Newark New Jersey is home to the state’s largest police department. Because this is also considered a high crime area, interactions between the police and the public are routine and often become violent.
However, areas with lots of police activity also create the potential for widespread police misconduct and brutality. One scenario shows how officers can get out of control, and further inquiries can uncover a pattern of abuse of the disciplinary process against police in Newark. Situations like this show why it is beneficial to retain your own lawyer after issues with law enforcement.
Defenseless man already being held at a local facility is severely beaten
One incident in Newark involved a severe beating of a man who was already detained in a local lockup facility. Essex County prosecutors are seeking up to eight years in jail for a Newark Police detective who beat a man being held at the Franklin Street facility. As a result of the detective’s actions, the victim suffered a number of serious injuries including a shattered jaw and fractured eye socket. The detective was a veteran of the force for over a decade, yet he also had a history of two prior unrelated criminal cases for abusing his teenage stepdaughter.
The local chapter of the ACLU was also concerned about patterns of misconduct in Newark and an unwillingness to discipline officers after this story generated headlines in the news. There were over 400 allegations of misconduct and civil lawsuits during their period of investigation. They also found that the department had only sustained one out of 261 internal affairs complaints in a two year period. This would tend to suggest that there are many more incidents of police misbehavior in Newark that were never taken seriously. It also demonstrates limitations of law enforcement’s own mechanisms to take actions against their own officers for misconduct.
Little justice for victims of police beatings
The discoveries from the ACLU probe are not surprising. The process to discipline police officers through the internal affairs section of the relevant department rarely results in any kind of serious penalties. Members of the general public also have no control over this process or access to the specific details of the investigations after they initially file a complaint.
The number of civil lawsuits that were filed during this period against the department should not come as a surprise. When someone receives legal advice after an incident of police brutality, it becomes obvious that a civil lawsuit is almost always the best option for victims. A lawyer does not have ties to the officer or their employer, meaning they can pursue the case aggressively. This is unlike the internal process within police departments, which tends to be lenient on their own officers. The odds of a settlement or a judgment after a trial against a police officer are actually better than relying on a prosecutor or internal affairs investigation to impose disciplinary measures. The burden of proof is also lower in a civil case than a criminal one against the officer. A lawsuit is the only way a victim can receive financial compensation for things like injuries, medical bills, and missed time from work. Other actions taken against officers do not result in payouts to the victim.
Get help from a police brutality lawyer in Newark now
If you believe a police officer has injured you or abused their authority when interacting with you, it is possible to get help. There are attorneys available in Newark and nearby parts of New Jersey who specialize in dealing with police misconduct. They can take your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.