Police officers in Somerset County and all other counties within the state of NJ have been “granted the extraordinary authority to use force when necessary” while performing their duties, however, they still have certain guidelines they must follow when doing so. For instance, it is the State of New Jersey’s policy that “law enforcement officers will use only that force which is objectively reasonable and necessary” and that they should “exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to the use of force.” Now, there are different types of force a NJ officer can apply, three of which we are going to discuss with you below.
- Physical Force
An officer is permitted to apply physical force when they find that it is necessary to “overcome a subject’s physical resistance to the exertion of the law enforcement officer’s authority, or to protect persons or property.” If none of the circumstances exist, an officer should not need to apply any level of physical force. Some examples of what might constitute as physical force include:
- Wrestling a resisting suspect to the ground.
- Using wrist locks or arm locks.
- Striking a suspect with their hands or feet.
- Other methods of hand-to-hand confrontation.
Officers who resort to punching, choking, or any other types of physical force that are meant to injure a suspect rather than gain control over them could be found guilty of applying excessive force.
- Mechanical Force
Officers can also apply force in other ways aside from getting physical with a suspect. Rather than use their own bodies as a tool to gain control over a suspect, officers can employ mechanical force which “involves the use of some device or substance, other than a firearm, to overcome a suspect’s resistance to the exertion of the law enforcement officer’s authority.”
Some examples of mechanical force include:
- Using a baton or other object.
- Having a canine make physical contact with the suspect.
- Using a chemical or natural agent spray such as pepper spray.
- Deadly Force
Deadly force should be an officer’s last resort as it is used to “create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.” When an officer shoots his/her firearm at a suspect, it is expected that they have already exhausted all other options before doing so.
When a Use of Force Becomes a Case of Excessive Force
Given the nature of a police officer’s job, they often find themselves having to decide in a matter of seconds whether applying force is required in a given situation which means some officers don’t always have the grounds to use it but still do. And anything that is considered to be beyond reasonable and exceeds the amount of force that should be applied in any given circumstance is considered excessive. In the event a Somerset County, NJ police officer applied excessive force against you or a family member of yours and you are looking to file a complaint against him/her or recognize them for their misconduct in another way, you will want to speak with a police brutality lawyer.
A police brutality attorney in Somerset County, NJ can help you explore the options that are available to you that would allow you to acknowledge a police officer for engaging in unethical or unlawful behavior. To get connected with a legal expert in your area who is qualified and capable of taking on a police misconduct case, contact the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. today.
You can reach the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. at:
354 Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 2025
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 567 0954