Missouri Senate Bill 661 has been perfected and is on the Senate's formal calendar for third reading today. This bill is proposed by Senator Bob Dixon (R) of Greene County. The bill would create a private cause of action for those persons injured by "[any] person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of the state of Missouri or any political subdivision thereof, subjects, or causes to be subjected, ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Missouri Constitution and laws of this state...." The bill also adds significant language to the existing law concerning an officer's use of force. Specifically, it adds language stating that the use of physical force in making an arrest is not justified unless "the amount of physical force used was objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the particular facts and circumstances confronting the officer on the scene, without regard to the officer's underlying intent or motivation." The bill also proposes important limitations on deadly force. For instance, the where the statute currently permits deadly force when effecting arrest if the suspect has "committed or attempted to commit a felony" the words "offense involving the infliction of threatened infliction of serious physical injury" has been added.
Tim West, LAKC Board of Directors
MO Legislative Monitor