While people can be legitimately arrested for crimes such as disorderly conduct or public intoxication, police are only allowed to use as much force as necessary to make an arrest or prevent a suspect from escaping. During an arrest, a person’s right to be treated reasonably does not suddenly go away. Unfortunately, many cops believe they are entitled to a free beating on suspects when making certain kinds of arrests, especially those involving intoxication or bad behavior in public
Minneapolis cops beat a Native American man during an arrest
Two Minneapolis police officers are in serious trouble regarding a 2016 video of them beating a Native American male who was handcuffed. Although no criminal charges were brought against them, one has been fired and the other is possibly going to be terminated after a hearing regarding possible disciplinary measures.
The initial police report of the incident stated that the two officers encountered the victim around closing time for the local bars near the intersection of Nicollett Mall and South 4th Street. They believed he was intoxicated and attempted to arrest him for disorderly conduct. The victim began to struggle and dislodged one of the officer’s body cameras. After this initial struggle, the two officers repeatedly punched and kicked the man while he was handcuffed, causing severe injuries. The victim was later released without being charged for any crimes, and a local administrative review board recommended that disciplinary actions be taken against both officers. The relevant procedures for this board state that the final actions must be taken by the police chief, who recommended that they both be terminated.
This beating gained much attention from the local Native American community. They believe that there is a pattern of bias and profiling against them, as exemplified in this arrest and others. The city and department were also both criticized because the order for the officers to be fired came approximately two years after the incident, while they kept their jobs and went on desk duty. A statement released from the city council said that steps are gradually being taken to create a culture change, which takes time.
How much force is allowed?
Law enforcement professionals must follow certain ethical and procedural standards like many other occupations. As a general rule, police are only supposed to use a minimal amount of force to defend themselves and those around them.
Whenever police beat anyone, there is always an issue of excessive use of force. Most misdemeanor arrests for crimes such as disorderly conduct require little to no force unless a suspect presents a clear danger to public safety in the area, especially if they are armed. Once someone is already handcuffed or detained in some way, there is almost never a reason why police need to throw punches, kicks, deploy tasers or pepper spray, or harm them in any other way. In incidents such as the story recounted above, evidence such as video recordings or surveillance of officers beating a detained person is a clear indication that they are abusing their authority.
When evidence of a police beating is captured, there are relevant federal laws which allow a lawyer to file a civil lawsuit on the behalf of the victim. This can be done regardless of any pending criminal charges against the officers or if they are administratively disciplined by their department or a board of review. The monetary awards that are given to victims as the result of a civil case are the only ways that a victim can be repaid for things such as medical bills or missed time from work.
Get help from a lawyer in Minnesota
If you have been hit, beaten, or injured during the course of an arrest, there are legal claims that can be made by a police brutality lawyer in Minneapolis.