Boca Raton is a very ethnically-diverse city, with citizens from a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Boca Raton residents report their race to be White, followed by Black or African-American, with a large Hispanic population and ancestries that include Italian, German, Irish, English, and Russian. As Americans, we are afforded rights under the Constitution of the United States, including protection from unjust behavior exhibited by law enforcement during police encounters.
Police prejudice can lead to other misconduct.
Officers shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in establishing either reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or as a reason for requesting consent to search, or using excessive force actions during police engagement due to any prejudice. Bias-based profiling is frowned upon in all police-initiated actions, including investigative detentions, field and traffic contacts, arrests, searches, asset seizures and forfeiture efforts.
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 guided by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
- 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.
- Sexual Assault – when a police officer has engaged in sexual harassment or abuse, under the guise of their professional employment.
- 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.
Police misconduct laws.
State and federal laws addressing police misconduct include criminal and civil statutes to cover officers’ action in state, county and local jurisdictions, including prisons and jails. Constitutional protections that are often violated include a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights that allow them to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects from search and seizure by an officer without probable cause or a warrant, and can lead to escalated encounters. Legal action can be initiated when police misconduct results in losses to a victim.
The 2018 Florida Statutes Chapter 776 outlines the law on “Justifiable Use of Force” as it pertains to Police Officer activity in Section 776.05 whereby an officer is justified in the use of any force:
- Which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or others from bodily harm during an arrest;
- When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or
- When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice.
Hire an attorney.
If you, or a loved one has been victimized with any type of police misconduct, contact an experienced attorney who is familiar with all facets of a police brutality case so they may review your claim and see if you have a cause for action to recover damages.
Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality or excessive use of force.