Police officers allowed “use of force” including hands, batons, tasers, or other weapons when necessary, and in accordance with officer training and department policy, is among the many misinterpreted powers placed upon government employees, and a topic prevalent in our daily news.  The broad-based authority given to police to use force while apprehending criminals, utilizing both physical and psychological methods, to deter and reduce crime is based on policy that dictates what is considered “reasonable” force in any given situation and is often difficult to clarify and measure.

Even young people are victimized by police brutality, and the death surrounding a 14 year-old boy in Arizona is under scrutiny for excessive use of force and police brutality.

How can I keep my family safe from the overzealous use of force demonstrated by the Maricopa County Police?  Excessive use of force and police presence were once sought after to keep citizens safe from criminals and leave them feeling protected within their communities. Civil rights violations are popping up all over the United States every day and police brutality, bias-based policing, and excessive force are at the root of this national crisis, especially in the larger cities where there are more citizens to protect, and more criminals to subdue.  When young men and women are beaten, arrested and even killed due to police action, a new system of checks and balances must be put into play.  The negative public view of police departments and their actions have forced regional police departments to develop actionable policies addressing internal checks and balances to reduce the incidents of any of the categories of police brutality, and address formal reports, citizen reports and social media reports that fuel the actions of those in powerful positions. Incidents of force are growing in proportion to push back from both sides of the argument with rapidly growing tension on the side of the police, who take an oath to serve and protect, and those persons who have been damaged by overarching authority, including excessive use of force and brutality

What is police brutality?

Police brutality occurs when officers overstep their prescribed duties in accordance with training and policy and act alternately to cause physical harm through beating, taser use or officers using firearms in Maricopa, AZ.  Situations may require the use of force, but excessive force may cause serious injury, and sometimes death as seen in many cases across the United States.  Excessive force is not the only violation of police brutality: other actions include false arrest and wrongful imprisonment; wrongful search and seizure activity; sexual harassment; racial and gender discrimination; and general abuse against civilians.  Police brutality is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied by affected persons, when misguided police officers overstep the boundaries of their “allowed use of force” as defined by individual State and local policy based in part, upon the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Actionable offenses to citizens include:

  • Excessive Force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death.
  • 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.

Efforts instituted by Maricopa Police Department to address violations involving excessive use of force.

Since 2015 the Maricopa Police Department consistently monitors and self-audits the policies and procedures of the department to ensure that they are reflective of the nationwide best practices. Procedures are also adopted, and personnel trained, that are influenced by national events.  Critical areas of development since 2015 have included:

  1. Adoption of key components from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Final Report
  2. Bias based profiling
  3. Defensive tactics, including de-escalation of use of force
  4. Distraction device driving
  5. Quarterly testing on use of force, pursuit, and search and seizure policies
  6. Department wide training totaled more than 4,300 continuing education hours. The average number of hours completed for each employee was 62, and the most hours training by one employee was 200 hours.

If you know someone or feel you have been subjected to any of these activities of police misconduct, seek legal counsel to see if compensation for injuries, damages for physical injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering could be sought after to remedy the affront.

Sources:

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

https://www.change.org/p/the-aclu-the-fight-against-racial-profiling-and-police-brutality-in-maricopa-county-arizona

http://www.maricopa-az.gov/web/victim-services/victim-services-additional-resources