Self defense substances

Three Situations When Police Use Pepper Spray

February 12, 2019July 15, 2019

If a suspect is acting threatening or violent but they don’t have a firearm or other weapon, then a police officer may elect to use pepper spray as a way of subduing them. That way, the police officer doesn’t need to shoot the unarmed suspect and face getting in legal trouble for it.

When Police Use Pepper Spray?

Police officers cannot just spray anyone who gets in their face, though. There are certain guidelines which police officers must follow when it comes to spraying people with pepper spray. These guidelines are a little laxer than the guidelines for shooting a handgun, but the same concept applies.

Self Defense

Police officers encounter potentially dangerous people every day. But having someone swear and get upset with a police officer doesn’t necessarily constitute the right to pepper spray them back. The police officer needs a reason to believe that a person may attempt to physically harm them if they haven’t already.

If the police officer feels they need to protect themselves in a given situation, then they will pepper spray the threatening person to subdue them. Of course, this would be a person who doesn’t have any weapons in their hand. Otherwise, the officer would likely draw their handgun instead. 

Stopping Danger to Others

When a person is trying to hurt other people in the community or there is a risk that they may escape the police and hurt others, then a police officer has the right to stop that threat by pepper spraying the person.

This is often seen done to emotionally disturbed people or those who know they’re going to be arrested and try to escape. Since police officers are there to serve the community, they have the right to protect the community by any reasonable means necessary.

Enforcing an Arrest

Sometimes there are suspects who simply make it difficult for the police to arrest them. They may not necessarily try to run away, but they will give the police a hard time by not letting them put the handcuffs on. This is called resisting arrest, which is another crime in itself.

If the police officer is struggling to complete the arrest because the suspect will not cooperate, then the officer may use the lachrymatory agent to ensure their cooperation.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to listen to the police officer’s instructions during an arrest. It is the only way to avoid getting pepper sprayed.


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