Law enforcement carries equipment to help them perform their tasks. This includes their vehicle, detainment tools and their firearm. Each piece of equipment comes with certain policies that help frame when the use of this gear is appropriate.
Improper use of either equipment or policy may result in a case of excessive force. As NPR Illinois reports, that may be what happened according to a lawsuit over the case of police chasing and shooting a 13-year-old boy in the back.
Foot pursuit policies and other alternatives
A 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice found officers frequently engage in tactically unsound foot pursuits. These foot pursuits, as reform advocates claim, often lead officers to chase and shoot suspects who pose no threat.
Weak policy and poor training appear to be two of the main factors that lead to officers not taking safer alternatives. A police superintendent claimed officers fired after the boy turned to face them. The NPR report claims they shot him in the back, resulting in severe damage to his spine—possibly paralyzing him for life.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability listed other options that were available to the officers, such as establishing a perimeter to contain the boy or relying on their other resources like the nearby police helicopter that was in the area.
Excessive force allegations
When it comes to determining excessive force, it is important to recognize what types of force officers choose to use. It is also vital to understand the various rules surrounding each force type. It is a complicated topic and anyone that finds themselves in the middle of an excessive force case may find it necessary to lean on any and all resources to pursue the justice they deserve.