Police beatings of helpless citizens are now common news due to the mass availability of camera phones, social media, and better surveillance technology. Brevard County Florida has also had to deal with its share of these incidents, especially in the Melbourne area. On some occasions, the officers will also face criminal charges for their actions.
Melbourne Police Beating
The Brevard Times reported an incident that involved a Melbourne Police Officer beating a man who was already handcuffed. They believe that the officer was in the process of transportingthe suspect to a local hospital. As they arrived, the officer made a closed fist and punched the suspect in the face several times before removing him from his squad car and escorting him inside. Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement later arrested the officer and assisted the local State Attorney in bringing felony battery charges against him. Chief Mimbs of the Melbourne Police released a statement where he emphasized the transparency and professionalism of the department and condoned the officer’s actions.
Can victims also file civil lawsuits to recover damages?
As a general rule, criminal and civil lawsuits are handled by separate court systems and they have totally different objectives. In a criminal case, a prosecutor and defense attorney battle to see whether all the elements of a crime can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt to result in a guilty verdict. In a civil case the parties argue over whether a defendant should owe a plaintiff a monetary judgment by a lower standard, such as a preponderance of evidence. Most counties around the county have their civil and criminal cases heard in separate buildings.
Even in a situation where the local prosecutor chooses to bring criminal charges related to a police beating, you can still file a civil lawsuit against the officer and the department they work for. A claim in a beating incident may attempt to show excessive use of force, or that the officer was acting outside of their normal authority by causing an injury to someone. The department may also be negligent for allowing the incident to happen based on the officer’s history and other factors. The simple answer is that both an officer and their department can be sued by a victim even if there is another pending criminal case or if the officer has already been disciplined or convicted.
Despite cases such as this, it is actually quite rare that a police officer will be charged criminally for hitting someone. They are given broad discretion to use a certain level of force to subdue suspects or restore peaceful conditions. However in cases where an officer is actually charged, this can be a great benefit for your lawyer in a civil case as well. It usually counts as evidence that the actions were egregious enough to be considered criminal rather than a necessary use of force.
Local Attorneys knows how to Handle Police Beatings
There are local lawyers available in Brevard County who have experience winning cases against police officers and their departments. They can use this same expertise to help you win a judgment against an officer who has caused pain and injuries to you or your family members.