Civil rights are being violated every day and police brutality, bias-based policing, and excessive force are at the root of this national crisis. Social media is just one tool that is fueling the need for some type of action by those in powerful positions to address incidents where authority may be misguided especially regarding the allowed “use of force.” The incidents of force are growing in proportion to push back from both sides of the argument with rapidly growing tension on the side of the police, who take an oath to serve and protect, and those persons who have been damaged by overarching authority, including excessive use of force and brutality. Salt Lake City is no stranger to negative news reports of police brutality spanning from the streets to the hospitals, where, in 2017 another type of public servant, a nurse; who is a partner to police in community safety, was brutalized and arrested at her job for her unwillingness to break hospital policy. This arrest was shared on social media flaming a fire of mistrust and need for change in the community. The public disregard for officers is complicated with increased allegations of brutality and constitutional violations such as racially bias-based prejudice that may have led to a shooting death even though the officer was cleared in that instance because the criminal had a knife.
Controversial actions like these have given Utah residents the idea that they have a right to speak out if they witness what they perceive to be an illegal arrest or inhumane treatment by a police officer toward a Salt Lake City citizen. There have been many peaceful protests to raise awareness against mistreatment by police, but bystanders need to be educated to the fact that they have no ground to get involved in an ongoing arrest for their own safety, and to avoid illegal consequences to themselves.
Police officers allowed “use of force” including hands, batons, tasers, or other weapons when necessary, and in accordance with officer training and department policy, is among the many misinterpreted powers placed upon government employees, and a topic prevalent in our daily news. The broad-based authority given to police to use force while apprehending criminals, utilizing both physical and psychological methods, to deter and reduce crime is based on policy that dictates what is considered “reasonable” force in any given situation and is often difficult to clarify and measure.
Policy brutality occurs when officers overstep their prescribed duties in accordance with training and policy and act alternately to cause physical harm through beating, taser use or firearms. Situations may require the use of force, but excessive force may cause serious injury, and sometimes death as seen in many cases across the United States. Excessive force is not the only violation of police brutality: other actions include false arrest and wrongful imprisonment; wrongful search and seizure activity; sexual harassment; racial and gender discrimination; and general abuse against civilians. Policy brutality is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied by affected persons, when misguided police officers overstep the boundaries of their “allowed use of force” as defined by individual State and local policy based in part, upon the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
- Excessive Force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death.
- False Arrest and Wrongful Imprisonment – unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement by another acting in perceived accordance with the law.
- Wrongful Search and Seizure Activity – protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures” notwithstanding probable cause enabling a search warrant.
- Racial and Gender Discrimination – bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties.
If you know someone or feel you have been subjected to any of these activities of police misconduct, seek legal counsel to see if compensation for injuries, damages for physical injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering could be sought after to remedy the affront.