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Senate Approves New Use-of-Force Rules for Missouri Police

Scott Davidson

The Missouri Senate has endorsed updating the state's laws on when police can use deadly force.

Senators gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would bring Missouri's use-of-force statute into compliance with parameters outlined in a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The court has ruled police can only use deadly force when an officer believes a fleeing felon poses a serious threat to others' safety. Missouri's law does not specify that a fleeing felon has to be dangerous.

The legislation also would allow anyone who believes their constitutional rights have been violated to bring a lawsuit in state court. Bill sponsor Sen. Bob Dixon faced resistance from fellow Republicans who said that could encourage frivolous lawsuits.

The bill needs another vote before going to the House.

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