Police departments do have an affirmative duty to handle situations with a certain amount of care, even if they are dealing with people who are alleged to be criminals. If a person experiences an injury or dies while they are in police custody, the department may be held responsible for their improper actions or neglect.
Suspect dies after being taken into custody for burglary
Louisiana State Police were trying to determine how a man suddenly died while in the custody of a municipal department in the state. The Opelousas Police had been investigating some burglaries in the area when they first came into contact with the 36 year old male victim. They believe the suspect had been knocking on the doors of several homes in the Herman Ave area. A witness in the area said the knocking may have been because the victim was asking for help and he believed his life was already in danger. The victim’s girlfriend said he was suffering from mental health issues, and he was not given any kind of help by the police. Shortly afterwards, she saw a police van that contained his body driving away from the scene. The state police have procedures for investigating deaths involving other departments in Louisiana, and they promised a transparent investigation. As of now, no one has been disciplined or charged criminally in connection with his death.
Opelousas is south of the city of Monroe in St. Landry Parish.
Are the police responsible?
Police departments are ultimately responsible for those in their custody, and they can be sued for negligent or intentional acts that result in the death of a suspect. Regardless of what an investigation by the state police or local department reveals, a police brutality lawyer can still allege that the department violated its duty of care by allowing someone to die while in their custody. These kinds of civil lawsuits can be filed even if no one is ever charged criminally for the death, or if the police investigation of the incident turns into a dead end.
What is the value of a wrongful death at the hands of the police?
Wrongful death lawsuits are available in each state to assist the family of the victim in paying for various costs related to their death. Although each state has different rules for wrongful death cases, theses kinds of lawsuits make the party responsible pay for all kinds of expenses that will fall on the family after a person dies.
The defendant may have to pay out damages related to the victim’s funeral and burial expenses to the surviving family members, along with an amount based on their future lost earning potential. There are usually shorter time limits for a wrongful death claim than most other types of lawsuits, so it is crucial to talk to your lawyer as soon as possible after a family member dies.
Get help from a police brutality expert in your town
There are attorneys available who specialize in lawsuits against the police. Contact the Downs Law Firm for assistance in Monroe and nearby parts of Louisiana after an injury or wrongful death.