It was thus decided that the use of force by the police was justified by the circumstances and that accusations were more of an issue of violation of rights rather than violent demeanor against Graham. The motion filled by the accused for a directed verdict was granted. The case is now known to have provided, and still does, insight as to what defines reasonable use of force. According to Graham v. Connor, excessive use of force is recognized only when police officers maliciously intend to harm suspects. Nevertheless, had Graham's condition been any worse, we can assume his life would have been endangered. Because of such situations, police officers are required provide necessary help for suspects, regardless of subjective opinions. And, in Graham's case, none of the officers had the ability to specifically address medical conditions. Indeed, the officer claiming Graham was drunk acted upon personal perceptions, according to what he had experienced with, probably, other suspects. As acknowledged by Klahm and Tillyer (2010), and supported by their research of several studies, ?suspects who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their encounter with police were more likely to have force used against them than their sober counterparts. (p. 220) Thus, the officer who refused to acknowledge Graham's condition acted inappropriately, subjecting the situation to previous encounters and his experience with drunk people.
In each of the above cases, we witnessed police behavior acting on either an excessive use of force and subsequently, harmful, but, arguably, appropriate use of force. In further addressing police behavior and lawsuits filled against the police, we draw the attention on Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, two former New York police detectives. Both men were officially recognized to work for the mafia and were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2006. However, charges were considered from as early as the '70s and '80s when Eppolito first started to be admonished at work on suspicions of passing on confidential information to cartels of organized crime. However, at that time, he was found innocent of any charge. Eppolito is actually a relevant figure in movies picturing the mafia and writings as well. He played Fat Andy in the 1990 movie Goodfella's and wrote the book Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob. Less than honest Eppolito would later turn out to be: murders, extortion, narcotics, obstructions of justice, are a few charges he was eventually found guilty of. Caracappa himself had been a member of the organized crime division in New York for approximately twenty years. He engaged in criminal offenses with Eppolito and was part of the same trial. More so than in Eppolito's case, Caracappa's behavior imposes a different perspective on police ethics. This is because, unlike Eppolito, who actually had connections with the Italian mafia at home and refused to admit them before being accepted as a member of the police department, Caracappa was corrupted by the former. Cases like these lead to a distrust of police forces which further makes other officers' work more difficult to attend to. It also raises the issue of time, that is to say, the time it took between the late 1970s and the year 2006 to convict the two criminals. It poses questions as to why do some people choose to become police officers and what makes a good candidate. Edwin J. Delattre (2011) has underlined that ?a police officer's fitness to wear the badge depends on the acquisition of habits of just behavior. (p. 12) Whereas in the other two cases where excessive use of force was the issue addressed, the Eppolito and Caracappa case is explicit of unjust behavior throughout extended periods of time. That is to say that, whereas extensive use of force is exercised dependent of circumstances and a policeman's state of being and assessment over the situation, corruption is willfully conducted.
Alpert, G.P., & Dunham, R.G. (2000). Analysis of Police Use-of-Force Data. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/183648.pdf
Delattre, E.J. (2011). Character and cops: Ethics in policing (sixth ed.). Washington: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.
Frontline (Interviewer) & Gates, Darryl (Interviewee). 2001. The Legacy of Rodney King [Interview Transcript]. Retrieved from PBS Official Website:
Klahm, C.F., & Tillyer, R. (2010). Understanding police use of force: A review of the evidence. Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, 7(2), 214-239.
Weisburd, D., Greenspan, R., Hamilton, E.E., Williams, H., & Bryant, K.A. (2000). Police Attitudes Toward Abuse Authority: Findings From a National Study. The National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/181312.pdf