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Law Enforcement Accountability for Use of Bad Tactics and Changes in Standards for Law Enforcement Initiated Deaths

WHEREAS, law enforcement officers are trained on various levels of force, including less than lethal weaponry, self-defense procedures, and de-escalation training; and 

WHEREAS, Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, the officer may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless "the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others;" and

WHEREAS, as a result of Tennessee v. Garner, law enforcement officers simply must state that they feared for their life after shooting a person; and 

WHEREAS, existing law authorizes a law enforcement officer to use reasonable force to effect arrest, prevent escape, or overcome resistance but does not require an officer to retreat or desist from an attempt to make an arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested; and 

WHEREAS, many law enforcement related homicides, deprive individuals of due process, while the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a public trial; and 

WHEREAS, law enforcement officers must be held accountable for the excessive use of force and/or unauthorized use of tactics which results in a homicide; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP, and all its units, will work to update legislative language to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the excessive use of force and/or unauthorized tactics which results in a homicide. 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will work to legislatively redefine the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable from the Tennessee v. Garner standard, to a standard that defines that a homicide is justified when the homicide is in self-defense, or the defense of another, consistent with the existing legal standard for self-defense.