Oklahoma City, OK – Policing in the United States has a history of racial profiling, where wrongful arrests and misconduct have disproportionately affected certain groups. In a broad sense, much of the police brutality that occurs is likely a consequence and result of various forms of bias. Despite this problem, an analysis of police brutality specifically deals with what an officer actually did to a suspect rather than their intentions or motives.
There are laws that protect all citizens against various forms of discrimination and misconduct by any government entity or agency, including the police. These laws give people the power to take formal legal action through a civil lawsuit against any officer and department that engage in police brutality.
Differences between discriminatory motives and violent actions
Police brutality is similar to discrimination claims, but there are some differences. Like discrimination claims, civil rights laws protect victims from these kinds of illegal behavior, even when they are charged with crimes. However, police brutality lawsuits look into violent and illegal actions against suspects, rather than discriminatory motives used to identify and pursue certain individuals. Some officers may be more likely to commit acts of violence for discriminatory reasons, but a police brutality case must ultimately prove some kind of excessive force was used against the victim. This is usually done through evidence such as video recordings or pictures of the officer in question using violence when such actions are unnecessary. If excessive use of force can be proven, the victim will win the case and the reasons for the officer engaging in violence become less important.
What happens if the victim brings a civil rights claim?
The victim can retain a lawyer to utilize certain laws to say that their rights were violated by unnecessary use of force, a wrongful arrest, or other forms of misconduct. The plaintiff will also need to present some kind of concrete evidence of this illegal behavior. Police departments will often respond with blanket statements about how their officer’s actions were within standard operating procedures, and the use of force was justified based on the situation. Some cases can become complex and difficult to judge if there was a violent suspect that needed to be subdued. In order to conclude the case, the department or city will sometimes agree to a settlement to pay the victim for their losses. Other times, a jury trial is necessary and the jurors must make a decision about fault for the injuries based on the evidence presented to them.
Legal help after an incident of police misconduct