Police officers are a part of first response units that arrive on the scene when there are crimes and emergencies. This means that police have duties similar to personnel such as EMTs and firefighters to render aid in the form of medical treatment or other forms of assistance to protect the lives of all nearby. Despite this general duty, there are some situations where negligent or reckless actions by police officers result in serious injury or death on the scene.
A recent event in the city of Sunrise in Broward County Florida shows how police can make serious mistakes regarding these duties to help, which resulted in the death of a young person.
Teen drowns while running away from Sunrise Police
A group of teenagers were fleeing from Sunrise Police Officers after being suspected of stealing a car. There were four total suspects involved in the incident, three of which were already detained by the police. One of the teenagers involved got out of the stolen car and jumped into a lake near the 17000 block of Northwest 57th Terrace in Lauderhill to try to get away.
Witnesses allege that shortly after the teen jumped into the lake he began to shout for help and panic, while the two officers nearby watched him begin to drown, but did not render help. One of witnesses stated that it appeared as if one of the officers was going to attempt to rescue victim, but was dissuaded by the other. Another witness states that when fire rescue and other officers arrived on the scene, none of them actually entered the water, even after putting on life jackets. The teenager made three attempts to come up and yell for help before drowning.
An official statement was released saying that no law enforcement personnel or agencies are allowed to comment on the event while it is being investigated by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Legal options for victims
The family of the teenager who drowned has a number of legal options available. The evidence recollected by witnesses makes for a fairly obvious case of negligent or reckless behavior by the police. Even if the water was deep or dangerous, they were required to take some kind of action to help save the victim. Their attorney can argue that the pursuit was the direct cause of the drowning, and they made no effort to minimize the injuries that occurred during this time.
The fact that there was a death that resulted from this incident also gives a the possibility of a wrongful death claim to the surviving family members. This type of claim will pay a family for medical and funeral expenses, as well as the amount of wages the deceased person was expected to earn throughout the rest of their life.
It also may be possible for the family to come to a settlement agreement with the Sunrise Police Department. A case about a teenager drowning while police officers stood by and watched would not be good for a jury trial due to the emotional reaction it would cause. The teenager’s family could probably negotiate with the help of their lawyer for a reasonable amount in a settlement to avoid the time and expense associated with a trial. Due to the fact that the local news has already reported on the incident, the department will likely want to settle quickly to minimize negative publicity.
Local lawyers can speak with you today
If you feel the police have violated their duties in any way that caused an injury to you or death to a family member, there are attorneys who can take your case. A number of firms that service Sunrise, Lauderhill, and nearby parts of South Florida specialize in police brutality cases.