Police Liability: Recent Developments under Section 1983

Police Liability: Recent Developments under Section 1983
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-02-07
Unit 1Slide Deck: Police Liability: Recent Developments under Section 1983
Unit 2Workbook: Police Liability, Recent Developments under Section 1983
Unit 3Recording: Police Liability: Recent Developments under Section 1983

Use of force is one of those cases that is always open for public debate. Law enforcement is scrutinized so many times for such incidents. Numerous factors are considered, and for some reason, it seems like one of those situations where one party cannot quite be better off without one worse off – it’s either the safety of the officers or of the person that law enforcement is faced with.

This course’s esteemed resource is Wayne C. Beyer. Wayne is a litigator, author, presenter, and former administrative appeals judge. He has extensive experience in police misconduct and corrections cases where he served as the lead counsel. He is well-known for his expertise – he has written law review and magazine articles and is the author of the book Police Misconduct: A Practitioner’s Guide to Section 1983; and has presented on the topic at national programs for Georgetown University Law Center, the Defense Research Institute, and numerous webinars just to name a few.

Wayne lays down the most important points and issues related to use of force and its legal ramifications. Specifics that he delved into include:

  • A primer on U.S.C. Section 1983 that covers:
    • An individual’s federal civil rights when in contact with law enforcement and potential deprivation of federal rights.
    • Defining the critical components of ‘Under Color of Law’ and Federal Rights – specifically, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Fifteenth Amendments.
    • The common types of damages that a plaintiff may recover in such cases.
  • The latest Supreme Court cases and decisions that may impact law enforcement’s works and serve as precursor for future use of force cases.
  • Graham v. Connor, the lead case for use of force that gave rise to the Graham Standard of Objective Reasonableness and how this applies to use of force incidents.
  • The National Consensus Policy on Use of Force that provides a general statement of principles to consider when creating an agency’s policy, training, and procedures.
  • Best practices to adapt to prevent potential use of force issues when using tasers and other Electronic Control Weapons (ECWs).
  • Dealing with deadly force and the critical concept of the provocation rule when deadly force is used on an individual.
  • Considerations, consensus policy, and best practices when handling Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDPs).
  • Integrating the U.S.C Section 1983 provisions with those of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The concept of Municipal Liability brought about by an agency’s deliberate indifference to train on de-escalation and crisis intervention skills and proficiency.
  • Guidelines and consensus policy when dealing with individuals in moving vehicles.
  • How Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) can aid law enforcement in use of force incidents.
  • Numerous resources to serve as guidelines for law enforcement agencies in their policies, practices and other aspects discussed.
  • Wayne clarified on the attendees’ questions on:
    • The length and breadth of training that law enforcement must go through.
    • The probability of personal liability.
    • Acquiring and adapting newer equipment and continuing use of discontinued equipment models.
    • The content and scope of training.
    • Whether having a mental health support team is more of an asset or liability to an agency.
Additional Resources
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