change the rules for deadly force. Instead of acting on a “reasonable” suspicion, police officers would only be able to use the “necessary” amount of force. Officers may be more likely to face punishment for using deadly force if the citizen was not a critical threat to someone’s safety. This might reduce fatal police shootings in California and protect citizens from harm.

Police must respect your rights

Whether police pull someone over for a minor traffic violation or confront them with serious criminal charges, officers must not violate their constitutional rights. Citizens deserve a fair trial and the ability to defend themselves in a court of law.