Detroit is a city that has been plagued by several problems in recent years, including high crime rates. While some of these problems are economic and tied to changes regarding America’s manufacturing base, relations between the public and the police have also decayed here as in many other cities around the country.
One of the more noteworthy incidents of official misconduct in recent years demonstrates this turbulent state of relations with the police. A shocking incident involved a female hospital patient being beaten by a male police officer. A video taken inside of Detroit Receiving Hospital shows the Detroit police officer beating a naked woman while she is restrained by other officers, possibly for the purposes of medical treatment. Based on the video evidence, it seems that the incident may have escalated when the woman spit and cursed at the officers when she was held. Witnesses believe that the victim had mental health issues or some kind of psychological episode. They also expressed concern that the other officers present during this time seemed complicit and did not bother to intervene to stop the beating from happening. The recording shows the officer delivering a number of blows with a closed fist to the head and upper body area of the woman.
Within hours of the story breaking, the officer was suspended while the incident was under investigation by the Detroit Police.
Claims for excessive use of force
Excessive use of force is the legal term for when police use violence to injure those in their custody without justification. All law enforcement protocols around the nation instruct police officers to limit their use of force to prevent flight, maintain peace and order, protect themselves from harm, and other limited means meant to reduce of the probability of injury and property damage.
Because of these standards, a case like the one mentioned above is good for a police misconduct attorney. There is concrete video evidence of unnecessary force, witnesses were nearby, and the video has gained enough attention that the department may want to settle the case to make the negative publicity go away. Some kind of concrete proof of police misbehavior is crucial, as an incident that only involves a citizen’s word against an officer may not go very far.
How to report excessive use of force
Someone who has been injured by the police can make a formal complaint to the officer’s employing department. However, after this initial step most of the investigation remains confidential and in the hands of the department’s internal affairs. An average citizen has no say in how the officer should be disciplined, regardless of the injuries they received or the circumstances surrounding the incident. Most punishments handed out tend to be short suspensions without pay and the offending officer will keep their job.
The best option is to get legal help and discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit. Even if the department suspends or terminates the offending officer, a lawyer can still file a case on your behalf. The lawyer will need all of the information you have relevant to the incident when they draft a formal complaint to be filed with the local court system. After this initial step there will be gradual updates regarding the status of the case.
Contact a Detroit Police Brutality Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been battered by local police officers in the Detroit area, an experienced lawyer can guide you through the process of being compensated for your injuries. Attorneys who specialize in police misconduct can also help you in cases of false arrest, illegal searches, planted evidence, sexual harassment, and other civil rights violations.