Rachel A. Harmon

Harmon: Federal Civil Rights Law May Make Bringing Criminal Charges in Eric Garner's Death Difficult

PUBLISHER
New York Daily News
DATE
2014-12-5
 

Abstract

Eric Garner's death is a tragedy, but federal civil rights law has a narrow focus, one that may make it hard to bring criminal charges.

Federal law prohibits police officers from willfully depriving people of their constitutional rights. A police use of force is a federal crime only if an officer intentionally uses excessive force. Proving "willfulness" is often the biggest obstacle to federal prosecution. If an officer genuinely believed the force he used was necessary, he is not guilty of a federal crime, even if he was wrong.

 

Citation

Rachel Harmon, Harmon: Federal Civil Rights Law May Make Bringing Criminal Charges in Eric Garner's Death Difficult, New York Daily News (December 5, 2014).
 

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