When is a law enforcement fatal shooting justified?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2019 | Firm News |

You cannot avoid the news stories about fatal law enforcement shootings across the country. It seems everyone has a different opinion about them. However, it is not the opinions of the public that matter in such a case. The law is what is important, but you may wonder what makes a fatal shooting by law enforcement justifiable in California? 

NPR explains that the state recently passed a new law updating the standards by which the court judges fatal shootings by law enforcement. The previous rule was reasonableness. If a reasonable officer would also use deadly force in a situation, then it is justifiable. This left things open to interpretation and allowed for many fatal shootings of unarmed suspects. 

The new law requires deadly force to be necessary. This means an officer will try other methods first to solve the situation. He or she will take the time try to judge the situation first before acting. In general, it also means that if there is not a life in danger, then deadly force is not an option. Basically, it is about officers taking the time to consider what else they could do before ending a life. 

The change in the law from reasonable to necessary is similar to other laws across the country. Many locations allow the use of deadly force only when it is the last option and lives are in danger. However, in the moment, making such decisions is often difficult, which may lead to many debates over the new law. This information is for education and is not legal advice.