A Montgomery County Police Officer must defend his actions of force to avoid conviction for assault charges during an arrest where he used a racial slur and improper force. Police practices that include bias are problematic for a much needed building of trust in Silver Spring Maryland neighborhoods. Implicit bias influences relationships between law enforcement and communities with a high minority presence, and studies show that this may be one factor that lead police to shoot more unarmed black suspects than white, and a reason why minority members are stopped more often by police.
Profiling occurs when misguided police officers overstep their authoritative boundaries by seeking out individuals based solely on preconceived prejudicial judgments due to race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status and violate their civil rights. Police acting on their implicit bias are those law enforcement individuals who automatically associate stereotypes to certain groups allowing that to influence their behavior and respond in biased ways that may be exhibited in the use of extensive force. Police departments are undergoing changes to address police behavior through de-escalation training and implicit bias training in Maryland toward the reduction of excessive force injury and death.
The State of Maryland requires de-escalation training for their police officers and individual departments are accountable to the Police Training Commission for verification that these trainings occur. 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.” De-escalation training is one mechanism to decrease the instances of excessive force used in the field.
1) Listen respectfully. 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. Be respectful of embarrassing questions and pat downs.
7) Don’t waste time and energy trying to convince a citizen that he’s wrong. 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
There are federal and state laws that insure remedy to individuals who have suffered the negative effects of police brutality. If you feel you have been a victim of bias-based profiling and/or excessive force by a Police Officer in Silver Spring Maryland, you should seek professional counsel at Duboff & Associates Law Office to see if you have an actionable case 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.
DuBoff & Associates, Chartered
1300 Spring Street, Suite 120
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910