If you are illegally detained by police in Escambia County, Florida you should immediately seek an attorney who knows the laws regarding your situation.  This will put you in a more powerful position regarding your defense against the charges that were brought against you.  If the arrest was not legal, there are remedies that may benefit you.  The laws addressing police misconduct cover violations of Fourth Amendment Rights under The Constitution of the United States of America. False arrest and wrongful search are considered an abuse of power and a form of police brutality.

The police departments located in Escambia County, Florida include the Pensacola Police Department, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the University of West Florida Police Department.  There have been past complaints regarding illegal searches leading to arrests in this county which have led to an unbiased professional standards unit to oversee the police departments located in Escambia County, Florida include: the Pensacola Police Department, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the University of West Florida Police Department.

The missions of these police departments include respecting the rights and preserving the dignity of the citizens they serve.  Unlawful arrest after illegal search does not align with the missions, and all departments have professional standards units that handle complaints of police brutality, and/or civil rights violations between citizens and police officers.  The professional standards unit objectively reviews and investigates complaints regarding unlawful arrests and if allegations are true, disciplinary action will be taken based on the severity of police misconduct.

Police brutality is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied in the interests of victims, when misguided police officers overstep the boundaries of their “allowed use of force” as defined by individual State and local policy based in part, upon the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Police brutality includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Federal laws addressing police misconduct include criminal and civil statutes to cover officers’ action in State, county and local jurisdictions including prisons and jails.  The laws are to protect all people in the United States whether they are citizens or not.

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: 1) which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest; 2) when necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or 3) when necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice.  However, this subsection shall not constitute a defense in any civil action for damages brought for the wrongful use of deadly force unless the use of deadly force was necessary to pre vent the arrest from being defeated by such flight and, when feasible, some warning had been given, and:  (a) The officer reasonably believes that the fleeing felon poses a threat of death or serious physical harm to the officer or others; or (b) The officer reasonably believes that the fleeing felon has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm to another person.

Officer Considerations When Applying Force Include.

1. The type and severity of the incident or crime at issue,
2. The person posing an immediate threat to the officer or others,
3. The person’s physical resistance to an arrest or other lawful detention,
4. The person fleeing from an arrest or other lawful detention,
5. The size, age, relative strength, skill-level, and physical condition (including injury or exhaustion) of the person and the officer,
6. The officer’s level of training and experience,
7. The number of persons and/or number of officers on the scene,
8. The duration of the incident, specifically in relation to the physical resistance offered by the person,
9. The time available to an officer to decide to use response to resistance levels of control/force,
10. The person’s proximity or access to weapons,
11. Environmental factors and other exigent circumstances, and
12. The officer’s perceptions at the time the decision to use force was made.

If you identify with any of the listed forms of police brutality, immediately contact a Civil Rights legal professional who might be able to help you manage your 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.

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