- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A state Senate committee is considering three bills that would update Missouri’s deadly force laws.

The News Tribune (https://bit.ly/23LKVDb ) reports that the three bills presented to the Judiciary and Criminal and Civil Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday have slightly different approaches to the issue.

Bill supporters say the current state law is outdated.

Missouri law allows police to use deadly force because of “reasonable belief” that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that law officers may not use deadly force to prevent escape without “probable cause.”

“We truly believe that ‘probable cause’ is much stronger,” said Democratic state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who sponsors one of the three bills.

The deadly force issue has been in the national spotlight since Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson in August 2014. Democratic state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson, also urged lawmakers to change the law.

“I am pleading with you to give people in my district hope again, that we’re going to focus on the injustices that have occurred for decades now,” Chappelle-Nadal said.

Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys supports the change because it treats law enforcement officers the same as any other citizen in regards to their use of deadly force.

Republican state Sen. Bob Dixon, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, says the three bills will likely be combined into one before being presented to the full Senate for debate.


Information from: Jefferson City News Tribune, https://www.newstribune.com

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