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)

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