Police encounters sometimes spiral out of control and citizens are caught in the crossfire of interaction between police and victims of a request for police assistance, as was the case at a Connecticut College when a good Samaritan action caused harsh behavior yielding a formal complaint for police brutality. An internal affairs investigation ensued and the end result was favorable, but that is not always the case.
Police misconduct in many forms.
Police misconduct and acts of brutality seem to be on the rise in the United States. Perhaps it is the increased media that draws us to these encounters, or the lack of department transparency that alerts citizens to be aware during their interactions with police. Claims of misconduct and brutality can reveal themselves through:
- 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.
- Sexual harassment or assault.
- 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.
Officers should know the laws regarding use of force activities. Graham v. Connor is a valuable reference addressing a three tiered test established to measure what can be considered reasonable police officer action, and includes:
- Nature of offense – the severity and location of activities are considered here, and what is the reason the encounter has occurred between the suspect and the police officer?
- Immediate threat – is the suspect an immediate threat to others, the police officer or himself/herself?
- Evading arrest – Is the suspect trying to flee the scene of the crime?
The New London Police Department is aware of the importance of community trust and has an open system to accept complaints regarding interaction with police officers in the field. Through this system, they are able maintain an effective and efficient administrative system to receive, process, and fairly investigate citizen complaints alleging abuse of authority, corruption, criminality, poor or slow police service and other complaints made by any source against any employee of the New London Police Department. All complaints will be investigated, reviewed and responded to in written form.
There is a Civilian Complaint form that may be accessed online to make a complaint regarding officer conduct. Once the form is completed, it can be delivered in person or mailed to: Office of the Chief of Police, New London Police Department, 5 Governor Winthrop Boulevard, New London, CT 06320. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the department at (860) 447-5269
Seek legal counsel.
If you know someone who has been subjected to New London Police misconduct or brutality in any form, seek legal counsel at Holth & Kollman Law Firm, to see if compensation of damages for physical injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering could be sought after to remedy the affront.
Holth & Kollman, LLC
58 Huntington Street
New London, CT 06320