Police Misconduct and Brutality Lawsuits
Police Misconduct and Brutality Lawsuits
Police officers are charged with upholding the law and protecting the people in the communities they serve; it is devastating when a police officer breaks this public trust and abuses his or her power. Fortunately, the majority of police officers are dedicated to their jobs and act with integrity. Unfortunately, however, cases of police brutality and misconduct continue to appear across the country.
Being victimized by an authority figure can be traumatizing, causing emotional, financial, and physical damage and injury. Pursuing litigation over police brutality allows victims and their families to seek justice and also protects other civilians who may fall prey to police misconduct.
If you or someone you know experienced police brutality or misconduct, call Parker Waichman LLP today.
Types of Police Misconduct
Police misconduct may take many different forms. The most frequent example involves the use of excessive force, or brutality. Police officers are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force, as necessary, to control a situation. If an officer exceeds what is deemed reasonable, he or she may be guilty of violating an individual's civil rights. Excessive use of force may also lead to serious injuries, including disability and death. Examples of police misconduct may include:
- Coercion or blackmail
- Excessive force
- False arrest or wrongful imprisonment
- Fatal shootings
- Illegal search and seizure
- Racial profiling
- Sexual assault
Weapons and Excessive Force
Some victims allege harm through the use of a weapon, such as a Taser or a gun. The precise legal use of police firearms is dictated by each state; however, typically policies indicate that guns should only be used when a police officer or another person is in imminent danger, or if a suspect who allegedly committed a dangerous crime is fleeing and poses an imminent danger to others following their escape. Sadly, there have been a number of cases in which a police officer used his or her firearm in unwarranted situations, sometimes allegedly killing an innocent civilian.
Excessive force may also occur through Tasing. Many believe that Tasers are non-lethal; however, that is not necessarily the case. According to an Amnesty International report for the United States from 2015 to 2016, at least 670 Taser-related deaths occurred since 2001; 43 Taser-related deaths occurred across 25 states. The report also found that authorities fail to accurately document the number of people killed by law enforcement each year, noting that estimates range anywhere from 458 to more than 1,000 people. Additionally, Amnesty International described state statutes on the use of lethal force "far too permissive," nothing that "none limit the use of firearms to a last resort only after non-violent and less harmful means are exhausted, and where the officer or others are faced with an imminent threat of death or serious injury."
Illegal Search and Seizure
Police misconduct may involve a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from illegal searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment indicates that civilians cannot be searched without probable cause.
What Should I Do If I Am A Victim?
Cases of police brutality may be complicated because many victims go directly to jail after allegedly being abused, which may lead to further trauma. If you are free to act after being victimized, you should take the following steps to start seeking justice:
- Document the entire incident in detail. This includes taking numerous photos of your injuries and any damage.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Healthcare professionals will not only treat your injuries, they will also document your injuries in your medical records.
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the alleged police brutality.
- Contact one of our attorneys
If you find yourself in the hands of law enforcement after the misconduct, do your best to remain as calm as possible in order to protect yourself. Comply with requests made of you by law enforcement. Do not show any signs of non-compliance, as this could be used against you. Contact one of our attorneys as soon as the incident is over.
Parker Waichman's Experience With Police Misconduct and Brutality Lawsuits
Parker Waichman has received, on behalf of its clients, monetary awards for various plaintiffs who were, for example:
- Assaulted by correction officers at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility.
- Assaulted by Emergency Medical Service (EMS) worker.
- Thrown down a flight of stairs by a police officer.
- Shot in the back by a police officer.
- Shot at by a police officer while sitting on steps outside his home with his child.
| Legal Help for Victims of Police Brutality and Misconduct
If you or someone you know suffered police brutality or misconduct, you may have valuable legal rights. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call one of our experienced attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).