October 2, 2015
Issue: Did Officer White use excessive force when he chose to shoot Nicholas in the back while he tried to escape?
Rule: Excessive force by a law enforcement officer is a violation of a person's constitutional rights. The term excessive force is not precisely defined; however, the use of force greater than that which a reasonable and prudent law enforcement officer would use under the circumstances is generally considered to be excessive. In most cases, the minimum amount force required to achieve a safe and effective outcome during law enforcement procedures is recommended.
Analysis: Considering in most cases that the minimum amount of force that is required to ...view middle of the document...
Therefore officer white only knew for sure that two individual suspects were armed and was not even aware of a third individual suspect also in the store. With that being said Officer White also did not state if he could remember exactly how the two suspects looked since considering that they both had on hoodies and masks. Without knowing which two suspects were exactly armed officer white had to make an assumption on which suspect was armed with a box cutter when all three suspects exited the Family Dollar. With the two suspects walking within arms length of the lead suspect armed with a gun and hostage Officer White clearly made an assumption that the suspect who decided to flee on foot was armed with a box cutter and then decided to shoot him three times in the back. Not only was Officer White wrong for assuming that the fleeing suspect was armed with a box cutter but he was also wrong for gambling with a possible unarmed suspect’s life by firing at him three times. In addition to gambling with a possible unarmed suspect’s life Officer White chose to fire three to four times 15-20ft. away from the suspect with a Baltimore School Police weapon that is usually considered to be a 9mm. handgun which is known to be very deadly and agile when used at close range. Another issue is that Officer White chose to shoot a suspect who was fleeing and not posing a threat to his safety in any way, which didn’t give him the right to choose to fire at the fleeing suspect three to four times.
Conclusion: Officer White did commit excessive force considering he fired three to four times and shot the suspect three times in the back not knowing for sure if he was armed or posing a threat to the Officer White, the hostage or any bystanders.