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109 Cal. L. Rev. 1 (2021)

handle is hein.journals/calr109 and id is 1 raw text is: Medical Professionals, Excessive Force,
and the Fourth Amendment
Osagie K. Obasogie* & Anna Zaret**
Police use offorce is a persistent problem in American cities, and
the number of people killed at the hands of law enforcement has not
decreased even as social movements raise greater awareness. This
context has led to reform conversations on use offorce that seek less
violent ways for police to engage the public. One example of how this
might occur is through partnerships between police and medical
professionals to use chemical restraints drugs traditionally used in
hospital settings to calm agitated or aggressive patients to sedate
people who refuse or are unable to comply with law enforcement. The
injury and, at times, death that can result gives rise to a key yet
unexplored constitutional issue: does the Fourth Amendment allow
medical professionals to collaborate with police and use chemical
restraints during routine arrests? When, if at all, does the use of
powerful sedatives by paramedics to facilitate an arrest become an
unreasonable use offorce? Federal courts have been inconsistent on
these issues and overly deferential to medical professionals and law
enforcement. In this Article, we provide the first scholarly analysis of
how Fourth Amendment rules concerning use offorce apply to medical
practitioners who partner with law enforcement to chemically subdue
arrestees not for their medical benefit, but to assist police. After
analyzing the legal, medical, and ethical contours of this novel
constitutional issue, we argue that Fourth Amendment limits on
chemical restraints in policing should mirror existing federal
regulations on using such drugs in healthcare settings found in Title
42 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In this way, medical necessity,
individual autonomy, and the person's wellbeing would be prioritized
over convenience to law enforcement. This approach might also clarify
medical practitioners' role during police stops and arrests andprovide
guidance on how they may participate in a way that conforms with
both Fourth Amendment norms and their professional commitment to
promoting patient health and safety.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15779/Z38NK3658H.
Copyright © 2021 Osagie K. Obasogie & Anna Zaret.


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