Police Complaints / Lawsuits
Are you or a loved one a victim of police brutality?
When the law enforcement officers of our community that we count on to protect us go too far and cause injury to innocent individuals due to excessive force those individuals may be entitled to compensation. If you have suffered abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer from our firm right away.
The law protects citizens from police misconduct that leads to abuse, even if you are being accused of committing a crime. Overzealous police officers that go too far and step over the boundaries and their authority can cause physical and emotional injury to the very citizens that they took an oath to protect. If you have sustained any type of injury due to police misconduct you do have recourse and the right to file a police complaint or law suit against the offending officer or officers.
Explaining Acts of Police Brutality
It is unfortunate to note that not every law enforcement officer will uphold their responsibilities to behave in a way befitting their position. In fact, many will even abuse the power that they have been given. Police brutality refers to the act of using excessive force, verbal attacks and intimidation of an officer in the line of duty and, unfortunately, it is far more common than one would hope.
According to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project on Police Brutality there were over 4,800 reports of police misconduct between January 2010 and December 2010 – with the involvement of over 6,000 sworn officers. The report also noted that over 6,800 people were victimized, with over 240 people losing their lives as a result of the action. In these reports, over 24 percent of all reports were related to excessive force.
What were the other forms of police misconduct tracked?
- Sexual Misconduct – 9.3%
- Fraud / Theft – 7.2%
- False Arrest – 6.8%
- Accountability – 5.8%
- Drugs – 5%
Other forms included color of law, domestic violence, raids / searches, assault and more. Excessive force, however, accounting for almost a quarter of all reports – primarily with physical force (57%). Other forms included the use of a firearm (15%), taser (11%), chemical (2%), K9 (2%) and mixed (13%).
When are police legally allowed to use force?
In their job description, police are technically allowed to use force should the situation call for it. This, however, is very subjective. When is it appropriate to use excessive force? Without strict regulation, police can begin to feel as if they are above the law that they have sworn to protect – which can lead to reckless and even abusive behavior on their part. According to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), police are allowed to use force whenever it is necessary to carry out the responsibility of their job.
How is this determined? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), police should use a test of reasonable belief to determine whether or not it was correct to utilize force. Did the officer have reasonable belief that their actions were necessary to accomplish a police purpose? If so, it could be argued that they were acting within the parameters of their job. Unfortunately, there is no concrete guideline for this test – as reasonable belief and necessary can be argued by both sides on what is proper and what is not.
Throughout the nation, there have been problems associated with the use of excessive force. The BJS reported that in 2008, over 1.4 percent of all people who came into contact with police reported that they felt threatened or that force had been used. Of these people, over 78 percent said that they felt it had been excessive in nature. More than half said they had been either pushed or grabbed and a quarter said that they had sustained an injury from the use of force during the contact. Only 40 percent of those who said that they had been subjected to excessive force were actually arrested.
While police officers are placed in dangerous situations and given great responsibility to care for the local communities, they should never act above the law. If you have recently been subjected to wrongful actions by a police officer – especially if they played a part in your arrest – then you need to get the involvement of an attorney right away who will be able to protect your legal rights. At our firm, we recognize the implications of excessive force and will do everything that we can to help defend you.
Handling Cases of Excessive Force
At Perez & Cedeño, P.C. we have been helping both English and Spanish speaking clients meet their legal needs in all areas of criminal defense law. Making sure you get your just compensation for your injuries after a police misconduct incident requires immediate action and extensive experience in such matters. You have a right to recourse for your damages and the proven and understanding professionals at our firm will be with you through each step of the process. Call us today and see how we can assist you. Helping you achieve the best possible outcome for you legal issue is our number one goal.