In accordance with Texas Penal Code 49.02 it is unlawful, and “a person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger themselves or another.” An incident of disputed excessive use of force occurred recently in Corpus Christi where officers punched the ribs of a 22-year-old man named Corey Galavis. This police technique is referred to as a compliance strike used to get a person into handcuffs when being arrested. According to the police they were concerned about Mr. Galavis’ welfare, since the area he was walking is known for pedestrian fatalities. The incident was videotaped on camera and the questionable use of force is being defended by the police department. The question remains that if this individual was intoxicated to the degree of being a danger to himself, would he not be easy to gain control over? The defense referred to a “police technique” where physical measures were the first tool utilizes. De-escalation training should give officers other tools to diffuse a possible escalation to a situation where someone is being punched, and may go against natural flight or fight reflexes but are mandatory professional police training in the State of Texas.
Corpus Christi Officers Allowed Use of Force.
Texas Peace Officers are allowed the “use of force” including hands, batons, tasers, or other weapons when necessary, and in accordance with officer training and department policy, to remove the threat of violence by subduing criminals. However, this broad-based authority is based on policy that dictates what is considered “reasonable” force specific to the encounter and is subjective to the instance when force is used. Officers must exercise balanced judgment when choosing a force option, keeping in mind the suspect’s 4th Amendment rights. The use of excessive force is a violation of civil rights laws that are in place to protect citizens against arbitrary and negative action from law enforcement officers. Excessive force is the term described as using continued force even after a criminal has been subdued and has been justified in high intensity situations where the potential for serious bodily harm, mass bodily harm, and death were present.
Balance of Reasonable Action Specific to Encounter.
A balance analysis would include how much force will gain control of the situation versus the possibility of injury from the force. Professional police action will be judged on the “how” and “why” of an excessive force action including:
- “Why” – The reason why a police officer would use such force would include: severity of crime being committed; present or near future threat of suspect; scope of damages; and the level of resistance given by the suspect.
- “How” – A strike to a person’s head or face could result in: disfigurement; damage to blood vessels surrounding areas of temple, skull, jaw and ear; and death or spinal cord injuries from striking head or neck.
Under Texas Penal Code 38.03 resisting arrest, search or transport is summarized by the idea that if you intentionally prevent or obstruct a peace officer from doing his job by making an arrest, search or transportation effort in the line of duty, even if it is unlawful, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and if you use a weapon a felony charge could be presented. Police department guidelines should address that while police are accountable to act under often tense and volatile situations, their training should help them maintain actions of a “reasonable person” when apprehending a criminal. In a case where a person is drunk and not amenable to the arrest, the charges are lawful under the Texas Penal Code, but the actions to subdue the law breaking citizen may not be.
Make a Formal Complaint.
Contacting an attorney may help you navigate through the process of identifying your claim of excessive force as a valid actionable case against the police department for damages due to your injuries. After filing a complaint with the Corpus Christi Police Department, an Internal Affairs representative will be responsible for investigating and maintaining the record of the allegations of police misconduct using excessive force as a form of police brutality. The Corpus Christi Police Department will investigate all complaints made against its employees. A complaint can be made in person during office hours, or through a phone call to 361-886-2627, although a written complaint would keep the events of the incident more preserved over time in the event that there will be a court action with legal counsel.
Contact a Lawyer.
If you feel you have been a victim of excessive force by a police officer in Corpus Christi, Texas, you should seek professional legal help to file a claim and have them review your case to see if you can sue for damages. Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through excessive force.