Whether it be by legislative intent, or due to some interpretation of the law by a judge or by the supreme court; behind each incidence of police brutality, shooting of an unarmed person, or other unwarranted police behavior in America, lies the question of how is it the law of the land allows law enforcement officers to act with relative impunity? Of course, there is the question of whether the law does indeed allow law enforcement officers to use unnecessary, excessive force? While there can be no doubt that they should be be allowed to use necessary force; does it not follow that any force beyond what is necessary is unnecessary force? And, that anything beyond necessary is excessive? Should a routine traffic stop warrant a police officer pointing a loaded weapon at the traffic violator? It does seem that the limits for the force used by law enforcement, should be matters of the law. There are, after all, strict restrictions on things like wire tapping and other means of surveillance.
Given our nation’s history of abusive policing: the fugitive slave laws, the notoriously cruel early Texas Rangers, Wyatt Earp, et al, one might have expected the court to have acted to curb abuses by law enforcement. But, this isn’t what has happened. Why not?