Negative Media Headlines.

Media headlines often challenge us with negative portrayals of law enforcement from every part of the United States, making it difficult to maintain a trusting attitude toward police and give officers respect without fearing any type of encounter with them.  As public servants, police officers are supposed to hold the community interests above their own and act ethically and professionally when they have stressful encounters with suspects and other individuals in the communities they serve.  Unfortunately, there are officers like Arizona Police Officer Philip Brailsford in the execution-style death of a Texas dad at a motel where he was staying for job-related travel, who ruin the efforts of professional ethical officers honoring their the oath of service to the community.

Excessive Force Complaints and Unlawful Search and Seizure.

Excessive force complaints seem to pop up everywhere and police departments must develop current policies and procedures for dealing effectively with law breakers.  The policies should support techniques that allow a reasonable balance of force sufficient to control the specific encounter at hand. If you are not certain if you have been a victim of excessive force or unlawful search and seizure activities, contact a civil rights lawyer for a consultation.  The Gilbert Police Department’s policy states that “officers shall not use more force than is reasonably necessary to accomplish their lawful purpose or protect themselves and others from bodily harm.  Reasonableness must be judged from an officer at the scene’s perspective and in that moment, not from a vision of hindsight.  Allowance is made for split-second judgments based on tense, uncertain and rapidly-evolving circumstances.”

If you meet up with an unethical police officer during a traffic stop, it could put you in harm’s way for excessive force actions or unlawful search and seizure encounters, both are forms of police brutality.  A traffic stop for a simple traffic violation should not end up a case of life or death, or beatings and imprisonment.  It is in the driver’s best interest to avoid any confrontation or difference of opinion with a police officer when they are pulled over for a traffic stop in Gilbert, Arizona.

Maintain Safety During Traffic Stop.

Steps to follow to maintain your safety.

  1. When you see the officer’s lights to signal you to pull over, do so in a safe, timely manner utilizing your turn signals and lights appropriately and stop in a safe place on the right of the roadway. Come to a complete stop and put the car in park.  To be extra safe put your hands on the steering wheel and do not reach for anything until the officer requests it.  Keep your seatbelt fastened.  If it is dark out, it is a good idea to turn your interior light on first, so the officer can see you better and not assume any ill-fated deeds.
  2. Roll down the window at some point. Do not step out of your car unless you are instructed to do so by the police.  Remember to not act strangely or move things about like you are trying to hide anything, you do not need to cause undue suspicion that the officer may claim gave him cause for a full search of your vehicle.  If there is something in plain view, like an open beer can, alcohol bottle or joint then you have given the officer cause to search your vehicle, at which point he may proceed. If the officer asks information about firearms, answer appropriately.
  3. An officer who is suspicious that you pose a danger, has a right to pat you down on the outer surface of your clothing. If he feels you have something in your pocket that could be a weapon, he might secure  that, or if you have your phone on you, he could take that as well but not look at anything on it.
  4. Let the officer talk, and you should answer when appropriate, and give him the documentation he requests, such as license, registration and insurance card.
  5. Do not act rudely or argue with the police officer as it may exacerbate the situation. Politely take the citation and move on.  Make note of the officer’s name and badge number.
  6. If you have some complaint about the way the traffic stop was handled, make a formal complaint about it to the police station, not the officer at the time you are being pulled over. This insures your safety in the event you are dealing with an unethical officer who is just waiting for someone to be at odds with him.
  7. If you feel you were racially profiled by the officer, note that on your formal complaint when you are a safe distance from the traffic stop location.

During the traffic stop the police officer should:

  1. Greet the driver.
  2. Identify themselves.
  3. Obtain driver license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  4. Inform driver of reason for stop and explain citation or warning.
  5. Check validity of forms given to officer.

The Gilbert Police Department’s employees are certified by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and serve and protect the citizens of Gilbert, Arizona through measures that enhance the community’s quality of life while interacting through integrity, trust and respect. Arizona Statute Title 28 concerning traffic laws, and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution should be used as guides to police activity concerning traffic stops in Gilbert Arizona.  A traffic stop can escalate to areas of police brutality including the most common:

  • Excessive Force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death.
  • Sexual Harassment/Misconduct – unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by law enforcement in the course of their job.
  • False Arrest and Wrongful Imprisonment – unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement by another acting in perceived accordance with the law.
  • Wrongful Search and Seizure Activity – protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures” notwithstanding probable cause enabling a search warrant.
  • Racial and Gender Discrimination – bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties.

Seek Legal Counsel.

There are various federal and state laws that insure remedy to individuals who have suffered the negative effects of police brutality.  If you feel you have been a victim of any form of police brutality by an officer in Gilbert Arizona, you should seek professional legal help to file a complaint and have them review your case to see if you can file a legal case and sue for damages.

Sources:

http://az.elaws.us/ars/28-622

https://www.gilbertaz.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=13679

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