Following the furor surrounding the death of Stephan Clarke, who was fatally shot by police in his family’s backyard recently, there has been some suggestion of California limiting the scenarios where police are entitled to open fire on a suspect. Lawmakers are currently looking at reducing the wording of the legislation from “reasonable force” to “necessary force”, meaning that police officers would only be permitted to fire where “there were no other reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force”, with the intent of reducing the risk of wrongful death by shooting. Under current law, it is very rare for police officers to be charged with injuring, or killing, someone, even where the incident has involved mistaken identity, a trend which the lawmakers in question are looking to change.
Of course, some of those police officers and other law enforcement officials permitted to use firearms oppose these proposed changes, which seem likely to be given the go-ahead. How do you feel about the changes?
Should police officers acting in the line of duty be immune from civil or criminal charges, or should they be liable for personal injury caused by their negligent or reckless actions?
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