Police brutality through excessive force.
Excessive force complaints continue to make national news due to the number of deaths caused by overzealous police activity once engaged in a criminal encounter. Merrillville Police Officers have increased their force since January 2019 giving them more coverage in their communities, perhaps addressing the 9% increase in crime, and affording police backup in situations that could give rise to complaints of excessive force.
Police brutality claims can stem from common forms including:
- 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.
- 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.
Laws vs. actions.
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 “immediate threat” is the most weighted point because court decisions are often based on the measure of force used to reduce the immediate threat of danger in the moment. Merrillville Officers should be familiar with the Merrillville Police Department’s “use of force” policy because violations of policy can be used against law enforcement in an attempt to show either incompetence, or actions of a rogue officer, when arguments are made to the jury. Force should be used to the best of an officer’s ability within the letter of law while adhering to department policies. Officer’s should keep in mind that failure to use an adequate level of force may turn into a bigger problem that causes officers to get injured and killed.
Importance of police reporting.
When writing up a police report for use of force situations, include as much information as possible because accuracy and details can either make or break a case if formal charges are brought against the department. An inclusive report may keep an alleged victim from filing charges in the first place.
Hire an attorney.
If you know someone who has been subjected to excessive force in a police encounter in Merrillville Indiana, seek legal counsel at the Law Offices of Marshall P. Whalley & Associates, to see if compensation and damages for physical injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering could be sought after to remedy the affront.
Marshall P. Whalley
& Associates, PC
51 W 112th Ave
Crown Point IN 46307
855.442.7211 Toll Free