AGO Opinion: Use of “physical force” by law enforcement

On Friday, January 20th, the Washington State Attorney General published an opinion in response the use of force questions asked by Representatives Roger Goodman and Jesse Johnson.

AGO Highlights 1-20-22:
(This is an edited (words removed) summary and is not provided as an exact quote. Please read the AGO to draw your own conclusions).
The most natural reading of the statute’s plain language is that physical force includes all acts by officers that involve violence, compulsion, or constraint used against another person’s body, even if it is unlikely to cause pain or injury.

The statute precludes an officer from using physical force in the context of an
investigatory detention based solely on reasonable suspicion, even if the individual does not comply with the request to stop.

Officers may use physical force to take a person into custody under RCW 71.05, RCW 13.34, and RCW 43.185C only if they can articulate a permissible use of force specified in E2SHB 1310.

Read the Full AGO Opinion HERE
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