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TPD use of force policy to be reviewed by citizen's review board

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 18:48:32-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The citizen's review board are giving their first official review of a use of force incident by the Tallahassee Police Department Thursday.

TPD's use of force policy gives officers a guide on how to handle both physical and verbal encounters.

According to TPD's use of force policy, if someone is resisting arrest the use of force "must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene at the time of the incident."

It gives 12 factors officers should consider, including:

1. The type and severity of the incident or crime at issue,

2. The person posing an immediate threat to the officer or others,

3. The person’s physical resistance to an arrest or other lawful detention,

4. The person fleeing from an arrest or other lawful detention,

5. The size, age, relative strength, skill-level, and physical condition (including injury or exhaustion) of the person and the officer,

6. The officer’s level of training and experience,

7. The number of persons and/or number of officers on the scene,

8. The duration of the incident, specifically in relation to the physical resistance offered by the person,

9. The time available to an officer to make a decision to use response to resistance levels of control/force,

10. The person’s proximity or access to weapons,

11. Environmental factors and other exigent circumstances, and

12. The officer’s perceptions at the time the decision to use force was made.

TPD's policy is now in the spotlight, with concerns following the arrest of Jacquez Kirkland.

A surveillance camera outside of a business on West Tennessee street shows three officers on top of Kirkland, with one striking him with a baton three times.

The department said the use of force was justified after officers say Kirkland was resisting arrest and had grabbed an officer's ballistic vest.

The 11 member citizen's review board will now weigh in.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow said getting the review board's input is important to get the community involved in the conversation.

"We want to build trust with the community," Matlow said. "We want to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the people that they serve."

The recommendations made Thursday will be sent to the police chief, who will then present those ideas to the city commission. From there they will decide if policy changes will be implemented.