Professor McGee examines the use of deadly force in quelling recurrent communal rioting of alienated black urban masses in 1968. Napoleon fired “grapeshot” into a rioting Parisian crowd in 1795, and while his brutality may have quieted the rioters it should not be set as an example for our modern day police forces. Deadly force used against large numbers of citizens, who just prior to the riots were for the most part law-abiding and peaceful, can have crushing social consequences. In this article Professor McGee discusses police departmental policy, the limits of deadly force in arrests, excessive force and liability, and the criminal responsibility of the police force. He argues that unless civil war or genocide is to be America's ultimate tragedy, law enforcement authorities must reject the indiscriminate application of deadly force and accept instead strategies of containment and dispersal in riot control.
Arrests in Civil Disturbances: Reflections on the Use of Deadly Force in Riots, 22 RUTGERS L. REV. 716