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Texas Helicopter Shooting Deaths: Excessive Use of Force

November 26, 2012 (1 min read)

"Was it right for a Texas Department of Public Safety employee to shoot at a pick-up truck [from a helicopter,] resulting in the deaths of two undocumented immigrants?  Was it a reasonable use of police force?  Under the doctrine of proportionality, law enforcement officers are required to use only that level of force which is appropriate under the circumstances.  In the words of a leading case, "the basic rule is that in all cases an officer shall use only so much force as is necessary to make the arrest," and that the amount of force used must be proportional to the seriousness of the offense and the danger presented by the arrestee."  (Amnesty America v. West Hartford, 2004).  The fact that there was a school zone three miles away, that the truck was suspected of carrying controlled substances [it wasn't], or that it ultimately was revealed that the truck had been carrying undocumented persons does not justify this level of force." - Prof. Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Nov. 23, 2012.