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Court rules against officers who sued over Seattle PD's UOF policy

A group of nearly 125 officers filed the suit, claiming the policy violated their Second Amendment rights to use their service weapons for self-defense


By PoliceOne Staff

SEATTLE — A federal appeals court unanimously voted Tuesday to uphold the Seattle Police Department’s use-of-force policy.

A group of nearly 125 officers filed suit claiming the policy violated their Second Amendment rights to use their service weapons for self-defense, the Hill reported. The policy, adopted in 2012 as a part of a DOJ reform agreement, required officers to use "objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation." They were pushed to use de-escalation techniques when possible.

The officers, who filed suit without the support of the police guild, stated the policy elevated the rights of criminal suspects over police, KOMO reported. 

The court disagreed with the officers’ argument, stating that the policy was constitutional under the Second Amendment “because there is a reasonable fit between the [Use of Force] Policy and the City of Seattle’s important government interest in ensuring the safety of both the public and its police officers." 

"The City of Seattle has a significant interest in regulating the use of department-issued firearms by its police officers, and the [Use of Force] Policy does not impose a substantial burden on the Second Amendment right to use a firearm for the core lawful purpose of self-defense," Judge William Hayes wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel in Mahoney vs. City of Seattle.

The city said the new use of force policy “has been a critical component in transforming policing for the residents of Seattle."

The officers argued that input from the police department was refused during the drafting of the new policy.

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