http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadly_forceIn the United States this is governed by Tennessee v. Garner, which said that "deadly force...may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."Police would likely have training in martial combat so one would assume that they would fair better in a fight with Trayvon - that being said, if an officer was indeed having their head beat on the ground and thought they might lose their life, I could see where discharging their weapon would be justified.More:------------In the United States, a civilian may legally use deadly force when it is considered justifiable homicide, that is to say when the civilian feels their own life, or the lives of their family or those around them are in legitimate and imminent danger. However, self-defense resulting in usage of deadly force by a civilian or civilians against an individual or individuals is often subject to examination by a court if it is unclear whether it was necessary at the point of the offense, and whether any further action on the part of the law needs to be taken.-----------I also found this interesting; and telling regarding how the police handled this situation:http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforceme...As the final element, the department’s public information officer should contact the media before their representatives approach the agency.16 In the early stages of the investigation, the department should demonstrate that it wants to cooperate with the media. By informing the public through press releases and interviews, the agency shows that it is investigating the incident and that as information can be released, it will be. Departments should remember that the proverbial “no comment” often gives the impression that the police are hiding something....Often, it is not a law enforcement shooting that generates negative consequences, but, rather, it is how the involved agency handles the incident that can foster and feed misperceptions.
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