A San Jose man rushed to help an injured police officer at Friday’s protest over the death of George Floyd, only to later get shot by another officer with a rubber bullet. Tim Harper was shot in the stomach by a police officer that left him with so much lasting pain that he had to take time off from his work.  He was trying to defend a teenage boy who was hit in the head by a police projectile outside of San Jose City Hall.  He said “I tried to walk up peacefully. I was a good distance from them and I just said ‘you guys just shot a kid in the head over here, what the heck is wrong with you guys’ and then the next thing I know, an officer walked through two officers, shot me, and then stepped behind the other two officers, and I just turned around and walked off.”

Inappropriate force.

Protestors are calling for Officer Jared Yuen, the officer who shot the rubber bullet at Mr. Harper, to be fired after videos support his negative actions yelling obscenities and shooting non-lethal ammunition into the crowd of peaceful protestors.  San Jose Police Chief Edgardo Garcia said he was not happy with Yuen’s actions but said the officer let his emotions get the better of him.  Yuen is currently under investigation for possible misconduct and reassigned to off-street duty, pending an internal investigation.

Chief minimized actions of officer.

Excessive force is the reason for the protests and the growing distrust of police forces all over the United States. When a police chief defends an officer’s actions based on his emotional state, he is minimizing the dangers of police interaction on the streets.  Utilizing poor judgment by compounding actions of force with more force because emotions are hot during police encounters is the reason for so many senseless deaths caused by police brutality. Moreover it speaks to a serious lack of training on de-escalation tactics, and minimizes the responsibility entrusted to police under the broad based powers given to them. The actions of an officer, regardless of whether or not the act is within the limits of his or her authority, is considered an act under color of law if the officer purports to be conducting himself or herself in the course of official duties.

Seek legal counsel.

If you identify with any form of police brutality, talk to a legal professional who might be able to help you make a formal complaint, take legal action if warranted and manage your damages.  Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality or excessive use of force.

Sources:

https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html

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