§ 9.07 Beyond Warrants: Use of Force after Arrest

JurisdictionNorth Carolina
§ 9.07 Beyond Warrants: Use of Force after Arrest

After a suspect is arrested, he is often held in custody before trial. During that period, police officers may need to use force (or believe they need to use force) to ensure that he complies with their commands. What are the limits of this use of force? In Kingsley v. Hendrickson,69 the Supreme Court held that a pretrial detainee can prove that the use of force against him was excessive if he can show that the force "purposely or knowingly used against him was objectively unreasonable" under the circumstances. K was in jail awaiting trial on a drug charge, and he refused to leave his cell when police officers ordered him to do so. The officers forcibly handcuffed him, removed him from the cell, and then placed him face down on a bunk. The officers alleged that when they tried to remove the handcuffs he continued to be uncooperative, so they placed a knee on his back and then stunned him with a Taser gun for five seconds. K ultimately sued the officers for excessive use of force, arguing that their actions violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court held that there...

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