Some incidents of police brutality begin with normal interactions that go awry. A homeless man who was sleeping near an interstate highway was beaten by local police in Lakeland Florida, just outside of Tampa.

Homeless man beaten for sleeping near an intersection

Police initially approached to victim to ask him to leave the area for his own safety and because he was technically trespassing by remaining near the road. Police claim that the man refused to leave the area and they had to try to physically relocate him. Video of the incident shows him being punched, kicked, and shot with a taser multiple times. The department released a statement that they were concerned with liability for anything that would happen to him if he was left in the street, so he needed to be moved. They said the victim could have just walked away if he had obeyed their commands to leave the immediate area near the road.

The news report also expressed concern about other similar cases in Florida where police have been asked to do a welfare check or assist someone who was suicidal or mentally ill, yet they ended up beating or killing a person who was supposed to receive help. Police receive training about how to deescalate situations and they generally should avoid physical confrontations. An expert in police procedures commented that it is difficult for them to disengage or stop violence from escalating once physical force is used, which is why injuries or fatal beatings and shootings are so common.

What can be done to provide a beating was unnecessary?

Situations like the story above are helpful to plaintiffs who want to make a case against the police department because the incident was captured on video. This can prove that the victim did not use violence and the police were totally responsible for escalating the situation. While video of the situation is the best evidence, if there are witnesses nearby, dashcam or bodycam videos from the police department, or pictures available, these are also crucial pieces of evidence. However, it is also important to know that if incriminating video is in the possession of the police department it may tend to disappear for dubious reasons, so it is best to film from a phone or other device that can remain outside of police possession.

How does a lawyer prove unnecessary use of force?

It is also important to make sure an experienced attorney is making these arguments on the behalf of an injured client. Most departments have expert witnesses who can testify about law enforcement procedures to assist the defense, so a plaintiff’s lawyer needs to be even better prepared. They will need to create a strategy that convinces the jury of a high level of misconduct and provides proof of the injuries through medical records and other documentation.

Get help from a local lawyer who handles police beatings

If you have been mistreated by the police or affected by any kind of misconduct involving law enforcement, please contact Larson Johnson Trial Attorneys. They provide superior legal advice and representation to people in Tampa Florida.

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