Legal Update Archive2018-08-06T22:11:41-04:00

Where Is Law Enforcement Heading These Days?

By Lou Reiter, LLRMI Co-Director and Director of the Public Safety Internal Affairs InstituteLou Reiter Are these just words or something more? “Professional or skilled journeyman.” “Warrior or Guardian of the Peace.” Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s there was a push in American law enforcement to professionalize.  And there was some evidence of that.  Many states created POST type organizations to standardize basic training and certify law enforcement officers.  Some even created methods to decertify officers.  While we had the Code of Conduct from 1957, some states like California expanded that code to Canons of Ethics. The [...]

By |September 15th, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|

Neck Restraints Choke Holds/Carotid Holds What Law Enforcement Policy/Training Tells Us The Medical/Scientific Debate What the Cases Tell Us

On June 8, 2020 a bill was introduced in Congress to reform law enforcement practices. Among the items in the legislation is a provision to “ban police use of chokeholds and carotid holds, and conditions funding for state and local departments on barring the practices.”   It is first noted that the introduced legislation does not create a mandatory prohibition against chokeholds or carotid holds but ties federal government purse strings to withhold federal funding from agencies that do not prohibit the practice. At the outset some distinctions must be made between what is commonly referred to as a choke hold [...]

By |September 8th, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|

Prone Restraint/Positional Asphyxia/Compression Asphyxia

Over the last week, law enforcement has been faced with the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis which was captured on video and showed an officer putting pressure on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, while Floyd remained in a prone position and handcuffed.  On the video, prior to becoming non-responsive, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he could not breathe. It is important to note that not a single police officer that we are aware of has come out in support of the Minneapolis officers.  In fact, there is widespread agreement that the actions of [...]

By |September 2nd, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|

The Law Enforcement Response to Unlawful Assemblies Protests and Riots

Over the last few weeks law enforcement throughout the United States has been faced with controlling protests and even riots following the death of George Floyd during his arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department.  These events did not begin with George Floyd, but rather have occurred over the last few years following deaths of black males during events with law enforcement.  That said, the George Floyd case has reverberated around the United States and even to other countries.  It should be noted that all of law enforcement has condemned the manner of restraint of George Floyd by Minneapolis officers and [...]

By |August 24th, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|

Duty to Intervene Duty to Render Aid

In June of 2020, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, activist groups, state and federal law makers, and local mayors have sought to create a duty on the part of law enforcement officers to intervene when they observe excessive force.   There is little challenge to creating such a duty since all officers have had a Constitutional Duty to Intervene for decades. The duty to intervene under the Constitution is broader than just use of force cases since it extends to the duty to intervene in any unconstitutional conduct.  The federal courts in a number of cases over decades, [...]

By |August 13th, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|


On October 16, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Jones v. Perez[i], which serves as an excellent review of the law related to probable cause, false arrest, and the role of witness credibility in a probable cause determination.  The facts of Jones, taken directly from the case, are as follows: Leonardo Ortega was closing up the Subway sandwich shop where he worked when two men entered with their faces covered. One aimed a gun at Ortega while the other took cash from the register. After a struggle, Ortega was shot. He was pronounced dead when he arrived at [...]

By |August 11th, 2020|Categories: Legal updates|

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