South Florida is a hot spot for beachgoers and transient residents who often display public drunkenness, requiring police engagement to de-escalate a situation that could become harmful to the public.

Altered state impacts reactions to force.

Public drunkenness. 856.011 Disorderly intoxication.— No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, and no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.  Altered states due to drinking or the use of drugs make it more difficult for Miami Police to decide when to engage and how much force to use. De-escalation training is a successful method to talk a criminal back from acting in a manner to endanger themselves or those people around them.

De-escalation could be useful in Florida.

The Department of Justice defines “de-escalation” as “the strategic slowing down of an incident in a manner that allows officers more time, distance, space and tactical flexibility during dynamic situations on the street.”  Training actions for police officers include:

1) Listen respectfully. Don’t argue or interrupt. People calm down when they feel they are being listened to and taken seriously.

2) Crowd control. Don’t allow an audience to gather. If two people are having an argument, isolate them from friends or family members to reduce aggressive behavior.

3) Courteous example. Use courteous, professional language to uphold the idea that talk must be calm and respectful.

4) Body language. Be aware not to use intimidating body movements.

5) Control encounter. Reduce offensive speech, cursing, and yelling by explaining that acceptable language would more likely get the point across.

6) Don’t publicly humiliate anyone—especially when others are watching. Be respectful of embarrassing questions and pat downs.

7) Don’t waste time and energy trying to convince a citizen that he’s wrong and you’re right. Do what you need to do without becoming defensive.

8) Remember that “broken record” is a useful way to achieve two goals—conveying the message that you’re in charge while keeping the lid on a potential conflict. “Broken record” means repeating a message as many times as needed: “I’m writing a citation. You’ll have an opportunity to state your case in court.” If a citizen argues, you refuse to take the bait. You simply repeat your message until the citation is written and your job is done.

Excessive force versus Justifiable force.

The use of excessive force is a violation of civil rights laws that are in place to protect citizens against arbitrary and negative action from law enforcement officers.

Officers must follow the justifiable “use of force” guidelines.  The 2018 Florida Statutes Chapter 776 outlines the law on “Justifiable Use of Force” as it pertains to Police Officer activity in Section 776.05 whereby an officer is justified in the use of any force: 1) which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest; 2) when necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or 3) when necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice.

Seek legal counsel.

If you feel you have been a victim of excessive force by a Miami Police Officer, you should call the Law Offices of Orlando R. Murillo for a consultation to see if you have a claim for damages.  Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through excessive force.

Orlando R Murillo P.A.
7350 SW 89th Street, Toscano Building
Suite 100
Miami, Florida 33156
Phone: 786-530-4288

Sources:

https://codes.findlaw.com/fl/title-xlvi-crimes/fl-st-sect-794-005.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0794/0794.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0800/Sections/0800.04.html

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0856/Sections/0856.011.html

http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/316.193

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0893/Sections/0893.147.html

https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am4.html

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