Billy Bad Boy
The current imprudent cases of police gunfire have increased disturbing queries concerning when police are required to use violent force on a suspect. A few of these police shootings depict outrageous brutality. On the other hand, some may demonstrate tight cases. In what ways can we make a determination on the circumstance in which a police officer can open fire to a suspect (American Bar Association, 2018)? When can we say that a police shooting is a lawful killing, and when is such a killing illegal? This essay will analyze whether or not Officer Smith’s shooting was justified and how the officer could have responded.
Tennessee Vs. Garner
In the latter part of 3rd October 1974, two Officers from the Memphis Police Department, namely Elton Hymon and Leslie Wright were sent to a break-in call. When Officer Hymon saw suspect Edward Garner running away, he shot him in the back of his head, killing him instantly. Garner was not armed, although he ignored orders by Office Hymon to stop (Flanders and Welling, 2015).
Using the Standard Developed by The Court in Tennessee Vs. Garner, Discuss Whether or Not the Officer Was Justified in Using Deadly Force in This Case.
Garner’s father sued for civil rights violations and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the law was applied unconstitutionally. Additionally, the court also determined that the Police Officer had violated Garner’s constitutional rights by shooting him. Garner’s father appealed this decision at the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court determined that under the Fourth Amendment, an officer of the law should not use violent force against an unarmed suspect who is running away to escape. Using the principles advanced by the court in Tennessee Vs. Garner, Officer Smith was unlawful in using violent force. The Supreme Court had recommended that States should eliminate similar laws that allow police to violate the Fourth Amendment (Tennenbaum, 1994) .
What other options did Officer Smith have in this case?
In this case, Officer Smith had several options. First, he could have let the suspect go instead of using violent force that could result in the suspect’s death (Flanders and Welling, 2015). Billy Bad Boy did not pose a danger to the Officer’s life. Secondly, Officer Smith could have first let Billy Bad Boy go, then follow him to know his hideouts. Billy Bad Boy did not pose a threat to another person’s life. Billy could still have been captured through police intelligence. Third, Officer Smith could have taken photos of Billy Bad Boy, then laid a plan on how to arrest him. In these ways, Officer Smith would have acted within the constitution. A fourth option is that Officer Smith could have pursued the suspect and handcuffed him as he was trying to start his scooter (Farber, 2014).
Was Officer Smith’s response reasonable given what we know?
Officer Smith’s response was irrational, because it led to the death of an unarmed suspect, who did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the police officer or community (Farber, 2014). Police officers are only allowed to fire their gun at a suspect if they are protecting their life or that of another person, or when they want to prevent a suspect who is considered a danger to the public from escaping.
How else could he have responded?
Officer Smith could have just let the suspect go and shoot the scooter’s tires instead. In this case, the suspect wouldn’t have been able to escape with the case of beer. The scooter would have been detained at the police station as they search for its owner or Billy. The Officer would then pursue the suspect to his hideout using the police patrol car.
Conclusion This essay analyzed whether or not Officer Smith’s shooting was justified and how the officer could have responded. The circumstances under which Billy Bad Boy was shot did not meet the constitutional requirements of a police shooting. Police can only fire under two situations. If they are trying to protect their own lives or that of an uninvolved part, or when the suspect is a danger to others. Billy Bad Boy deserved to be punished, not to be disabled. Shooting Billy bad boy was excessive and unjustifiable. Billy successfully established that Officer Smith made him to become paralyzed by shooting him in the lower back near the spinal cord, instead of arresting and detaining him to face prosecution and conviction in a court of law.