The Tennessee v. Garner case (1985), regarding the use of deadly force was notable for a couple of important reasons. First because it brought out into the open the issue of excessive and/or deadly force by the police. The other reason it was important is because of the ruling, which basically banned the “indiscriminate use of deadly force” (Text. 198). The laws were much more clearly defined, and laid out in black and white what was and was not allowed, what was considered reasonable. The ruling in the Tennessee v. Garner case, besides defining these limits on the use of deadly force, “effectively put an end to any local police policy that allowed officers to shoot unarmed or otherwise nondangerous offenders if they resisted arrest or attempted to flee from police custody”(Text.198). Another development since the Tennessee v. Garner case (1985) is that we have seen the court system award punitive damage settlements in cases of excessive police force. For example damages were awarded in “Larez v. Los Angeles, 946 F2d 630 (9th Cir. 1991)” (Warren. 2004.475), and who can forget perhaps the most famous, Rodney King, of the King v. Marci Case, 993 F2d 294 (2nd. Cir.1993) (Warren.2004.475). King’s lawyer’s closing statement, regarding why he felt the award of punitive damages in the case was of such importance was “So that the defendant and others in the future…will no longer think they’re above the law, so that they won’t be arrogant, and think they can do whatever they want”(Warren.2004.475).
Since that time, “In general the justification for awarding punitive damages as articulated in King, have been upheld (Harden v. Potaki, 320 F3d 1289 (2003))”(Warren.2004.476). The use of excessive force will always be a concern to the citizen on many levels. These concerns can range from the role as innocent victims, in crossfire or chase situations, to confrontations over clear and present danger, and fighting words during protests and demonstrations. I do realize that in relation to the text book example, excessive force was discussed as a chase down scenario, but as the media evidence shows, such as the subway case where the officer shot the man in the back, the famous New York City groom shooting, etc… A variety of scenario cases, regarding excessive/deadly force continue to make the headlines.
Warren Kenneth F, (2004) Administrative Law in the Political System, Fourth Edition,
Edition: 4 revised Published by West View Press.