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Use of Excessive Force by Police: Federal Law

A Brief History of Federal Excessive Force Law

The laws addressing the use of excessive force by law officials stemmed from legislation created to combat the actions of the Ku Klux Clan. The statutes were not written to allow for claims against law enforcement officers if they used excessive force against a citizen, but the Supreme Court case of Monroe v. Pape expanded the statutes’ reach so that claims could be brought against law enforcement officers. The Monroe decision also allowed for claims for deprivation of rights due to excessive force to be brought against the cities and counties that hired the officers if they were acting under “the color of law” for those governmental organizations at the time that the deprivations occurred. 

For more information, you can follow the link provided here to read more about the history of excessive force claims under the federal law.

Federal Documents

Supreme Court Decisions on Excessive Force

Federal Excessive Force Statutes

These statutes control what kinds of claims can be made against officers and which courts can hear excessive force cases.