What is use of force?
Use of force is divided into several categories, including:
• Physical force, defined as force that under circumstances in which it is used is readily capable of causing physical pain or injury.
• Administrative force, defined as having the same techniques as physical force but with no pain or injuries associated.
• Intermediate force, defined as force that under circumstances in which it is used is readily capable of causing high levels of pain and foreseeable risk of physical injury.
• Deadly physical force, defined as force that under the circumstances in which it is used is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
Physical force includes handcuffing, digital finger control, pressure points, wrist locks, joint locks, takedowns, some focused blows and some baton strikes. Intermediate force can include the use of a K9 or pepper spray. Deadly force includes use of a vehicle, edged weapons, or firearms.
According to Eugene police policy, the use of force by an officer must be "objectively reasonable."
"Any interpretation of reasonableness must allow for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving with regard to the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation," the policy states. "Facts later discovered, but unknown to the officer at the time, can neither justify nor condemn an officer's decision about the use of force."
Eugene's policy goes on to say that considerations for reasonable force should include:
• The conduct of the individual being confronted
• Officer versus subject factors such as age, size, relative strength, skill level, injury or exhaustion
• The influence of drugs or alcohol on the subject's physical and mental capacity and their threshold for pain and reason
• The subject's proximity to weapons
• The degree to which the subject has been effectively restrained and his or her ability to resist despite being restrained
• Time and circumstances permitting the availability of other options
• The seriousness of the suspected offense or reason for contact and the need to apprehend the suspect
• The training and experience of the officer
• Any potential for injury to citizens, officers and suspects if force is used
• Risk of escape
Eugene police policy states any officer who intentionally discharges a city-owned firearm, uses pepper spray or intentionally causes a physical injury during the performance of his or her job must report the act to a supervisor. Using a baton to strike a suspect, a Taser, a neck hold or beanbag rounds also must be reported to a supervisor. The Eugene police policy says the use of "warning shots" are strictly prohibited.