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question.jpgIn Criminal Law

When is it okay to use deadly force?

Police officers may use deadly force to prevent the escape of a felony suspect if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or others; however, if the suspect poses no deadly threat, deadly force is not permitted. A determination of whether a suspect poses a deadly threat takes into account the split-second decision making process, but also depends on the severity of the crime committed, whether the suspect is resisting or fleeing arrest, other circumstances surrounding the case, and objectively focuses on the actions of the officer without regard to the officer’s underlying intentions or motivations (in other words, even if the officer wanted to shoot a suspect because the officer didn’t like the suspect, so long as the circumstances justified it, deadly force is permissible).