Constitutional and International Approaches on the Use of Police Force in Mexico and the United States

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José Luis Contreras Ramírez


In order to accomplish the aim of this article, we discuss law enforcement in Mexico and the United States from three angles. The international principles approach on the issue, constitutional lines, and several cases from their corresponding Supreme Courts, as well as the existing framework and mechanisms of police procedures for institutional accountability. In the first section, we assume that international standards have a weak influence in shaping domestic approaches to law enforcement. In the second section, we describe how, through case law, constitutional principles expand or restrain police abuse. While in the third one, we deal with internal or external processes and mechanisms of accountability for the police. The analysis of these three aspects is not purely normative, it addresses background elements on how police abuse is defined, instigated, or tolerated, both by institutional and even “legal” practices.

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