Depending on the nature of the crime and the circumstances of the arrest, it’s not uncommon for police officers to use some amount of force during the process. However, there are stringent laws concerning the amount of force officers may use, and the use of excessive force may be grounds for legal action.
The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that police have the right to use “some degree of physical coercion or threat” during arrests or investigative stops. However, police can only use an amount of force that is in proportion to the threat that is present. Police officers are meant to abide by the use of force spectrum, with level one being officer presence, level two being verbal commands, and level three being empty-handed control. If the threat is escalated, police officers may use level four, which is pepper spray, batons, or Tasers. Only the highest of threats should be addressed with lethal force like firearms.