Compliance Offsets Police Use of Force

Contact Your Elected Officials

On April 20,2021, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) posted the following statement upon the conviction of former Minneapolis, MN, Police Officer Derek Chauvin on three counts of Murder resulting in the death of George Floy

The IACP stated: While this is undoubtedly a time of strong emotions, it is imperative that we comprehensively assess the justice system to identify needed and necessary evidence-based reforms. This will require more than just slogans and promises. It will require concerted, unrelenting work from all.

Successfully meeting this challenge will require reflection, exploring new approaches, embracing compromise, emphasizing dignity and respect for all, and building upon a fundamental commitment to the preservation of human life.

The IACP’s response to the death of George Floyd demonstrated the law enforcement community is not systemically racist. In fact, within this statement I must emphasize that the IACP made it clear necessary change can be properly introduced in the interest of justice with a concerted effort from all. This includes the civilian population.

There will be changes and modifications within law enforcement and those changes need to coincide within the communities throughout the USA doing its part to bring all communities and the police together. This must be done to enable both the police and the community to function and interact in unison. The public has its own responsibilities it needs to meet in conjunction with the police. It is well known as a nation if we are united, we will stand and if divided we will fall. Each community must work with and not against the police.

The first thing that needs to be done is the public must be educated that all members of the community must comply with the police if stopped and/or arrested. This is a necessary change all communities must embrace and implement for the good of one and all. It is illegal to resist arrest and Obstruct Governmental Administration.

It is critical all people understand when a civilian complies with the police, the justification for Use of Force by the police is negated. Use of Force is utilized when an officer needs to defend oneself or another from the unlawful Use of Force and/or Deadly Physical Force. Therefore, compliance with the police during a traffic stop or when placed under arrest will negate the need for Use of Force.

Compliance on the part of the public is the means our society restores social order. Defunding the Police creates disorder and mayhem further dividing the public from interacting with the police. It is noticeably clear all communities need the police. Communities that have defunded the police have experienced a serious spike in crimes.

The biggest challenge in achieving social order is to overcome the improper influence of Black Lives Matter (BLM), segments of the Legislative and Executive branches of government commenting on matters which fall solely within the overview of the Judicial branch of government, along with comments made by celebrities, professional athletes, and certain news outlets each together as one voice constantly label the police as racists who practice systemic racism.

People who promote the false narrative of systemic racism within law enforcement by their own words and actions are taken on the role of racists. The true goal of racists is to promote hate to reinforce its personal agenda.

The terms Systemic Racism and White Privilege are tools utilized to divide America although the IACP made it clear law enforcement will do its part in bringing law enforcement and all communities together with the help of the public. The public must become a team player rather than an adversary in order to restore communication, faith, and trust with the law enforcement community.

BLM and its allies are adversaries as demonstrated by the findings of a recent study conducted by Princeton University. The purpose of the study was to show that BLM protests are ‘overwhelmingly peaceful. ‘But to the contrary the findings of the study demonstrated nearly 570 violent demonstrations/riots occurred in nearly 220 locations throughout the USA. This trend cannot be ignored. Furthermore, this study documented that 48 out of the 50 largest cities in the United States have experienced riots associated with the BLM movement since late May, 2020.

Just as law enforcement must coordinate to work with all members of society, BLM and its associates have the same obligations to be a role player in initiating positive change, not ongoing and continuing carnage to destroy the basic tenets of a fair and just society. I do not expect BLM to play a role in addressing an ongoing and continuing problem it manufactured.

I recommend that all state governments through its Department of Motor Vehicles teach applicants for driver’s licenses about all citizens’ responsibility to comply with the police and explain the difference between a peaceful protest and a riot. These new drivers will be tomorrow’s leaders. They need to know today that America is a melting pot where all people are recognized as being created equal.

Education is knowledge and knowledge transforms into power. Once a person complies with the police, he/she has the right to file a complaint with the police department to request an investigation into the alleged improper and/or illegal conduct by one or more officers. This can be done with or without an attorney.

The police must police itself in order to have the authority to police society. All police administrators know internal review is the means a police department maintains its integrity and professionalism within the community.

Unfortunately, the Afro-American community has been taught the police department covers up for their own. If that were true, the Minneapolis Police Department never would have investigated Derek Chauvin, terminated his employment, participated in filing charges for his arrest, and testified against him in the George Floyd case. The role of the police assisted in convicting Derek Chauvin.

Of greatest concern is that most Americans do not understand the circumstances when a police officer may use Physical Force and/or Deadly Physical Force. It must be understood by all civilians that the Use of Force and/or Deadly Physical Force by a police officer is permissible under acceptable circumstances as cited in the landmark cases of Tennessee v Garner and Graham v Connor.

It appears most people believe if a police officer uses Deadly Physical Force against an individual the officer is not held accountable. That is not correct. Every Use of Force encounter is investigated and if the actions of the officer fall within the guidelines of Tennessee v Garner and/or Graham v Connor the police officer will be exonerated.

Its rare police officers are arrested due to officers, throughout the United States routinely using Deadly Physical Force within the appropriate limits of force learned and practiced by police officers during In-Service training. Use of Force is not initiated by the police. Use of Force is defensive in nature.

Keep in mind the United States Supreme Court stated in the Graham v. Connor decision, “The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” This is the very reason investigations of each shooting occurs to obtain all the facts. A rush to judgement does not serve the interests of the United States.

I must reiterate if a person complies with the police, use of force will not be present at the time of arrest and lawful protests are permitted as per the United States Constitution.

United We Stand! No hindsight! Just the facts!

By Jim Gaffney

About Jim Gaffney

Jim Gaffney, MPA has served a metro-New York police department for over 40 years in varying capacities, culminating as an administrator in the role of Executive Officer, Acting Chief of Police, Public Information Officer, Accreditation Officer, and the head of the Support Services Division. Jim is a member of ILEETA, IACP, and FBI -LEEDA, and a Certified Force Science Analyst. Jim mentors future law enforcement officers as an adjunct criminal justice professor in New York City Metro-area. Jim brings the street into the classroom to prepare students today for the challenges they will face tomorrow as police officers.


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