What determines whether force used by law enforcement is excessive?
Police officers are only allowed to use that level of force which is necessary to effectuate a lawful arrest. A good rule of thumb is that a police officer can only use the level of force that is being used in resistance to that arrest. Almost all police departments have a use of force continuum, which tells the police officers when they can elevate their level of force in certain situations from, say, the minimum force of officer presence all the way up to deadly force. There in between would be the use of tasers, batons, open hand tactics, closed hand tactics, things such as that. They are only allowed to use the level of force necessary to place that person under arrest.
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