Free Following The American Psychological Association’s Guidelines Article Review Sample
Police Investigations of the Use of Deadly Force Can Influence Perceptions and Outcomes
The article, written by Shannon Bohrer and Robert Chaney attempts to examine officer’s involvement in cases where use of deadly force is present. Misconceptions about use of deadly force are mentioned, as are preconceived notions and suggestions concerning when an officer is directly involved in the use of deadly force, i.e. has been shot, or has fired a gun. The investigative process is also assessed in an effort to understand if one situation should be handled differently than any other.
According to the article, a perception of an officer involved in a shooting has much to do with who the individual is. Officers who have been involved in shootings, for example, had different perceptions of the shooting itself, but admitted that they were more prepared to draw their weapon and fire than they were for the investigation afterward . Many believed the investigation was leaning more in favor of the department or of charging the officer with a crime, than in showing the public no crime had been committed at all. This hesitance and resistance to interviews after deadly incidents could be a driving factor in why the public often have a negative view of officers involved in these conflicts. Typically the public judge officers based on the individual’s social status, as well as whom the officer shot. If the officer shoots an equally armed adult, the public will not judge the officer harshly. However, if the officer shoots a teen who is not armed as adequately, or who is not armed, the public will judge more harshly. Individuals from poor areas or areas where police brutality are a norm are also prone to judging offending officers more harshly. For these reasons, further investigation into these incidents involving officers is necessary.
The article outlines how the officers and their situations are investigated. The investigators are impartial to the situation, allowing them to collect neutral data. The crime scene is protected, as any other crime scene would be, in order to avoid tampering with evidence. Involved officers are removed to a secure location to make statements and fulfill their post-situation interview, while civilian witnesses are taken in for statements. Meanwhile, law enforcement will attempt to hold the media at bay because they typically attempt to report as soon as possible. In many cases, they are so eager to report, they give the public false information or rely on stereotypes, speculation, and unreliable testimony, effectively turning their reports into rumors.
Essentially, investigations of use with deadly force involving police officers are carried out almost exactly as investigations involving civilians. The only difference is that the officer or officers are removed, and give post-situation interviews. The question is whether these investigations should be conducted differently than when investigating use with a deadly force that involves two civilians and the answer is a resounding yes. The public’s idea of police officers involved in these situations is skewed based on many things. Whether it is their social status, neighborhood, or even previous experience with police officers, a variety of things can cause them to make a judgment before an investigation can even begin. Whom the officer shot often becomes more important than why the officer shot them, and the media contorts these situations for the benefit of ratings. Use of deadly force involving officers should be investigated, undoubtedly, but it should be done quietly before the public can begin strengthening already growing stereotypes about police officers doing their jobs.
The Exigent Circumstances Exception after Kentucky v. King
The Fourth Amendment grants American citizens certain rights, such as the right to privacy and a freedom from fear of random search and seizure. However, there is a loophole in the Fourth Amendment known as exigency, wherein an officer may unlawfully enter a domicile without a warrant. They must do so knowing that to wait would mean allowing a criminal to cause further harm, to allow evidence to be tampered with, etc. Kentucky v. King established further guidelines involving exigency when officers caused a situation where exigency was necessary due to their actions .
Citizens did not appear thrilled with the exigency loophole, and were not even sure of its boundaries once it became a better-known facet of the Fourth Amendment. United Stated v. Rengifo was the first case to establish officers could enter a home without a warrant if they believed waiting to obtain one would harm their case, their primary objective, evidence, or would allow the suspect to continue committing harm . It was the first clarity Americans received, though it did little to quell their nerves, which were further rattled in 2010 when officers continued to push the boundaries of exigency.
Lexington, Kentucky officers attempted to buy cocaine outside of a complex. After the exchange had been made, the decoys instructed the uniformed officers to apprehend the swiftly exiting dealer. Unfortunately, he had hastily shown himself into an apartment on the right side of the apartment complex’s breezeway. The uniformed officers did not hear this and, smelling marijuana coming from the apartment on the left. After banging on the door and hearing voices and scurrying, they barged in . They found the defendant, as well as a number of drugs, money, and drug paraphernalia, all of which the defendant filed to have removed from the record because the police had entered without a warrant. Though the lower courts refused his requests, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling, citing that the police had created an exigent situation in bad faith. They had set up the drug dealer, and they had announced themselves. Therefore, it was feasible that the individuals inside the apartment would attempt to destroy any evidence. The courts decided officers could not set up suspects in bad faith, nor could they create situations wherein exigency was necessary. They must come upon an exigent situation without creating it or otherwise be considered unlawful.
In sum, King v. Kentucky set a new precedent for exigency, further defining the law for officers. While it is clear that many citizens will never fully agree with exigency, many were thankful for the continuing clarity offered by the court ruling. Though it may not have felt like they were regaining full rights, it granted a better understanding of where citizens stood in the eyes of the law and just how compromised the Constitution and the Amendments have become over the years. Entering into an individual’s home without a warrant will always seem like a breach of an American citizen’s rights, but I believe the right call was made when the courts granted further restrictions to exigency. The ideal call would have been to eliminate exigency completely, and allow American citizens to retain their original amount of freedom. Decades passed without an officer’s job being compromised because they were unable to enter an individual’s home without a warrant. Despite this obvious fact, police should not be allowed to create situations where exigency has been a created situation; if they knowingly enter stings understanding they will breach warrant processes, it is no longer exigency, but an unlawful practice that must be ended.
Bohrer, S., & Chaney, R. (2010). Police Investigations of the Use of Deadly Force Can Influence Perceptions and Outcomes. Retrieved from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: http://leb.fbi.gov/2010/january/police-investigations-of-the-use-of-deadly-force-can-influence-perceptions-and-outcomes
Pettry, M. T. (2012). The Exigent Circumstances Exception After Kentucky v. King. Retrieved from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: http://leb.fbi.gov/2012/march/the-exigent-circumstances-exception-after-kentucky-v.-king
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