With the many cases of unjustifiable police shootings making their way across the news, the question is arising as to when it is actually okay for a police officer to use deadly force. Can an officer shoot a harmless victim who is fleeing? Can an officer shoot an underage child who is clearly unarmed?

According to Oklahoma law, Title 21 §21-732, police officers are allowed to use deadly force while following the specific guidelines which have been outlined for them. The conditions in which an officer is allowed to use their weapons in a manner which may fatally harm their target are:

  • The officer is executing a penalty of death mandated by the court
  • The officer is trying to prevent the escape of a person they are attempting to arrest and this individual is a threat to themselves or society
  • The officer is trying to prevent the criminal from using their weapon
  • The officer is trying to protect other individuals in the area from obvious harm the criminal may be trying to cause
  • The officer is trying to prevent the escape of a convict who has committed a violent felony from prison

The rules regarding when an officer can use deadly force are actually pretty broad and this can be problematic and lead to many unnecessary deaths. Police officers are given so much leeway to decide on their own when the time is right to use their weapons because their job is often life-threatening and can be highly dangerous at times.

In order to protect themselves, officers need to be on high alert nearly all the time and this may lead them to be overly suspicious and make unnecessary moves. Unfortunately, this can often lead to the unnecessary death of otherwise harmless and innocent individuals.

The main factor which police officers have to consider when deciding to use their weapons in a potentially fatal manner is how dangerous the alleged criminal really is. If the alleged criminal is clearly armed and is acting rashly then officers have all the more leave to use their weapons. However, if the alleged criminal seems to be trying to flee and is clearly unarmed then the use of deadly force becomes a lot less justifiable.

What should I do if a police officer has wrongfully killed someone in my family?

If an officer has used deadly force on a person’s family members when their family member was clearly harmless and was complying with the officer, they should get in touch with a police brutality officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma in order to start the litigation process against the officer.

It’s never easy to lose a loved one, but knowing that a loved one was killed unjustly by someone acting under the color of law can be extremely traumatic. Even police officers need to be held accountable for their actions, especially when their actions resulted in the wrongful death of an individual. 

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