Excessive Force and Arrest – Can You Resist an Officer?
If the police use excessive force to carry out an arrest, this information may become the subject of a police brutality suit. In the majority of states, arrestees can resist only in very limited circumstances. If an arresting officer engages in excessive force that could be categorized as causing great bodily harm, the arrestee does have the right to defend herself or himself.
This is because the use of excessive force is in many ways identified as battery or assault, which a victim may defend themselves against. Excessive force is defined as “that which will lead to unjustifiable serious injury” and many states will use the reasonable person rules such as whether or not a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have believed that the use of force could cause great physical harm.
If a court does determine that an arrestee was entitled to resist excessive force, the determination then becomes whether or not the force used was appropriate or not. There are exceptions to discourage people from fighting with police, although these exceptions are extremely rare. It is strongly recommended that you do not resist the police unless they are going above and beyond in their pursuit of you and this could lead to possible injuries.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.