During fights and other incidents that involve violence, police will need to use some level of force to break up the suspects and detain them. However, this certainly does not give them the right to create further violence by beating those who were involved in the altercation. Claims that allege police used an excessive amount of force based on the circumstances can be filed against them in these kinds of situations.

A response that began with police attempting to break up a large fight that involved several people turned into an officer beating a 16 year old girl without justification.

Teenage girl isolated and beaten after large fight

The Philadelphia Police had initially responded to a call about a person who was possibly armed. When they arrived on the scene, they found a large brawl that involved approximately 30 people. A witness began to film the events as several police officers in the area attempted to break up the large fight. At some point, one of the teenage girls involved became isolated from the group and started to yell at a police officer as she was being pushed. Shortly afterwards, the girl was thrown on the ground by the officer. The officer then got on top of the girl and swung at her several times with attempted punches. The girl is also eventually pulled up by her hair before being taken into custody. Police allege that the victim knocked the officer’s glasses off and caused injuries to her right eye, cheek, and knee, which prompted the violent response. The girl was eventually charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer and taken to the hospital for treatment for neck pain. The Philadelphia Police released a general statement about investigating the incident further before any disciplinary action is taken.

Can the police get away with handling someone like this after a fight?

In general, police are only allowed to use the minimal amount of force required to protect themselves and other people nearby. They receive extensive training about use of force protocols that are relevant to all law enforcement personnel. When someone is already isolated from a fight, there is really no need to beat them individually after the threat of violence has subsided. From a legal standpoint, this would be considered an excessive amount of force to break up a fight.

Are there laws that protect victims?

There are relevant federal laws that protect people from injuries by government employees while they are engaged in their official duties. Cases that allege police used excessive force on someone are brought under these laws. In situations where there is clear video evidence of police officers beating someone who is already detained, there is little to be said to justify these actions as a necessary use of force to make an arrest. Such evidence is very favorable for plaintiffs who are seeking monetary damages from a settlement or judgment after a trial. The injuries that result from these beatings and require medical treatment are factored into a lawyer’s claim for damages, as well as lost wages, missed time from work, and other economic forms of harm that can be compensated at the conclusion of a lawsuit. There are also other kinds of non-economic damages related to a person’s physical and emotional pain and suffering that are factored into the amount of money they receive. Generally speaking, if someone is severely beaten without a good reason, the police or city that employs them may have to end up paying out a large amount of money.

Talk to an attorney in Philadelphia today

For those who have been injured by police officers in Philadelphia or anywhere close by in Pennsylvania, it is best to talk to a lawyer to learn how to proceed with a lawsuit or other actions against the police. Attorneys who specialize in handling cases of police brutality are available to speak with you.