Police Shooting: A Deeper Dive into the Implications of Police Use of Force

The quiet town of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was roused to alarm in the early hours of Monday when a police chase culminated in the shooting of Dominick Hogans, a 27-year-old resident of the area. According to a report by 69 News on July 24, 2023, the incident occurred around 3:40 a.m., initiated by a call about Hogans allegedly brandishing a firearm around 6th and Turner streets1. As these events unfold, the echoes of previous confrontations between law enforcement and civilians resonate, igniting debates surrounding police procedure, use of force, and the sanctity of human life.

Carlos Garcia, an eyewitness to the aftermath from the vicinity of the incident, recounted the harrowing experience of hearing the gunshots and subsequently witnessing Hogans' lifeless body1. This visceral recounting captures the palpable tension and fear that ripples through a community when such events transpire.

A Historical Lens: Previous Precedents on Police Use of Force

When analyzing this incident from a legal perspective, we cannot help but draw parallels with other notable cases that have challenged the boundaries of police use of force. One of the most prominent cases in this context is Tennessee v. Garner (1985), where the U.S. Supreme Court held that under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, the officer may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless the officer has probable cause to believe the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm either to the officer or to others2. The Court opined that the use of deadly force is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment and, hence, must be reasonable.

The reported facts from the Allentown incident mention that Hogans allegedly fired at the officers1, which might be seen as presenting a clear danger, and thus, the use of deadly force could be viewed as justified under the Garner standard. However, every case is unique and hinges on its specifics.

Another case to consider is Graham v. Connor (1989), which established an "objective reasonableness" standard for evaluating the use of force3. The Court in this case emphasized that the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

The convergence of these cases highlights a complex and often contentious legal framework. The imminent investigations by various bodies, including the Allentown Police Department and Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office1, will play a crucial role in shedding light on the specifics of the incident, which will be essential in understanding its legal ramifications.

While these cases provide some guidance, it's essential to remember that the application of the law to specific incidents requires a detailed examination of the facts. The outcome of the Allentown shooting will not only be guided by these precedents but will also be influenced by the specific circumstances that surrounded this tragic event.

Stay tuned as we continue to monitor the developments of this investigation and its potential implications for police procedures and civil rights.


  1. "Investigation underway after man killed in Allentown Police involved shooting." 69 News, Jul 24, 2023. 2 3 4
  2. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985).
  3. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).


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