Arguably, the most common type of police misconduct is the use of unreasonable force for the circumstances—also known as police brutality. The use of excessive force by police can cause ongoing psychological damage to victims, and it often ends with physical injury or death to victims.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, police officers are taught a wide range of options to handle encounters with citizens, from verbalization techniques to the use of deadly force. Police officers also carry nonlethal weapons (such as projectile devices, pepper spray, and electrical weapons like tasers) for situations where verbalization techniques are ineffective. Yet almost every day there is a story in the news about excessive use of force.
Police Misconduct in Florida
The Florida police killed 640 people in the years 2013 to 2021. Most of those victims were allegedly armed, but many of the victims were unarmed and, in some cases, defenseless. In their training, police officers are taught to be skilled negotiators and situation de-escalators. It is when a citizen is unarmed that the use of excessive force is most egregious. When the people who are sworn to serve and protect you injure or kill you, a massive crack is created in our society.
Public records in Florida between 2015-2020 show that approximately three percent of all police officers in the state had been fired or had quit instead of being fired after they were confirmed to have committed police brutality. Unfortunately, the officers frequently moved to another, smaller police agency in the state. Being forced out of a job due to committing police brutality did not prevent them from working again as police officers elsewhere. They also were more likely to behave in the same way in the future, continuing to use excessive force against other citizens.
Police Brutality Victims Have to Prove This
According to state and federal courts, there is no specific legal definition of the terms, “police brutality” and “excessive force.” Because of this, victims have to prove that a police officer used much more force than was appropriate during an encounter, altercation, or arrest, considering the facts of the situation and the information available to the police officer at the time. That is a tall order for a victim of police aggression.
In legal cases of police brutality, either a judge or a jury will decide the guilt or innocence of a police officer. It seems logical that only the strongest police brutality cases would go to court, and so the evidence must be convincing. Other factors besides evidence can play a part in a verdict of guilty or innocent. Legal experts are available, from Miami to Destin, who can explain your rights and the legal process.
Reach Out for Help
Every person matters and every person is entitled to the same protection by (and from) police officers. For as long as we have had police, excessive force has been an issue. Victims often feel disenfranchised and unable to get justice. A lawyer can take the burden off your shoulders and help you achieve some justice.