Deadly Force in American Policing Analytical Essay

Deadly Force in American Policing
An analytical paper on the use of deadly force by American police.
# 119177 | 2,653 words | 6 sources | APA | 2009 | US
Published on Apr 08, 2010 in Law (Criminal) , Law (General) , Criminology (General)

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An analysis of deadly force in American policing including policies in different jurisdictions and departments. The paper includes an analysis of statistics and comparisons of deadly force incidents among departments with varying numbers of officers, serving in various sizes of cities -- Washington D.C., New York City.

From the Paper:

"At the same time as we delegate the use of force to police officers, we expect those officers to use that force judiciously. In the guidelines for every police department there is language that states that each and every citizen's life has value. Society does not take lightly police officers' use of excessive or unnecessary force. If, in an instant heat of the moment, an officer makes the fatal decision to intentionally use deadly force, to shoot to kill, he must later justify his action. A killing by an officer, lacking jury or judge, will later be minutely scrutinized from all angles. An internal affairs investigation begins immediately after a fatal shooting. If there is public outcry that the use of deadly force was not justified, the officer will be demonized as "trigger happy". If the public and the media support the officer's action, he will be pronounced a hero. (DOJ 2002)
"Surprisingly, the technical legal definition of what constitutes deadly force varies from one police department to another. In some jurisdictions, there must be officer intent for a killing to be considered deadly force. The officer must have aimed his weapon, fired, and killed; or intentionally run over someone with his vehicle and killed; for the killing to be considered deadly force. Other jurisdictions include in their definition of deadly force, force which results in death, whether the death was intentional or not. The use of chokeholds, for example, have been banned in many jurisdictions, because of the number of deaths they cause. Likewise, the use of pepper spray, while an offender is in restraints, has caused a number of deaths, and also has been banned by many departments. The list goes on. People have died after being shot by police Tasers. The Taser, generally considered a non-lethal weapon, can in fact be lethal if used on certain people. People with drugs in their systems or those that suffer from certain medical conditions have died from being shot by the "non-lethal Taser". An officer has no way of knowing what an individual may have ingested, or an individual's medical condition before he shoots."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Aveni, Thomas. (December 2006). "Contagious Fire: Fact & Fiction". Police Policies Study Council. Retrieved from
  • Department of Justice. (2002). "Police Use of Excessive Force, A Conciliation Handbook for the Police and the Community". Retrieved from
  • Klinger, David. (June 2005). "Social Theory and the Street Cop: The Case of Deadly Force" American Policing. Number 7. Retrieved from
  • Leen, Jeff; Craven, Jo; Jackson, David; Horowitz, Sari;. "DC Police Lead Nation in Shootings, Lack of Training, Supervision Implicated as Factors" Washington Post. A- 15
  • Linder, Douglas (1993). "Famous Trials: Rodney King". Retrieved from

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Deadly Force in American Policing (2010, April 08) Retrieved January 31, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Deadly Force in American Policing" 08 April 2010. Web. 31 January. 2023. <>