JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Senate has voted to tighten the laws on when police can use deadly force.
Senators voted 30-2 Thursday to bring the state’s law into line with a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that police can only use deadly force when an officer believes a fleeing felon poses a serious threat to others.
Missouri’s law does not specify that a fleeing felon has to be dangerous.
Bill sponsor Sen. Bob Dixon said confusing jury instructions after the police shooting in Ferguson demonstrated that the law needs clarification. The Missouri Department of Public Safety says police are told in training that state law conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. But legal experts say police could invoke the looser Missouri statute in a criminal defense.
The bill now goes to the House.