When most incidents of police brutality happen, departments will usually release some kind of general statement that relevant procedures were followed properly by the officers in question. This is true even in some cases where there is clear evidence of mistreatment captured on video. Within the police departments that operate in our communities, there is a culture of protecting members of the law enforcement community. This often comes at the expense of the public in many situations. Such careless attitudes also result in people being hurt with little recourse from the administrative process for filing complaints against officers.

A violent arrest at a waffle house in Saraland in Mobile County Alabama demonstrates the range of authority police are given when handling suspects. Unfortunately, this is another example of how this power is used to hurt or embarrass people just as often as protecting them.

Police mistreat detained woman in Saraland waffle house

Saraland Police had responded to a 911 call over a disturbance at a waffle house where some people had brought alcoholic beverages inside and refused to discard them. When the police arrived, they had a confrontation with one of the women inside who allegedly yelled at some of the restaurant employees. Three police officers approached her, grabbed her and threw her to the ground, placed hands on her throat, threatened to break her arm, and removed her shirt during the encounter. The entire incident was captured on a video that received much media attention and created public outcries from N.A.A.C.P. and other groups. There were also accusations of racial profiling and racism based on the fact that three white male officers are seen physically overpowering one black woman.

After the incident, a detective from the Saraland Police said that the actions of the officers were proper to diffuse the situation given the circumstances. The detective also stated that the woman who was detained refused to obey their commands to put her hands behind her back and continually threatened the employees nearby. None of the officers involved were disciplined. The woman they detained on the video was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The lack of policies that actually discipline police

Statements defending police actions and absolving them of any wrongdoing are commonplace. Departments have their own internal affairs departments that can investigate accusations of misconduct, but this rarely results in any kind of serious sanctions against the offending officers. Local prosecutors often refrain from filing criminal cases against police in their communities unless pressured to do so, or only when indisputable evidence of criminal activity is captured. Even when police officers are charged criminally, their defense attorneys hire former law enforcement personnel as expert witnesses to justify all kinds of ridiculous behavior.

While police officers are authorized to detain suspects and use the amount of force necessary to prevent further injury to those nearby and property damage, there is a tendency to embellish on exactly what kinds of behavior are protected by this protocol. Obviously, police do not need to strike and verbally abuse or threaten someone who is already detained.

Why is it necessary to retain a lawyer after being mistreated by the police?

The problems created by the freedom officers are given can only effectively be addressed by civil lawsuits. Regardless of whether an office is formally admonished or criminally charged, a lawyer can file a complaint on your behalf that alleges violations of various civil rights that are protected by the constitution. In these instances, people are compensated relative to the amount of harm caused by improper police conduct.

Legal help is available in Mobile County

If you have been mistreated by police in Saraland, Mobile County, or anywhere nearby in Alabama, there is legal help available. Jeffrey E. Estes and Associates have experience helping people who have been injured in many situations. They can speak with you and give advice regarding how to proceed with a lawsuit against a police department.