Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 7.1. Law-Enforcement Officer Conduct During an Arrest or Detention
4/12/2021

Chapter 7.1. Law-Enforcement Officer Conduct During an Arrest or Detention.

§ 19.2-83.3. (Effective March 1, 2021) Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Deadly force" means any force that is likely or intended to cause serious bodily injury or death.

"Deadly weapon" means any object, other than a body part or stationary object, that in the manner of its actual, attempted, or threatened use is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death.

"Excessive force" means any force that is objectively unreasonable given the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.

"Kinetic impact munitions" includes impact rounds and baton rounds, such as rubber batons, bean bag rounds, foam baton rounds, and plastic, wax, wood, or rubber-coated projectiles.

"Neck restraint" means the use of any body part or object to attempt to control or disable a person by applying pressure against the neck, including the trachea or carotid artery, with the purpose, intent, or effect of controlling or restricting the person's movement or restricting the person's blood flow or breathing, including chokeholds, carotid restraints, and lateral vascular neck restraints.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 25, 35, 37, 55.

§ 19.2-83.4. (Effective March 1, 2021) Prohibited practices for law-enforcement officers during an arrest or detention.

A. The use of a neck restraint by a law-enforcement officer is prohibited unless the use of a neck restraint is immediately necessary to protect the law-enforcement officer or another person from death or serious bodily injury.

B. The willful discharge of a firearm by a law-enforcement officer into or at a moving vehicle is prohibited unless the discharge of a firearm is immediately necessary to protect the law-enforcement officer or another person from death or serious bodily injury.

C. The use of kinetic impact munitions by a law-enforcement officer is prohibited unless the use of kinetic impact munitions is necessary to protect the law-enforcement officer or another person from bodily injury.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 35, 37, 55.

§ 19.2-83.5. (Effective March 1, 2021) Use of deadly force by a law-enforcement officer during an arrest or detention.

A. A law-enforcement officer shall not use deadly force against a person unless:

1. The law-enforcement officer reasonably believes that deadly force is immediately necessary to protect the law-enforcement officer or another person, other than the subject of the use of deadly force, from the threat of serious bodily injury or death;

2. If feasible, the law-enforcement officer has provided a warning to the subject of the deadly force that he will use deadly force;

3. The law-enforcement officer's actions are reasonable, given the totality of the circumstances; and

4. All other options have been exhausted or do not reasonably lend themselves to the circumstances.

B. In determining if a law-enforcement officer's use of deadly force is proper, the following factors shall be considered:

1. The reasonableness of the law-enforcement officer's belief and actions from the perspective of a reasonable law-enforcement officer on the scene at the time of the incident; and

2. The totality of the circumstances, including (i) the amount of time available to the law-enforcement officer to make a decision; (ii) whether the subject of the use of deadly force (a) possessed or appeared to possess a deadly weapon and (b) refused to comply with the law-enforcement officer's lawful order to surrender an object believed to be a deadly weapon prior to the law-enforcement officer using deadly force; (iii) whether the law-enforcement officer engaged in de-escalation measures prior to the use of deadly force, including taking cover, waiting for backup, trying to calm the subject prior to the use of force, or using non-deadly force prior to the use of deadly force; (iv) whether any conduct by the law-enforcement officer prior to the use of deadly force intentionally increased the risk of a confrontation resulting in deadly force being used; and (v) the seriousness of the suspected crime.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, c. 37.

§ 19.2-83.6. (Effective March 1, 2021) Failure of a law-enforcement officer to intervene in use of excessive force.

A. Any law-enforcement officer who, while in the performance of his official duties, witnesses another law-enforcement officer engaging or attempting to engage in the use of excessive force against another person shall intervene, when such intervention is feasible, to end the use of excessive force or attempted use of excessive force, or to prevent the further use of excessive force. A law-enforcement officer shall also render aid, as circumstances reasonably permit, to any person injured as the result of the use of excessive force.

B. Any law-enforcement officer who intervenes pursuant to subsection A or who witnesses another law-enforcement officer engaging or attempting to engage in the use of excessive force against another person shall report such intervention or use of excessive force in accordance with the law-enforcement officer's employing agency's policies and procedures for reporting misconduct committed by a law-enforcement officer. No employing agency shall retaliate, threaten to retaliate, or take or threaten to take any disciplinary action against a law-enforcement officer who intervenes pursuant to subsection A or makes a report pursuant to this subsection.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 25, 37.

§ 19.2-83.7. (Effective March 1, 2021) Penalties for violations of this chapter.

In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, any law-enforcement officer who knowingly violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal, demotion, suspension, or transfer of the law-enforcement officer or decertification as provided in subsection D of § 15.2-1707.

2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 25, 35, 37, 55.