Police brutality is defined as the unwarranted use of excessive force by a police officer. Police brutality is typically thought of as physical, but can be verbal or emotional as well. Police brutality can have devastating consequences for victims, and can bring embarrassment to the department that employs the offending officer.
Examples of Police Brutality Floirda
The killing of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014 has given rise to increased concerns about police brutality. While police are authorized to use deadly force if necessary, citizens and police departments are often divided about exactly what circumstances justify the use of extreme force. A police brutality attorney may be able to help victims understand whether a specific incident constitutes police brutality.
Examples of police brutality include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual assault by an officer
- Use of police power to force an individual to engage in unwanted actions
- Physical violence that is executed without threat to the officer
- Unnecessary strip searches
- Verbal intimidation and aggression
- Racial profiling or other discrimination
Effects of Police Brutality
The effects of police brutality are far-reaching. Victims may suffer physical harm, psychological damage, and even fatality in extreme cases. Police departments may suffer from damaged reputations that can hurt funding prospects and the morale of hardworking officers. Police brutality also has societal impacts, as citizens feel compelled to avoid police and lose faith that police departments are willing and able to provide protection.
Police Brutality Case Challenges
Police brutality cases may present challenges that are not present in other types of legal matters. The victims of police brutality are often arrested, which inhibits the victim’s ability to immediately contact a police brutality attorney. This may hinder the victim’s ability to record details of the incident that will be important when pursuing legal action against the officer. Victims may also face repercussions by the police department if complaints are filed while an investigation is ongoing.
Steps to Take
If victims of police brutality are not immediately detained or incapacitated following an incident of police brutality, taking certain steps may help when pursuing legal action. Collecting evidence such as photographs and video documentation of the injuries may help to prove that the incident occurred. Acquiring statements and personal information from witnesses in the vicinity may help to clarify details of the incident, and these witnesses may be able to testify on behalf of the victim later. Seeking medical attention will help to prevent injuries from worsening, and records provided may be used as evidence. If the victim is arrested or incapacitated, it may be possible for a friend or family member to collect evidence that will help support a police brutality claim. An experienced police brutality attorney should also be contacted as soon as possible, whether by the victims or family members.
Police Brutality Florida Lawsuits
Victims of police brutality may be able to successfully pursue legal action on the grounds that constitutional rights were violated. Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act allows citizens to sue government officials for rights violations. While this Section was originally intended to protect victims of racism from discrimination by authorities, it can successfully be used to defend individuals that have suffered rights violations in police brutality cases.
Violation of Rights
The amendments that are most often violated in cases of police brutality are the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteen amendments. The Fourth Amendment can be violated by the unlawful search or seizure of a person’s property. This can occur whenever an officer unlawfully touches a person or their property, whether with hands or a weapon. The Fifth Amendment may be violated if an officer unlawfully interrogates a victim without reading Miranda rights. A violation of the Fourteenth Amendment occurs whenever there is racial profiling against a victim.
Police Brutality Liability Florida
Victims of police brutality may be able to sue the offending police officer and supervisors, the city or county governments, and the mayor of the city. An experienced police brutality attorney will be able to help victims understand who can be held liable based on the details of the incident. An attorney will also be able to help victims acquire the necessary evidence and testimony to successfully obtain compensation for police brutality.
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Fitch, Brian D. “Understanding the Psychology of Police Misconduct.” Police Chief. Jan 2011: 24-27. Web. 26 Sep. 2014. <http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2290&issue_id=12011>
“For One Young Black Man in Newark, ‘The Talk’ was about Police.” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, 26 Sep 2014. Web. 26 Sep 2014. <https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform-free-speech-racial-justice/one-young-black-man-newark-talk-was-about-police>
“How Do I Report Police Misconduct.” Flex Your Rights. Flex Your Rights. Web. 26 Sep 2014. <http://www.flexyourrights.org/faqs/how-to-report-police-misconduct/>