The Lone Star State might have a “tough love” culture when it comes to law enforcement, but that doesn’t mean the police have free will to do whatever they want. And in fact, Texas cops face consequences for police misconduct just like all the other states.
In January of 2021, the city of Keller agreed to pay $200,000 in fines to a man on whom they had used excessive force.
Marco Puente and his son were driving through Keller when they were pulled over by the police for making a wide right turn. Marco, within his rights, began filming the incident with his mobile phone.
The police officers in question subsequently arrested Marco’s son and then pepper-sprayed Marco in the face.
Ultimately, the police admitted guilt in this situation and demoted the officer who pepper-sprayed Puente. The case didn’t even need to go to court, the city of Keller looked at the video footage and settled with the man, awarding him $200,000.
So if you’ve been the victim of police brutality like this man, you may be entitled to compensation, without even going to court. Get in touch with an experienced, Texas police brutality lawyer today.
Are there laws against police brutality?
The United States Constitution protects everyone from police brutality under two main Amendments. The 4th Amendment protects all citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, and the 8th Amendment protects us from cruel or unusual punishment. This pertains to everyone suspected of a crime, or already accused of a crime.
Under the 4th Amendment, a police officer cannot:
- Arrest citizens without a reasonable suspicion that they committed a crime
- Search a home without a warrant or probable cause
- Confiscate belongings for no reason
- Search a citizens car without the person committing a crime
Under the 8th Amendment, a police officer cannot:
- Allow a K-9 dog to maul someone after they’re already arrested
- Beat a suspect with batons or flashlights after they’ve been apprehended
- Leave a suspect unattended for hours on end in a cop car
- Use their weapons on a suspect who’s not dangerous and not resisting arrest
Is it hard to sue a cop in Texas?
In the case of Marco Puente, suing the cops and getting settlement money was not especially difficult because of the nature of the case and because the entire thing was on video. When the evidence isn’t as damning, it’s generally quite hard to sue the cops. The police department and the government have nearly endless resources to fund their lawsuits, so suing them can be expensive and time-consuming.
Additionally, the police have certain legal privileges that allow them to use force and violence to enforce the law in given circumstances. This means they usually try to justify their actions based on these privileges.
If you’re looking for compensation in a police brutality incident, you’re going to need a solid lawyer. Get in touch with an experienced Texas police brutality lawyer today.