This Article offers punishment as another lens through which to view police force. The Supreme Court has consistently rejected arguments that the Eighth Amendment is the appropriate vehicle for dealing with excessive police force claims.5 However, reconceptualizing the use of deadly force by police officers as punishment provides a new understanding of the gravity of deadly police force and adds necessary substance to the reasonableness analysis. When police force is likened to punishment, the use of fatal force by police officers can be considered the administration of the death penalty on the streets, absent the procedural protections and focus on human dignity given in the criminal justice system through the Eighth Amendment.6 When considered in the context of punishment, the reasonableness analysis can be transformed to incorporate the value of human dignity and focus on protections against fatal police force that ought to be in place to protect the lives of all individuals.
Jelani Jefferson Exum and D. A. Telman,
The Death Penalty on the Streets: What the Eighth Amendment Can Teach About Regulating Police Use of Force,
80 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol80/iss4/7