Some police officers will use the law enforcement knowledge and resources at their command for personal reasons. At times this can be manifested in violence, false charges, or other incidents of police misconduct. Using the legal process is the best way to make sure an officer or anyone else who is responsible have to answer for their actions. In some of these situations, the officer will also be terminated from their position and charged criminally.
An Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy was charged in connection with an incident where a hotel guest was violently beaten by the officer and another man who broke into his room.
Burglary and beating by officer at victim’s hotel
A 32 year old male officer from Erie County stormed into the victim’s hotel room with another male suspect. The officer then held the victim to the ground while a bat or club-like object was used by the other suspect to beat the victim. Local prosecutors had reported that the victim was suffering from heavy bleeding and a number of cuts all over his body. Nothing seems to have been stolen from the hotel room during the incident. The motive appears to have been some kind of prior dispute between the victim and the other two men, but the specifics of what caused such a violent reaction are unknown.
The officer and his accomplice were charged with crimes related to burglary and assault. The department had also suspended the officer without pay while the incident was under investigation.
The possibility of a lawsuit
An incident like this is even more egregious than most police brutality cases because there was no connection to an active crime or criminal investigation. The officer apparently had some kind of personal vendetta against the victim and took out his frustrations in a violent manner. The incident also happened well outside of the officer’s jurisdiction in a town on the other side of the state. The victim can file a civil lawsuit that will factor the total damages caused by the officer’s actions. This can include medical treatment and hospitalization for the injuries, missed time from work, and emotional and psychological trauma tied to the incident.
How are departments made to answer for the acts of an off duty officer?
Some cases involving off duty officers can be complex. While the officer is being charged criminally for his acts, the civil lawsuit filed by the victim will be totally separate and the town or department that hired him will also be joined as a defendant. If the officer used government resources to obtain information about a victim, there may be some responsibility from the department that employed him. The department may have also engaged in negligent hiring practices if they allowed an unstable person to obtain and abuse the authority of a law enforcement officer.
Get legal help after an injury caused by the police
To receive advice after any incident of police misconduct, contact Henn, Haworth, Cummings, and Page. Their attorneys are available to provide free consultations to potential clients in the Erie Pennsylvania area.