Driving – Two ways to drive a police car:  Code 1 or like a law abiding citizen.  Talk about vehicular accidents generally – play Scott Caron audiotape.  Suggest that keying your mic following a Code One accident to get siren on the tape is of great benefit to Legal and to the officer.


Show 1 hr. pursuit video if time allows.


Handouts – See generally page 35.

Civil Rights Violations – Examples:


            Excessive Force

            False Arrest

            False Imprisonment

            Failure to Provide Medical Care


5 things that can happen to you if you violate someone’s civil rights:


Civil Suit


Objective 1., a.-c.     


Federal Court 42 United States Code Section 1983.  Money damages to anyone who violates civil rights under color of law.  Must be intentional – negligence, traffic accident is not enough.  Can get the department and the officer.


Actual Damages (Compensatory) – purpose is to make right the injury


Punitive Damages – Purpose is to punish the person who caused the injury.


Attorney Fees.


Police department will pay actual damages, attorney fees even if you get a little carried away.  Officer must pay punitives, not dischargeable in bankruptcy and no insurance company will pay punitives – will garnish your wages for the rest of your life if necessary.  No limit on any of these three damages.


May be sued in state court for a “tort,” a wrong.  In state court usually can not get the department.  Damages are the same as in federal court.




Criminal Charges.


May be charged under federal law for violating civil rights criminally.


Can also be charged criminally in state court.




            No job, you lose it.  Violation of the Code of Ethics to use more force than is absolutely necessary.


            Difference between intentional and negligent torts –


Objective 1, d.


            Intentional:  Intended injury.


            Negligent:  Unintended injury.


Objective 1, e.          


Defenses to torts and civil rights actions – Discuss qualified and official immunity.


Objective 1, f.


Ignorance of the law is no excuse and can never establish good faith as long as it is reasonable for a normal, well-trained officer to know the law.  Exception might be reliance on a law that is later declared unconstitutional, etc.


Objective 1, e.

Review handout pages:  36-39, Defenses Against Common Police Liability Issues.


Objective 1,g.


Remember, the justification provided by the Criminal Code applies only to criminal liability.  This does not necessarily mean one will be immune from civil liability.


Objective 2


Five types of situations that present a high risk of liability:  excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, negligent use of a firearm, negligent use of a motor vehicle and roadblocks (not allowed in Kansas City).  KCPD does not authorize roadblocks.  They will not be used.  Agencies that use them must provide an avenue of escape or will be considered deadly force.



Objective 3, a-f


            Best way to defend against –


Use of force – document incident and any injuries, end the force immediately when control is obtained, properly care for the subject.


If your agency allows roadblocks, learn to set-up a roadblock to minimize liability.  An improperly executed roadblock (one that leaves no avenue of escape) can be considered deadly force and an unreasonable seizure because it is excessive force.


False arrest – be sure you have probable cause for arrest, unarrest if your probable cause disappears.


False imprisonment – unarrest if probable cause disappears, observe the twenty-hour rule and apply for a warrant as fast as possible.


Negligent use of a firearm – teach proper use and maintenance of firearms, avoid warning shots, properly store firearms and ensure proper training and practice with firearms.


Negligent use of a motor vehicle – follow all traffic laws, know how to operate as an emergency vehicle, know the issues surrounding pursuits, keep vehicles maintained.  Discuss common causes of vehicular liability with the control of the officer. 


Use videotape and reports concerning prisoner overdose in Detention Unit.  Discuss alternatives, handling of prisoner.