Broward, FL- A 22-year-old college student was shot and killed by police in South Florida after fleeing from the scene of an accident and ramming into a police officer. The shooting which took place in Miami Beach on October 9, 2017. The incident raises the question: When are officers allowed to use deadly force?
College Student Shoot by Police After Fleeing Traffic Crash
The shooting was the culmination of troubling incidents that began to play out around 6 p.m. in a busy area of Miami Beach. It all began when the 22-year-old driver sped into traffic and rammed into two vehicles, according to the Bradenton Herald.
After striking the first car, she ran a red light and struck another car before accelerating into the crowd that gathered to give aid to the victims of the first collision. When she accelerated into the crowd, she struck MBPD officer who suffered severe injuries.
After ramming into the police officer, his partner shot at the woman’s car several times to stop her. The woman, originally from Bowie, Maryland, was shot and was taken to the hospital for treatment, but she did not survive, according to the Bradenton Herald.
The occupants of both vehicles suffered only minor injuries.
The injured officer was released from the hospital on Monday.
Police are questioning the deceased driver’s passenger to determine what was the motive behind her actions.
When Can Officers Use Deadly Force?
The incident above was tragic and it raises the question of when deadly force is appropriate. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have different rules dictating when the use of deadly force is permissible. Federal standards apply to all police forces in the U.S. including the Broward County Police Department, but local agencies are set standards of their own.
Miami Beach Police was prohibited from shooting at moving vehicles in 2014 after an incident in which officers unloaded over a hundred bullets into the car of a man they said sideswiped several vehicles. However, police officials carved out an exception to that rule if a motorist is attempting to ram their vehicle into a crowd.
Federal standards for when the use of deadly force can be used was established by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, Graham v. Connor. The defendant in the case was pulled over and handcuffed by police during an investigatory traffic stop but was eventually released. The officer observed the man walk into a convivence store and quickly leave because the line was too long, so he conducted a traffic stop to see why the man stormed out of the store. The defendant argued that the officer violated his Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Justices considered the fact that police officers must make quick decisions and determined that officers should use an “objective reasonableness” standard when conducting a traffic stop or think about using force to stop a suspect. That standard means officers should make their decisions based on what any reasonable officer would do in the same situation and should be applied when civilians file excessive use of force claims.
Most police departments have a policy that you don’t shoot a suspect unless there are exigent circumstances, meaning deadly force should only be used when a person is threatening the lives of others.
Do I Have an Excessive Use of Force Claim?
Police are supposed to enforce the law and keep citizens safe and to do that, they must have some latitude to perform their duties, subdue combative or fleeing suspects and use deadly force when public safety is in danger. So not all physical altercations are considered excessive use of force and not all deadly shootings are the wrongful use of deadly force.
If you think you have a valid use of force complaint, contact a police brutality attorney in Broward County, Florida and set up a consultation. At USAttorneys.com, you can find a local lawyer to look at the facts of your case and decide which course of action you should pursue.