One of the more frustrating aspects of reporting an incident of police brutality is the fact that some departments make their own procedures for internal affairs investigations inaccessible to the public through a number of means. Many departments would rather have their own local citizens, who they are supposed to protect, remain ignorant of the fact that there are legitimate remedies for people who have been hurt or mistreated by the police. In some situations, procedures to file complaints and or obtain public records of police misconduct are hidden as completely as possible. Only the most tenacious individuals may get to the point where they can reach someone who will take a formal complaint and initiate a misconduct investigation.
The complaint procedure and internal affairs
The websites for both the city of Ruston police and the Lincoln Parish Sheriff do not have sections to make formal complaints against a police officer. Methods such as a phone call or email may also be ignored or redirected without resolution. This is why after incidents of police brutality it may be best to retain a lawyer immediately, in order to make sure complaints are taken seriously and a lawsuit is filed when necessary. Usually a formal letter or phone call from a lawyer can go much further than a concerned citizen trying to file a complaint. In incidents of misconduct that require compensation to a victim, being served with a lawsuit will often demand a legitimate response from the department.
One example of departments hiding information about these procedures from the public is on the Lincoln Parish Sheriff website. The page for internal affairs, which is the section of the department that investigates police misconduct, is left blank with a “coming soon” message. Even when initiating a complaint is more accessible by phone or through the internet, the administrative processes that departments provide to discipline their own officers often haven severe limitations. At times, even serious accusations of misconduct are often not sustained or result in minor penalties such as a brief suspension without pay. Termination of employment or criminal charges rarely result from internal affairs investigations.
Illegitimate actions that occur during many arrests
Many police officers abuse their authority by attempting to hit or “rough up” suspects as they are taken into custody. Another common tactic is for officers to verbally accuse someone of resisting arrest to have a reason to use violence on them, even when it is obvious that no resistance is occurring. Even though these kinds of actions happen regularly during arrests, this is technically illegal and can be used as evidence in an excessive use of force lawsuit. After police use such improper means to injure people, a lawyer can attempt to obtain video footage from the department or nearby security cameras. If excessive force is suspected, a lawyer can file a lawsuit that alleges these actions caused injuries and the victim should be compensated for things such as medical treatment, missed time from work and lost wages, and physical or emotional pain and suffering. A conversation with a police brutality layer is usually the best way to get an estimate of the value of such a lawsuit.
Talk to a police brutality lawyer today
The Ross Downs Law Firm provides legal services to the Ruston area with offices in Bastrop and Monroe. They can also take cases throughout the entire states of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. If you have been mistreated or injured by a police officer, please contact the firm as soon as possible.