If police stop you, you might be annoyed, and you may get a ticket, but your stop is probably going to be over without a hitch. Sadly, not all police stops go that smoothly, and an encounter with a police officer takes a nasty turn, and a detainee is hurt or killed by a law enforcement officer’s use of excessive force.
How Common is Police Brutality?
A majority of police officers never use force and never draw their service weapons. Officers who abuse their power or brutalize suspects are rare, but they do happen, and the consequences can be devastating.
According to the National Institute of Justice, force is described as the “amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Law enforcement has the power to use force since they are often dealing with life and death situations and their duty is to protect the public. Excessive use of force occurs when an officer using more force than a reasonable person would use to “compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Examples of excessive use of force include:
Shooting a suspect while their hands are up
Using a chokehold to subdue a suspect
Wrongful arrest and prosecution
Repeated use of a taser
Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment
Unlawful strip search
Why File a Civil Excessive Use of Force Complaint?
One of the biggest frustrations for the victims of police brutality is the lack of accountability for bad actors. Unfortunately, some people who become officers lack the training or discipline to use the right amount of force and stop an incident from descending into tragedy. They have knee-jerk reactions, are too fearful or let anger get the best of them and violate a person’s rights. Each year in the U.S. hundreds of innocent Americans die at the hands of negligent police officers. In 2015, 991 of those deaths were caused by police shootings, according to the Washington Post.
Victims can pursue criminal charges and file an Internal Affairs complaint, but prosecutions occur infrequently, and IA investigations may result in minor punishments. These courses of justice just aren’t adequate for a victim or surviving loved ones.
A civil suit is often the best option for a victim because this course is a quicker route to justice than the other two options. A civil suit also grants a victim compensation to cover their medical costs and mental anguish.
Civil court locations in New Mexico:
First Judicial District Court – Santa Fe County Courthouse
225 Montezuma Ave.,
Santa Fe, NM 87501
13th Judicial District Court
Los Lunas, NM 87031
Lea County District Court
100 N Main Ave #6C,
Lovington, NM 88260
Consult with a Police Brutality Lawyer in New Mexico
If you file a civil claim against a law enforcement officer, you will be facing off with a government entity either on the local, state or federal level. Different rules apply to civil claims against the government than personal injury or wrongful death claims against a private citizen.
Governmental agencies would prefer to settle an excessive use of force complaint out of court and are often eager begin settlement negotiations. You may be offered a fair settlement from the onset of this process, but you may need an attorney to get better compensation. USAttorneys can connect you with a police brutality lawyer in New Mexico to represent your interests and secure a generous settlement.