North Carolina Case Could Shape Ferguson Investigation

WASHINGTON -- The national legal standards that govern when police officers are justified in using force against people trace their lineage to a 1984 case from Charlotte, North Carolina.

In that case, a diabetic man's erratic behavior during a trip to the store for juice to bring up his blood sugar led to a confrontation with officers that left him with injuries from head to foot.

As soon as a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, the Supreme Court's ruling on the North Carolina case became the foundational test for whether the officer's response was appropriate or criminal. Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in that opinion that a police officer should be judged by what a reasonable officer would have done in the same situation.

Related: Greensboro Police Talk Use Of Force Training


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