While people who have multiple encounters with the police often do have criminal records, those who work in law enforcement are still held to certain professional standards. Proper procedures for arrest, use of force, and detention need to be followed regardless of who is present during any arrest. An incident in Huntington Beach California shows how even those with a long criminal history can be mistreated by the police.

Man with long criminal history shot by police in Huntington Beach

A 27 year old man named Dillan Tabares was fatally shot by the police during an argument outside of a 7 Eleven convenience store in Huntington Beach. The victim was known to have multiple convictions, and was even the main suspect in a vicious fatal beating of an elderly man that had happened just days earlier. Police analysis found DNA evidence on the victim’s clothing after the shooting matching the older man, incriminating surveillance videos, along with Tabares’ contact information stored in the man’s phone. The two apparently knew each other from when the 80 year old had helped Tabares with his substance abuse issues and given him a place to stay when he was homeless. These connections would have been sufficient evidence to bring charges against him for that unrelated killing.

Some of Tabares’ previous arrests included disturbing the peace, carrying a dagger, possession of an opium pipe, resisting arrest, felony battery with serious bodily injury, and numerous issues with probation in the two years before his death.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the shooting and use of force by their officers after the video of the deadly encounter at the 7 Eleven surfaced on social media.

Character evidence and trials

In a case for police brutality or most other incidents, there is a type of evidence called character evidence that is usually excluded because it is too prejudicial. This is integrated into state and federal rules of evidence to ensure that a trial is about one issue rather than allowing a jury to make a decision based on someone’s reputation. If a jury hears that someone is already a convicted criminal or has other unrelated problems that have no bearing on the case in front of them, it will probably cause them to view the person unfavorably and decide accordingly. The American legal system has been modified over the years to make sure juries do not have the opportunity to make such strong assumptions.

During a trial for police misconduct, evidence of someone’s prior criminal acts would normally not be introduced or discussed at all, as these previous infractions do not give police officers the ability to hurt someone without consequence. They are still only supposed to detain them and allow the courts to decide their fate.

Regardless of who is a victim of police brutality, they still have the right to file a lawsuit for excessive use of force and other violations of their civil rights. This can even be done on the behalf of those who are incarcerated or have criminal charges pending. It is certainly possible for people with criminal records to be injured by police, and they still have the right to retain a lawyer and be compensated for their injuries and mistreatment.

Contact a lawyer in the Huntington Beach area today

If you have been mistreated by a police officer because of your reputation or any other reason in Huntington Beach or places nearby in California, there is legal help available. An experienced police brutality attorney can speak with you and file a case on your behalf.

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