Claims of excessive force, under the law of the United States Supreme Court, are analyzed in part by answering the question was the officer’s conduct (use of force) “objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the officer without regard to their underlying intent or motivation?”
Evidence of an underlying intent or motivation, such as bias, according to the United States Supreme Court is not evidence that a court could use to determine if the officer’s use of force was reasonable or unreasonable.
However, there are potentially other means by which an officer’s bias may be redressed through claims under state law, administratively, and the Agency’s disciplinary process.
Additionally, there are circumstances where even though the officer’s intentions (e.g. bias or prejudice) may not be legally considered; other evidence presents itself (perhaps motivated by or derived from improper bias or intent) that could be utilized in an effort to show that the officer’s behavior was unreasonable under the total set of circumstances.
(Question submitted at City Council’s 10/26/20 Work Session)