Attorney General October 17, 1995 Memorandum on Resolution 14 (Attachment)

POLICY STATEMENT
USE OF DEADLY FORCE

I. Permissible Uses. Law enforcement officers and correctional officers of the Department of Justice may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.

A. Fleeing felons. Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing subject if there is probable cause to believe: (1) the subject has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death, and (2) the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.

B. Escaping prisoners.

1. Unless force other than deadly force appears to be sufficient, deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a prisoner committed to the custody of the Attorney General or the Bureau of Prisons

a. if the prisoner is escaping from a secure institution or is escaping while in transit to or from a secure institution; or

b. if the prisoner is otherwise effecting his or her escape in a manner that poses an imminent danger to the safety of other prisoners, staff, or the public (such as by attempting to ignite explosives).

2. The use of deadly force is not permitted if the subject is in a non-secure facility or a facility under the control of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and (a) has not used or threatened the use of force likely to cause serious physical injury in his or her escape attempt, and (b) has not otherwise manifested an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or community.

3. The use of deadly force is not permitted if the subject is in transit to or from a non-secure facility and is not accompanied by persons who are in transit to or from a secure facility and the subject (a) has not used or threatened the use of force likely to cause serious physical injury in his or her escape attempt, and (b) has not otherwise manifested an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or community.

4. After an escape from the facility or vehicle and its immediate environs has been effected, officers attempting to apprehend the escaped prisoner may not use deadly force unless such force would otherwise be authorized in accordance with this policy.

C. Prison Unrest. Deadly force may be used to maintain or restore control of a prison or correctional institution when the officer reasonably believes that the intended subject of the deadly force is participating in a disturbance in a manner that threatens the safety of other inmates, prison staff, or other persons. The use of deadly force would be unreasonable and thus not permitted to quell a disturbance when force other than deadly force reasonably appears sufficient.

II. Non-Deadly Force. If other force than deadly force reasonably appears to be sufficient to accomplish an arrest or otherwise accomplish the law enforcement purpose, deadly force is not necessary.

III. Verbal Warning. If feasible and if to do so would not increase the danger to the officer or others, a verbal warning to submit to the authority of the officer shall be given prior to the use of deadly force.

IV. Warning Shots. Warning shots are not permitted outside of the prison context. In the prison context, warning shots may be fired within or in the immediate environs of a secure facility if there is no apparent danger to innocent persons: (A) if reasonably necessary to deter or prevent the subject from escaping from a secure facility; or (B) if reasonably necessary to deter or prevent the subject's use of deadly force or force likely to cause grievous bodily harm.

V. Vehicles.

A. Weapons may not be fired solely to disable moving vehicles

B. Weapons may be fired at the driver or other occupant of a moving motor vehicle only when:

1. The officer has a reasonable belief that the subject poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another; and

2. The public safety benefits of using such force outweigh the risks to the safety of the officer or other persons.

VI. Vicious Animals. Deadly force may be directed against dogs or other vicious animals when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.

VII. Rights of Third Parties. Nothing in this policy and the attached commentary is intended to create or does create an enforceable legal right or private right of action.


Resolution 14

Attachment B: (Commentary on the Use of Deadly Force in Non-Custodial Situations); (Commentary on the Use of Deadly Force in Custodial Situations)


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