While it is possible for minors to be armed or create a threat of violence, there are few situations where larger, stronger police officers need to use force or taunt young children. A situation in Texas caused public outcries against police action when an officer drew a gun on a group of kids.
El Paso Officer draws a gun on children
An incident in El Paso involved officers drawing a gun and baton on a group of small children nearby, while also making verbal threats to them. The situation began with officers responding to a call for a possible criminal trespass in the area. The events of the next few minutes are unclear, but a video recording of the exchange begins with one young suspect being held by police against a fence in front of a community center, while the children close by are shouting at the officer. During this interaction, the officer pins the man’s head down with his knee, he verbally tells the children to back up and curses at them, and then draws his gun and points it in their direction before putting it away. As the detained man is being handcuffed, another officer pulls out a baton, points it at them, and commands them to back up as he pushes them away. Around this time, a young man who was filming the video was also grabbed and handcuffed by an officer before the situation was diffused. The department later confirmed that both an adult and minor suspect were arrested during the incident and charged with interfering with the duties of a police officer.
The El Paso Police Department made a statement that the incident would be investigated and the officer who pulled the gun would be placed on desk duty while relevant determinations are made. A spokesman said the video along with other evidence would be reviewed to determine if officers had violated any protocols, but no decisions were going to be made based on the video recording alone. In situations such as this, it is also unlikely that details of the investigation will be released to the public.
Use of force protocols and minors
While police are allowed to use force to diffuse violent situations even when children are involved, it certainly looks bad from a public relations standpoint to have a police officer pulling a gun on unarmed children. In this particular situation, it also did not seem that there was any threat of violence, as the initial call was only about a trespass and no one nearby was armed. By any common sense measure, there was no significant threat from the children, and a gun was not necessary. Even police procedures regarding the use of force state that the response from officers should be the minimum amount required to secure a situation and take suspects into custody. Drawing guns without good reason creates an additional obvious danger to public safety.
What is relevant to a lawsuit against the police?
If the police have caused physical injuries to a child or psychological trauma based on egregious behavior, there are federal laws which allow for a lawsuit to be brought on their behalf. The relevant laws that govern incidents of police misconduct are related to excessive use of force and improper execution of public duties. Evidence of unnecessary violence and wrongful arrests tends to indicate that these laws were violated. In most situations, there also needs to be documented evidence from a medical professional of the harm that was caused by police action to account for damages.
Talk to a police brutality lawyer now
If you believe the police have acted inappropriately around your children, it may be possible to file a lawsuit. Contact a lawyer in El Paso Texas who specializes in cases of police misconduct and brutality to receive more information about how to proceed with a claim.