A high profile case of police brutality was the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. This incident in Charlotte sparked intense public debate and protests regarding the role of the police and the necessity of using deadly force. Scott was also a black male, and many people believe members of this demographic group are purposely profiled and targeted by police.
The facts surrounding the shooting
In 2016, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were in the parking lot of a local apartment complex to execute a warrant. At this time they observed a man who they believed to be armed enter his vehicle. It was unknown as to whether this man was the suspect detailed in the warrant. When they approached the vehicle, they say the man exited and created an imminent danger of harm. The officers shot him multiple times and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly afterward. There was some debate as to whether the officers were undercover and if Scott actually had a weapon or some other object in his hands. The explanation of why they needed to use deadly force immediately to subdue the man also seems to be lacking detail. There was little information given about what Scott exactly did that escalated the situation so quickly. As usual in these kinds of cases, the department placed the officer responsible for the shooting on administrative leave and there will be an internal affairs investigation. However, the public is rarely informed of any specific disciplinary actions taken or the results of these investigations.
The fact that this kind of negative image is associated with many local departments may make them more likely to settle subsequent police brutality cases. Police do not want to have to deal with the public relations nightmare of losing the trust of large numbers of the people they are supposed to protect, or protests that tend to follow when people die at the hands of police. Civil lawsuits related to cases where the police have clearly done something wrong may result in large settlements for victims and their families.
Excessive use of force and deadly force
Police are law enforcement professionals who are guided by certain standards of behavior and conduct like any other profession. Instances were they use force are generally supposed to prevent injury to themselves and the public. This kind of force is also supposed to be the minimum amount required to avoid greater problems such as injuries to bystanders or property damage.
When police investigate allegations of excessive use of force by their own officers, disciplinary actions tend to few and far between. This means that the most attractive option that is available to members of the general public is to file a civil lawsuit. This offers the most control and an ability to be compensated for improper conduct by the police.
How to file a lawsuit
For anyone who feels that they have been victimized by the police, it is best to begin the process by having a conversation with a lawyer who specializes in police misconduct. They can discuss what specific information they may need from you, including evidence such as pictures and videos. There may also be other witnesses who would be called to testify at trial or take a deposition. Depending on the specifics of your case, your lawyer will try to recommend a course of action that is likely to result in the largest possible payout to you.
Victims can get legal representation in Charlotte
For help with a police brutality incident in Charlotte, North Carolina or surrounding areas, please contact a local lawyer who specializes in these matters. There are experienced attorneys available who have already won numerous judgments and settlements against police departments.