Police officers are meant to enforce the law and keep us safe. Sometimes it can be difficult to reverse the roles and punish them for breaking the same laws they are meant to enforce. However, the founders of our country foresaw the problem of police overstepping their bounds hundreds of years ago, and left avenues in the constitution for victims of police brutality to obtain justice.
Police brutality is a type of police misconduct and is often difficult to define, but it ostensibly boils down to an “excessive use of force” by police officers. This pertains both to people suspected of a crime, and people who have already committed a crime and have been taken into custody.
Is it hard to sue a cop in South Dakota?
In all states, it’s generally quite difficult to sue a cop for multiple reasons. First and foremost, police departments and the government have a very vast pool of resources of which they can use to defend themselves. Time and money are definitely not an issue for them compared to private citizens who are suing them.
Second of all, police are granted “qualified immunity,” which means they have the right to do things that regular citizens can’t do in order to enforce the law and neutralize threats. This also means that the police will almost always attempt to justify their actions based on the circumstances of the incident.
When a police officer shot a man in Rapid City, the police department wouldn’t release the name of the officer due to fear of the officer’s safety. This is another way police can hinder meaningful legal processes with their legal immunity.
Are there laws against police brutality?
In the United States Constitution, there are two main Amendments that come into play for police brutality lawsuits:
- The 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure
- The 8th Amendment, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment
Examples of when the 4th Amendment is violated include:
- Home searches without a warrant
- Wrongful arrests
- Wrongful detention
- Confiscating things for no reason
Examples of when the 8th Amendment is violated include:
- Unnecessary violence and excessive use of weapons
- Using weapons when the suspect is already apprehended, for example allowing a K-9 to maul someone who’s already in handcuffs.
- Leaving someone unattended in a hot cop car for hours on end.
Sometimes, determining if these things are “unreasonable” can be tricky, and this underlines the need for an experienced lawyer to fight your case for you.
If you want compensation for a police brutality incident in South Dakota, know that qualified attorneys are waiting to assist you right now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and begin your path to compensation.