Use of force meets the force of the law

28 Photos

Reuters photographers around the world have taken portraits of police officers, and asked them at what point are they legally permitted to use force to control crowds.

When the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, in August sparked sometimes violent protests, the response of police in camouflage gear and armored vehicles wielding stun grenades and assault rifles seemed more like a combat operation than a public order measure.

Some U.S. police departments have recently acquired U.S. military-surplus hardware from wars abroad, but there are many law enforcers around the world whose rules of engagement also allow the use of lethal force with relatively few restrictions. But for every regulation that gives police wide scope to use firearms, there is another code that sharply limits their use.