Jason Gillmer, Gonzaga University School of Law Professor and John J. Hemmingson Chair in Civil Liberties presented to the newly-formed Spokane Use of Force Commission during their first meeting on February 29th, 2012. Gillmer testified as a legal expert on the use of force by government actors.
Re-considering the use of force
After several high-profile incidents, the City of Spokane Mayoral Commission on the Use of Force was created in order to assess and review the policies and procedures surrounding the use of force by the Spokane Police Department. The Commission is expected to provide its report to the city Mayor this summer. Those recommendations will be used to re-evaluate how City of Spokane police officers are trained and retrained in the use of force. Former Dean of Gonzaga University School of Law Earl Martin is the chair of the Commission.
Focusing on the Fourth Amendment
In his February 29th, 2012 presentation to the Commission, Gillmer focused on the Fourth Amendment, and specifically how the question of reasonableness must be applied to the use of force by police officers. To be judged constitutional, a use of force must be both necessary and proportional; the officer must have a reasonable belief in the need for force, and the amount of force used must be in proportion to the perceived threat. In short, an officer’s actions must be objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting him or her.
Watch Professor Gillmer’s Presentation
Spokane City Cable 5 has provided a recording of the Commission meeting; Gillmer’s presentation begins at approximately 20 minutes. The Spokesman Review also covered the Commission meeting and Gillmer’s presentation.