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When Police Use Force: Context, Methods, Outcomes

Craig Boylstein
When Police Use Force: Context, Methods, Outcomes
ISBN: 978-1-62637-699-1
ISBN: 978-1-62637-719-6
2018/171 pages/LC: 2017052771

"Thorough, objective, and impressive at every turn.... From start to finish, [this book] is exceptional." —Frank Shor and Brandon Dulisse, Criminal Law & Criminal Justice Books

"Contains a wealth of material on a topic desperately needing additional research and discussion."—Captain Howard Rahtz, Cincinnati Police Department (Retired)


New technology has offered the public the opportunity to witness police use of force far more frequently than in the past—and has brought into sharp focus a number of big questions. Where does police power to use force come from? How have the federal courts ruled on the subject?  What sort of guidelines have police departments given their officers, and are they appropriate guidelines? Do the officers follow them?

Craig Boylstein draws extensively on nationwide data to explore these questions, addressing current controversies, analyzing how force is applied in various contexts and across various populations, and considering the role of policing as social control in the modern state.


Craig Boylstein is associate professor of sociology at Coastal Carolina University.


  • Defining Police Use of Force.
  • The Federal Courts and Police Use of Force.
  • Measuring Police Use of Force.
  • Do Police Treat Different Groups Differently?
  • Current Controversies.
  • Demanding Justice.