Missouri Legal Update

2022 Lesson 13: Officer-Involved Shooting Law, Human Factors & Investigations – Part 1

Legal

Release Date: 

9/1/2022

This is part 1 of a two-part course designed to provide Missouri law enforcement officers with a better understanding of the law and agency policy governing the use of force decisions, human factors that affect an officer’s use of force, and the administrative and criminal investigations of an officer’s use of force, with a focus on officer-involved shootings.


Section one explains the criminal statutory framework in Missouri that affects police use of force decisions. It examines the elements of various murder, manslaughter, and assault offenses. It also examines the legal justifications for using deadly force available to law enforcement officers and to the public.


Section two addresses federal criminal statutes guiding use of force decisions, specifically the elements of “deprivation of rights under color of law.”


Section three addresses civil law that guides law enforcement officer use of force decisions, including guidance from the United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor and Tennessee v. Garner. It examines Missouri’s requirement that an employing law enforcement agency defend and indemnify an officer who is sued in civil court for conduct that arose in the course and scope of the officer’s employment.


Section four addresses the role of department policy in use of force decisions. It examines several areas where Missouri law enforcement agency policies may place greater restrictions on a law enforcement officer’s use of force than the restrictions imposed under state and federal law.


Section five addresses human factors that may affect use of force decisions and an officer’s memories surrounding use of force incidents. It examines misconceptions about perception and memory. It explains how stress and trauma can affect human performance.