In the state of Alaska, 43 people have been killed by law enforcement officials over the past 5 and a half years, among which there are at least 3 cases when the person was not armed.  In addition, the ratio that minority populations were killed, such as Alaskan Natives, was greater than the ratio of the minority population to the general population. This report, compiled with cases mostly originating from Anchorage, was one of the first, as there was a lack of available data. Attention to these incidents has increased dramatically as a result of the recent police shooting events in America, such as the death of George Floyd, which have raised awareness surrounding the concern that law enforcement officials are abusing their power and acting in a dangerous and discriminatory manner towards citizens. 


In the cases identified in the state of Alaska, the discriminatory manner is arguably exemplified. As a result, some are calling for an end to police enforcement all together, while some are questioning whether the growing concern is justified at all. Whether or not you are on the side of defunding or strengthening the police, it is important to be aware of what constitutes police brutality, so that you can ensure that justice is served if you or someone you know are a potential victim of police brutality. 


Examples of Police Brutality


While some might view police brutality as a vague notion of “excessive force,”  here are some more detailed examples of what might constitute police brutality: 


  • Coerced confessions
  • Unjustifiable arrests
  • Failure to intervene
  • Excessive force
  • Searching you without a justifiable reason
  • Unjustifiable shootings or taserings


Qualified Immunity


Police officers are protected by something called qualified immunity, which prevents them from being held liable for constitutional violations, possibly even lawsuits that include excessive force.  If you have suffered from police brutality in Alaska, a notable obstacle is to prove your claim. Qualified attorneys can help you collect this evidence and prove your claim to the court, so that you can stand up to defendants whose criminal defense attorneys are quite proficient. For example, many police officers are now required to wear bodycams, and this footage can be used as evidence in police brutality cases. Witnesses and other forms of evidence may also be helpful. 


Moving Forward


While lawmakers in Alaska consider how to address this issue, there is some evidence that there are actions being conducted to stem the rising concern. For instance, agencies in Alaska, such as 8 Can’t Wait, are pressuring police to adopt changes to their policies regarding the use of force to arrest individuals. It is clear that individuals in Alaska are becoming aware that another death caused by a police officer is not necessarily justified. When in doubt, it’s always safe to consult the legal system, as it is one of the most reliable checks and balances for police brutality in Alaska.