Police are allowed to use a certain level of force and various weapons such as tasers, pepper spray, or their guns to detain violent suspects and prevent further injuries. However, these items are often abused and in some situations they are used to inflict unnecessary pain. When this happens, a lawyer can represent the victim and file a lawsuit on their behalf. There are relevant civil rights laws that protect the public from abuses of authority by government employees.
Criminal charges were filed in Fort Lauderdale against three Broward County Sheriff’s Officers over the beating of a teenager.
Teenager hit in the face with pepper spray and violently thrown to the ground
The incident happened a few months earlier in a McDonald’s parking lot. The police were dispatched to the Tamarac area, which is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, regarding a fight in at the restaurant. Multiple young people were present in the area, and the victim was captured on video picking up a cell phone off of the ground outside. The police pepper sprayed him, handcuffed him, and punched him immediately afterward. The victim sustained a broken nose and head injuries. He was also charged criminally by the officers, although local prosecutors later dropped the charges after reviewing the case. The three officers involved are each facing their own criminal cases related to battery, along with conspiracy and falsifying arrest records to justify their actions.
The video of the incident was shared on social media and created quite a stir. Organizations such as the NAACP and celebrities such as LeBron James reacted to the footage and condemned the actions of the officers. Two of the cops involved were placed on administrative leave without pay after an internal affairs investigation by the Broward Sheriff.
Pepper spray and use of force protocols
As a general rule, police are allowed to use the amount of force necessary to make an arrest and prevent injuries to themselves and others nearby. They are also allowed to use pepper spray on a violent suspect before attempting to take them into custody and detaining them. A jury needs to make a factual determination as to whether the level of force used in each case was justified, but law enforcement will usually have an expert present to testify that most uses of force are justified and defend the officers.
In a situation such as this, the victim did not appear to be involved in any criminal activity and the charges brought against him were dropped. The strongest evidence in this case will be the videos from witnesses nearby and the body cameras of the officers. Unless a video from a different angle shows the victim becoming violent or threatening the officers, it seems that little can be done to explain why it would be necessary to spray the victim, then violently throw him to the ground and punch him.
Police brutality attorneys can provide assistance
For help after a police brutality incident and more information about the possibility of filing a lawsuit, contact Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law specialize in helping people after all kinds of injuries.