Police Officer Allegedly Violates Protocol During Arrest

    Police Protocol Expert WitnessOn the date in question, officers were dispatched based on a report of a suspicious individual lurking in a wooded area near a suburban neighborhood of Georgia. After the officers made contact with the individual, the suspect fled into the woods on foot, at which point the officers gave chase. According to the officer’s report, the suspect was discovered under a bush, at which time a Taser was deployed. The suspect had two punctures surrounded by burns on his back. Some time after the taser was deployed, the decedent was shot multiple times in the back by unidentified officers on the scene. The plaintiff alleges the officers were not justified in use of excessive force against the decedent, firing an excessive amount of rounds into his back at a time when he was incapacitated by the Taser.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. How do you determine when it is necessary to use a firearm or deadly force on a potential suspect?
    • 2. What is the standard protocol when confronting and potentially apprehending a suspect?
    • 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
    • 4. Please tell us why you’re qualified to serve as an expert reviewer of this case.

    Expert Witness Response E-011457

    The case law that controls the use of deadly force uses a reasonable officer’s judgment.  In every state that I am aware of, an officer (and or citizen) may only use deadly force to prevent the unlawful use of deadly force against them or a third party, or if the suspect is endeavoring to escape and poses a deadly risk to other persons.  The officer must have a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary. There is really no “standard protocol” to how officers respond. Training varies throughout the country.  The keys in this case will hinge on what was reasonable for the officer on the scene to conclude given the circumstances. You must examine the department’s written policy and gauge whether or not they were in compliance with the policy.  If the policy is constitutionally defective, you now retain liability to the agency. To establish training liability under Federal Law, it is required you demonstrate that the agency acted with deliberate indifference to adequate training and should have foreknown that the inadequate training might lead to an offense. Training must be relevant, recent and feasible.

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