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Use of Excessive Force by Police: State Law

Secondary Sources for Florida Law on Excessive Force

3A Fla. Jur. 2d  Assault § 13 (2008) – This encyclopedia entry details how much force can be used by an officer in the process of making an arrest and how that if the officer uses more force than necessary that the officer could be held liable for battery.

28 Fla. Jur. 2d Government Tort Liability § 46 (2008) – This entry tells how a public employer can be held liable for the conduct of an officer if they use excessive force during an arrest and provides citations to Florida and Federal cases that discuss governmental tort liability due to officer misconduct.

14 Fla. Jur. 2d Criminal Law—Procedure § 167 (2009) – This entry provides information as to when an officer can be held liable for damages for using excessive force during an arrest and provides citations to case law, statutes, and other sources of legal information on the topic of civil libability for the use of excesive force.

American Law Reports

American Law Reports (ALRs) are annotations created by legal experts that go into detail about a legal topic. The ALRs provide an overview of the topic as well as citations to federal and state case law, secondary materials, and statutes that can help researchers find the information that they need all in one place.

Diane M. Allen, Liability of supervisory officials and governmental entities for having failed to adequately train, supervise, or control individual peace officers who violate plaintiff's civil rights under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, 70 A.L.R. Fed. 17 (1984).

Colleen R. Courtade, What constitutes policy or custom for purposes of determining liability of local government unit under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 modern cases, 81 A.L.R. Fed. 549 (1987).

Richard P. Shafer, When does police officer's use of force during arrest become so excessive as to constitute violation of constitutional rights, imposing liability under Federal Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C.A. § 1983), 60 A.L.R. Fed. 204 (1982).

David J. Oliveiri, Defense of good faith in action for damages against law enforcement official under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, providing for liability of person who, under color of law, subjects another to deprivation of rights, 61 A.L.R. Fed. 7 (1983).

Excessive Force Under Florida Law

Statutory Law

There is no statute that details what is considered excessive force under Florida law. However, Florida Statue 776.05 defines what reasonable force during an arrest consists of and under what circumstances which levels of force are to be used when bringing a suspect into custody.

Mazzilli v. Doud, 485 So. 2D 477 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 1986) – The Mazilli case established that while an officer can use force during an arrest that if the officer uses excessive force that both the officer and the governing body that the officer works for can be liable for injuries sustained by the person that the officers arrests.

Brescher v. Pirez, 696 So. 2d 370 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 1997) – Under the Brescher holding, an officer can use lethal force to stop a fleeing felon to prevent injury to themselves, another officer, officer or a bystander.

For more case law concerning the use of excessive force by law officials, you can use Key Number Arrest 68.1(4).