Use of Excessive Force in Arizona

two police cars blocking street - use of excessive force by police

Use of Excessive Force in Arizona

Having an encounter with law enforcement can be a rattling experience all on its own, and can be life-altering in a scenario that involves the use of force. When the police use excessive force, it is extremely important to know your rights. Staying informed can help you make the right choices when dealing with the police, and alert you to situations where you need to call a lawyer.


Arizona Ranks High in Police Use of Excessive Force 

Reports of excessive force by law enforcement officers are on the rise in Arizona. Last year, the Justice Department announced that they were opening an investigation into the use of excessive force by police in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The investigation took a close look at the alleged misconduct by officers against the public. Several instances specifically involved the use of excessive force by police officers against homeless people in the Phoenix area. 

The department of justice promised that the use of excessive force would decrease. However,  ABC Arizona reported in March of 2022 that “Phoenix rates #1 in deadly use of force compared to other major departments.” 


What Is Considered Use of Excessive Force?

To define the use of excessive force, we first need to understand that there is a certain amount of force that police are legally able to use. In any given scenario, they must assess the appropriate amount of force necessary to defuse the situation. 

For example, traffic stops for a missing tail light should not require the use of force, whereas a situation with a shooter could necessitate the use of force, even deadly force. Brandishing a firearm is considered a dangerous offense, and most often is met with force. However, anything that goes over the justifiable amount of force is considered excessive. 

Some possible examples of excessive force include:

  • Using force before issuing a verbal warning
  • Violence against a suspect who is in custody
  • Threats of violence to suspects in custody
  • Using force when another solution would have had the same outcome
  • Using force when no crime is being committed


Penalties for Using Excessive Force

Penalties for officers facing excessive force charges vary from county to county and case to case. It is often difficult to prove that excessive force was used, especially if there are no witnesses. There are many cases when a jury sided with the officer based on the limited amount of evidence. Penalties for officers ranged from suspensions, to fines, and to the loss of their jobs. 


Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona 

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a life-altering moment for most, especially when excessive force is involved. Working with a good lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the justice system will make your life a bit calmer.  With over 25 years of experience in criminal law, Todd Coolidge will help you through every step of the process. If you were involved in a situation where excessive force was used, contact our offices for a consultation at 602-795-0770.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/30/22). Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash.