Police in Philadelphia often find themselves in a situation where they need to use a means of non lethal force to subdue a subject. The last thing a police officer wants to do is to shoot a suspect and take their life.
Pepper Spray in Philadelphia
Pepper spray has become a formidable non-lethal weapon that is currently being used by police forces across the country. Philadelphia has only recently embraced the idea of using pepper spray on the streets. They have issued pepper spray to a large amount of their officers for testing, and so far have seen good results. Activist groups still hold reservations about pepper spray and believe it to be lethal if not used properly and if the suspect has a respiratory disease.
Situations that call for the use of pepper spray have widely been criticized in recent years. There is a strict set of rules that allows police officers to use pepper spray only when they feel threatened.
When Can a Cop Use Pepper Spray?
The very basic rule of thumb is that pepper spray may be used in situations when there is a need to incapacitate a dangerous individual or someone who is resisting arrest.
In all cases, the officer must “reasonably believe” that he or she is being put in danger or the lives of others are being put in danger. Some of these situations include attempting to control and subdue a suspect who is fleeing the scene of a crime, to establish control over someone who is resisting arrest or to subdue someone who is emotionally disturbed or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The word “dangerous” is often used lightly and police officers tend to stretch the meaning when caught up in certain situations. Protesters can face pepper spray during peaceful protests, as was the case with a protest at a college in California.
How to Handle These Situations
If you believe the police will use pepper spray on you or members of the group you are with, leave the scene immediately. It is important to not become involved in a situation where police threaten to use non-lethal force, because the next step is often an arrest.
If you have been involved in a situation with pepper spray and think the police might have been acting above the law, contact an attorney immediately to see what your options are. Call 800-555-7780 or email attorney Patrick Geckle for a free consultation