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Legal 303: Use of Force Liability for Supervisors

Course length

About the course

This class is designed for supervisors who may have to evaluate a use of force incident by an officer. Participants will recognize the role of adequate supervision and training in avoiding liability, and learn how to assure effective reports documenting use of force, injuries and after-care.

The class focuses on the importance of understanding how the courts currently evaluate and judges police use of force as well as some well-established cases and law. The course emphasizes effective evidence-gathering and articulation after a force event. Students will also examine real cases and practice evaluating the legality of uses of force both individually and during team exercises.

Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

• State Liability for Use of Force
• Federal Liability for Use of Force & Qualified Immunity
• Standards for Non-Deadly Force
• Standards for Deadly Force
• False Arrest
• Pursuits and Roadblocks
• Supervisory Liability
• Training Liability
• Liability for Failure to Act
• Responses to Emergencies

Your Instructor(s):
Elliott Casey is a Staff Attorney for the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council. Elliott has 15 years’ experience as a prosecutor, having served as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the County of Albemarle, the City of Alexandria and the County of Arlington in Virginia, and several more years of experience in law enforcement and as an attorney. A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Elliott also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Elliott specializes in digital evidence, Fourth Amendment issues, and complex financial crime. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, is proficient in Spanish, German, and Japanese, and has experience speaking Chinese, French, and Korean. Elliott also instructs law enforcement agencies throughout the Virginia and D.C. area and investigators around the United States. Elliott instructs for the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, and many other groups. Elliott was honored with the Virginia IASIU Outstanding Public Service Award in 2022 as well as Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly 2022 “Leaders in the Law” award.

Bryan Porter is the elected Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Alexandria, Virginia, his hometown. He was first elected in 2014 and is currently serving his third term in office.
Bryan began his career as a police officer, working the midnight shift while attending law school. He obtained his law degree from the George Mason University School of Law in 2001. Immediately after passing the bar exam, Bryan was hired as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Alexandria. During his tenure as an assistant, Bryan conducted the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of violent offenses, to include robberies, shootings, and gang offenses. Bryan has served as the lead prosecutor on a number of murder and manslaughter cases.
Bryan is the author of a book about the investigation and trial of a serial killer case he handled, The Parable of the Knocker.
Bryan has taught constitutional law and civil liability to literally thousands of citizens, law enforcement officers, and lawyers. He has taught on subjects as varied as prosecutorial ethics, search and seizure law, and the conduct of murder investigations and prosecutions. Bryan has also taught constitutional law to citizens at community events and at the annual Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Citizen’s Academy he initiated in 2017.

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