Police Quarterly Volume: 14 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 323-343
This article examines the reasonableness standard by examining the ability of police officers to respond to armed suspects.
When the police use deadly force, their actions are judged by the reasonableness standard. This article seeks to inform the reasonableness standard by examining the ability of police officers to respond to armed suspects. The results of a reaction time experiment are presented. In this experiment, police officers encountered a suspect armed with a gun, pointing down and not at the police officer. The police officer had his gun aimed at the suspect and ordered the suspect to drop the gun. The suspect then either surrendered or attempted to shoot the officer. The speed with which the officer fired if the suspect chose to shoot was assessed. Results suggest that the officers were generally not able to fire before the suspect. Implications for the reasonableness standard and policy are discussed. (Published Abstract)
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