Graham v. Connor set an important precedent in defining the standards for evaluating the use of force by law enforcement. This case has had a lasting impact on how courts assess police actions involving force, emphasizing the objective reasonableness standard. It addressed a critical need to strike a balance between law enforcement’s duty to maintain public safety and individual rights, particularly during high-stress and rapidly evolving situations. This landmark case emerged from an incident involving a diabetic individual, Dethorne Graham, highlighting the necessity of understanding unique circumstances and considering the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene when evaluating the use of force.
On November 12, 1984, Dethorne Graham, a diabetic man, experienced a hypoglycemic episode and needed sugar to stabilize his blood sugar levels. He asked a friend to drive him to a convenience store in Charlotte, North Carolina. Concerned for Graham’s well-being, his friend hastily drove to the store, where Graham entered to purchase orange juice. Due to the long lines, Graham quickly left without making a purchase.