Appeals Court Upholds Seattle Police Use of Force Policy

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A federal appeals court upheld the Seattle Police Department’s policy on the use of force by officers, the Associated Press reports. The department adopted the policy under a 2012 reform agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. It says that when necessary, officers shall only use “objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation.” It also requires them to use de-escalation techniques when it’s safe to do so. A group of 125 officers challenged the policy, saying it would unreasonably restrict their Second Amendment rights to use their service weapons for self-defense.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. “The City of Seattle has a significant interest in regulating the use of department-issued firearms by its police officers, and the … policy does not impose a substantial burden on the Second Amendment right to use a firearm for the core lawful purpose of self-defense,” wrote Judge William Hayes, a California federal trial judge who was assigned to the case.

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