Is justice served or are officers relieved of being held accountable for their misconduct?
Cases of police brutality and misconduct are unfolding in cities all across the country. Officers are being accused of harassing innocent individuals while others are being blamed for shooting the wrong person. As often as we hear about these cases, rarely are police held accountable for their unjust actions. To further prove this point, below we highlight several cases based on information from USA Todayinvolving a police officer who applied deadly force in a situation that didn’t require it and what the outcome of that case was.
- The case involving Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma
Former officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Crutcher while he had his hands up and stood near his vehicle in the street. Although Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter, a jury acquitted her, and she later resigned from the department in which she worked for.
- The fatal shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota
Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight and during the routine traffic stop, Officer Jeronimo Yanez claimed Castile resembled a robbery suspect. When Castile informed Yanez he had a weapon in the car in which he had a permit that allowed him to carry it, Yanez shot Castile twice in the chest. Yanez was charged with manslaughter but was found not guilty.
- The Eric Harris Case in Oklahoma
USA Today cited that Harris was fatally shot by Robert Bates, who was a volunteer sheriff’s deputy after he fled a sting involving a gun sale. Although Harris may have attempted to evade police, Bates acknowledged that he made a mistake when he accidentally shot him with a real gun and not the stun gun he intended to grab. Bates was sentenced to a four-year prison sentence in 2016 although he was released in October 2017.
- The case involving Rumain Brisbon in Arizona
When Officer Mark Rine arrived at the scene where a drug deal was said to be going down, Brisbon fled which resulted “in a struggle between the two.” Brisbon placed his hand in his pocket around an object Rine believed to be a gun and he fatally shot him. The object Brisbon was grabbing wasn’t a gun, rather, it was a pill bottle. After months had passed, it was announced that Rine would not be facing any criminal charges.
- The Tamir Rice Case in Ohio
When Timothy Loehmann, who happened to be an officer in training at the time was called to the scene where there was allegedly a man pointing a gun at people outside a recreational center, he only encountered 12-year-old Tamir Rice holding a BB gun. The news source says that within minutes, Loehmann shot and killed Rice and there weren’t any witnesses who could attest that they heard officers issue any warnings prior to shots being fired. After a year had passed, “a jury declined to bring charges” against Leohmann, although the city did pay Rice’s family $ 6 million. The city admitted there was no wrongdoing, however, Leohmann was later fired from his position.
Although the circumstances do vary in each of the cases cited above, there is a consistent pattern in each of them and that is that all of the officers involved never faced the consequences for their behavior. Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly easy to hold an officer of the law accountable when they make a mistake or take someone’s life as a result of them applying deadly force. But that doesn’t mean victims of police brutality and misconduct should live their lives without attempting to recognize an officer and/or the department they work for their reckless or illegal behavior.
With that said, if you or a loved one was mistreated by an Alabama police officer and you are looking to seek justice for the physical or psychological suffering you have had to endure, let a Birmingham, AL police brutality attorney help you. USAttorneys.com only works with the best lawyers in the field and would be more than happy to get you connected with a professional in your area.