With the ruling that the officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark will not be charged, the question around the adequacy of use-of-force policies and the standard of objective reasonableness emerges again.
Objective reasonableness was designed to protect officers who face split second decisions around safety and danger. While officers should be protected in the line of duty, given their social mandate to protect communities, their decisions need to be firmly based in critical thinking and vetted training. With out the assurance that use of force was measured, it appears to communities as death without trial. It wounds and alienates the public and chips away at the legitimacy of law enforcement.
We need to revisit our standard for determining the reasonableness of use of force to ensure that officers use critical thinking, not reactive thinking, when they make life or death decisions. Stephon Clark was unarmed. He committed no crime. In this article, Neil Munro, a former Sargent from the Vancouver, Canada Police Department, with a Master's in Conflict Management, argues that the Insight approach could be well put to use as a tool for analyzing officer decision making in use of force incidents-- ensuring proper and fair accountability for everyone.
I'm Megan Price, PhD, Director of CAICR. I'm passionate about applying the discoveries and skills of Insight Conflict Resolution to challenging problems and challenging fields.