• Gaynell Williams, LLC.

When Can a Police Officer Use Deadly Force to Kill a Suspect in Louisiana?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

A police officer is allowed to use deadly force when the officer’s conduct is a reasonable

accomplishment of an arrest which is lawful under the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure. LRS §14:18, Justification; general provisions.

La. C.Cr.P. Article 220. Submission to arrest; use of force states that

“A person shall submit peaceably to a lawful arrest. The person making a lawful arrest may use reasonable force to effect the arrest and detention, and also to overcome any resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested or detained.”

What is reasonable force depends on the circumstances. This is something that people view differently.

Finally, Louisiana has self-defense laws that can be used by police officers if they are prosecuted for a murder or manslaughter. In Louisiana, a homicide is justifiable:

(1) When committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger; and

(2) When committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or of great bodily harm by one who reasonably believes that such an offense is about to be committed and that such action is necessary for its prevention. The circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fear of a reasonable person that there would be serious danger to his own life or person if he attempted to prevent the felony without the killing. La. R. S. § 14:18(A).

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