It is becoming more common for police misconduct to be captured on video recordings as people are accustomed to recording on their phones and surveillance cameras are present in most public places. An incident in Santa Clara County shows how this kind of evidence can be a big help to plaintiffs in cases of police violence.
A federal jury came back with a large judgment against 3 San Jose police officers for beating a man in 2015.
Beating results in large verdict against the city of San Jose
A neighbor was recording the incident form his bedroom window without being spotted by the officers on the scene. The video of the underlying events begins with the police giving the victim a pat down while he is standing in front of a police car. He stands in this same spot for several minutes while police were searching his car and checking his credentials. He began to yell to his father nearby a statement in Spanish about securing his car if he is arrested. The officers begin telling him to be quiet in English. Shortly after this verbal altercation, one of the officers slams the victim into the police car and begins to hit him repeatedly. The impact of the man being forced against the car was violent enough to also break the mirror. The two other officers on the scene begin to protect their co-worker as the victim was dealt at least 15 blows. The police later attempted to justify their behavior by writing that the man was uncooperative and combative during the encounter. They also charged him with driving without a license, drunk driving, and resisting arrest, but all the charges were dropped when the video emerged.
As the victim retained a civil attorney and began to go through the process to start a trial based on the incident, the city had initially offered the victim a $25,000 settlement, which was rejected. The city attorney for San Jose said he did not want the municipality to become a target for people seeking settlement money, but acknowledged the risks of a trial. A day after the trial concluded, the jury came back with a $350,000 verdict for the victim. This is not the first time that the San Jose police have been a source of financial liability, as the city has paid out approximately $16 million in damages from 2004 to 2016 in cases involving inappropriate use of force. In other words, police beatings are costing the city over a millions dollars each year on average.
The ability to collect when strong evidence is available
As the previous incident shows, a video or other evidence that clearly shows the police abused their power and injured someone can have a large value in an excessive use of force case. For those who are injured and have similar proof available, making copies and providing the video to a civil attorney is the best way to attempt to receive compensation.
The city of San Jose was willing to settle immediately by paying the victim thousands of dollars, however in cases of severe beatings or reckless actions by the police, a verdict from a jury can be worth even more. The social climate in the USA has been changing over the last several years to become less tolerant of police involved violence and killings. A skilled police brutality lawyer will know how to use this information to help a victim receive the most money possible.
Speak with a police brutality lawyer today
There are lawyers available in San Jose, Santa Clara County, and the rest of California who can file a claim when someone is injured by the police. They can give specific advice about how to proceed with a case against the appropriate department or city.