Tennessee v. Garner

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Tennessee v. Garner

471 U.S. 1 (1985), declared that police may not use deadly force against a fleeing suspect unless they have probable cause to believe that the suspect might kill or seriously injure persons nearby. The particulars in this case included police knowledge that a suspect was in all likelihood an unarmed minor; nevertheless, the youth was fatally shot upon fleeing the crime scene. In its opinion, the Court stated that “[a] police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead.”

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