California cops will only be allowed to kill people when "necessary" as opposed to the old "reasonable"

Originally published at:


I’m glad that’s finally cleared up once and for all. Whew.



Yeah, I mean look ANYTHING helps but this reads like baton twirling.




Hrm - and yet you have the NYPD Union guy saying something like, “How can we control aggressive suspects if we can’t use illegal choke holds?”

Mmm, I think as far as legal language goes, it makes a difference. “Reasonable” means there is more room for error. “Necessary” means there was no other choice. Personally I think they should at least PRESENT the weapon before lethal force is used.


Yes, but it’s the same people who made the “reasonable” call are making the “necessary” call. it’s still subjective and prone to abuse, I’d argue.

Cops have been known to plant weapons on murdered suspects…


By “they” I’m assuming you mean the suspect in the moment, and not the cops after the guy is dead.

Either way, unless there are body cams or other recorded proof, I expect weapons to be “found” more often if their ability to kill with impunity has been slightly impeded.

I’m not saying they will plant guns and knives, but they will plant guns and knives.


At least that’s still nominally illegal.

One of the most sickening aspects of police brutality in America is how much of it is explicitly permitted under current law.


It definitely is. But it’s also harder to hand wave investigating the incident. And if cops have to move to planting evidence more often to justify what they’ve done they’re more likely to screw up at some point and get caught.


I agree, but there has to be a legal line somewhere. No matter where one sets it, there is going to be grey area, and not every case is going to be clear cut. I think with the advent of police cams we at least have a better chance of a jury making the proper call. I mean, i acknowledge cops deal with people who are violent and trying to hurt them or others, but not every example of cops using lethal force is warranted. I just want those bad cases to be held accountable.

Planting weapons is nothing new and I don’t think what I proposed would make it more or less common. Body cams are going to make it less likely, or at least if one has to PRESENT a weapon (and by present I mean begin to raise a weapons), it would be in the video.

But what I am talking about is we have several cases WITH police cams where police shoot a suspect and they either don’t have a weapon visible, or in some cases just holding it. Several of these are “suicide by cop”, where they refuse to drop a knife or gun, but have it at their side. Some are just on the suspicion of a weapon (which may or may not be there). Now I realize that 1) Even just holding a knife, one can get stabbed very quickly, and 2) one can raise and fire very quickly. But in many of these cases the cops had drawn weapons and I think they were too quick to fire. YMMV.

One egregious example I am thinking of is a guy in Wichita, KS, who was being SWATed and was shot on his porch while the cops were at least 40-50 yards away, under cover, with rifles. He wasn’t armed.


I don’t think the problem is the legal line, though. The problem is the thin blue line, which is reinforces the “us vs. them” mindset of many police departments.

As long as we have citizen oversight, I agree. The authoritarian mindset that can sometimes be found in juries, and prosecutors that seek to stack on juries, need to go too.

Yes. Many, many, MANY, are not, and they will keep making excuses and covering up crimes as long as the mentality of authoritarianism pervades modern policing.

I’m not sure shortening the loophole helps, when we’re not dealing with the deep problems of police culture that makes all of this okay. Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but better training and probably not having beat cops have access to deadly force in the first place would be a bigger step in the right direction.

It’s a lack of belief that their job is to protect the public, but rather to preserve the thin blue line. They seek the public as the enemy when members of the public refuse to act with proper deference.


It should be a felony if any body-cam is disabled or broken. If it’s broken, you don’t go on shift until you have a working one. If it’s disabled, that’s definitely a felony. I don’t understand how we live in a world where almost everybody has a camera in their pocket, but thugs walking around with guns can’t seem to keep one operational.


Agreed. Provided they are always on and can’t be tampered with, or aren’t obscured at an inopportune time. Video storage is not the problem it used to be. But shady cops being shady are still a problem.

Also agreed. It just seems like they rarely are. I can think of several recent incidences of cops getting away with murder, and can’t think of any recently where a cop ended up in jail for excessive use of force. Hopefully the cop who shot the kid in the back in my city a couple weeks ago will.

Assuming the above; that there is a video being made and that it isn’t turned off before the killing occurs.

If there is no video, and it’s down to the words of the people involved, the person shot and killed is dead silent, and it seems cops stick together more often than not.

I feel like this change in wording is at best a minor difference. Maybe it will lead to fewer executions by cops. If so, great! I mean that. But I don’t expect it to change anything.

Like that one who forgot he was wearing a body cam when he “discovered” the weapon he just filmed himself planting. But that’s not as likely to happen as they get used to the system, and then find ways around it.


A small step in the right direction, small…


I think that would help. We also need civilian oversight to review body cam footage.

Yep. There need to be real consequences for murdering people. They can’t be above the law, or else it’s no longer a democracy in any meaningful way.


A minimum use of force principle must be established or we can start shutting down police departments. I can not tolerate criminal police. It would be better if ethical people protected themselves and each other if this basic ethical law can not be established.

How about this for a new guideline on when to use lethal force?

The only use of Lethal Force permitted is when there is a clear, present, and immediate danger to other human life.

I would clarify this to include cases when the person has already injured or killed someone (or attempted to) and they seem intent on doing it again; the guideline would be a lot looser.

Obviously, if non-lethal force can be used to resolve the situation then it should be used instead.

If Joe Q. Public would go to jail for shooting someone under the same circumstances, so should the cop. (Note that for this purpose, consider Joe to be a good-natured Black man, and the deceased is a young cute white woman.)


That is typically how I gauge these interaction. I ask myself, “If that was me, would I be in jail?”

Now I do think cops should get a little more leeway - but not much. I mean I am not blind to the fact that cops DO have to deal with violent offenders. But as said above, that can’t be an excuse for over zealous policing, disproportionate force, etc.


They should always defer to non-lethal force. Even if using a deadly weapon, don’t aim for the head, aim for a part of the body that will take people out, and NOT kill them.

I find it perplexing that this isn’t common sense thinking, but it’s often not.


I wouldn’t say more “leeway” so much as I’d just say that with cops we often have to recognize that retreat is not an option. If someone is brandishing a weapon I (as a non-cop) would have no excuse for killing that person if I could have safely left instead. The job of the police often includes remaining in situations that others retreat from. So their justification for use of force should be exactly as strong, it’s just there’s one part of the analysis you skip.