1974 October 3

Edward Garner Shot and Killed by Memphis Police; Case Reaches Supreme Court


Edward Garner, a fourteen year-old African-American, was shot and killed on this day by Memphis, Tennessee, police while unarmed and fleeing from a suspected burglary. His case reached the Supreme Court, as Tennessee v. Garner on March 27, 1985, in which the Supreme Court placed constitutional limits on police use of deadly force. The decision invalidated the existing “fleeing felon” standard for police use of deadly force and replaced it with the “defense of life” standard, under which the police could use deadly only in defense of their own lives or the life of some other person.

Read the definitive new book on police shootings: Franklin Zimring, When Police Kill (2017)

Read: Samuel Walker and Carol Archbold, The New World of Police Accountability, 2nd ed. (2014)

Learn more about police use of deadly force: Candace McCoy, ed, Holding Police Accountable (2010)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!