New DoJ Policy:  Federal agents must intervene if they see other law enforcement officials using excessive force

“Officers will be trained in, and must recognize and act upon, the affirmative duty to intervene to prevent or stop, as appropriate, any officer from engaging in excessive force or any other use of force that violates the Constitution, other federal laws, or Department policies on the reasonable use of force,” the memo states.

Following the killing of George Floyd and other officer involved shootings, for the first time in 18 years, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has updated their use-of-force policy to require federal agents to intervene if they see other law enforcement officials using excessive force.

The Washington Post reviewed a copy of the four-page memo addressed to the heads of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Prisons does not ‘trickle down’ to state or local law enforcement agencies. The new policy also makes clear that federal law enforcement officers also have a duty to act if they see someone who needs medical care, stating: “Officers will be trained in, and must recognize and act upon, the affirmative duty to request and/or render medical aid, as appropriate, where needed.”

Essentially, the memo lays out best practices for all federal law enforcement agents and reminds officers not to fire their weapon at a fleeing suspect nor into vehicles to make them stop. It also reminds them that they should not use deadly force “against persons whose actions are a threat solely to themselves or property unless an individual poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others in close proximity.”

 “It is the policy of the Department of Justice to value and preserve human life. Officers may use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively gain control of an incident, while protecting the safety of the officer and others.”

“Officers may use force only when no reasonably effective, safe, and feasible alternative appears to exist and may use only the level of force that a reasonable officers on the scene would use under the same or similar circumstances,”

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