All police departments train their officers about how and when they are allowed to use force to secure a situation and prevent harm to the public.

A police officer in Largo Florida has been terminated from his position after a cellphone video emerged of him unnecessarily placing his hands around a teenager’s neck.

Cop places young man in illegal choke hold

The incident began when police received a complaint about a group of teenagers who were making threats on Melody Lane at around 5 pm. The person who filed the complaint gave a specific description of a black male with a white shirt who had threatened to shoot someone.

The officer approached the victim who matched the description along with other teens in the group. The officer told him to put out a cigar, then the two of the can he heard on the video beginning to get into a verbal altercation. Apparently, they were both talking as if they were preparing to fight. Shortly afterwards, the officer grabs the victim by his shoulders and puts him against the police car. The video shows the cop putting the teen in a choke hold for several seconds until another adult male who was nearby pulls them apart.

The victim’s mother allowed the identity of her son to be released to the news, as she also asked that the officer responsible be charged criminally for battering him as well. The officer admitted to using a jaw pressure point technique on the victim that is generally not authorized by his department except in cases of extreme physical resistance. The officer on the video was cited by his department for one count of bullying which would result in a suspension, and the use of a prohibited restraint technique, which can result in termination. The Largo Police Chief issued a statement that incidents such as this would violate the public’s trust in their department, which is why the decision was made to terminate the employment of the offender.

Use of force protocols

All police officers receive several hours of training related to the use of force while they are in the police academy. As a general rule, force is only permitted to protect the officers or others in the area from clear threats of violence. Police are never supposed to be the ones to escalate a peaceful situation or verbal altercation into physical violence. In a situation like the news story above, the officer was captured on video initiating the physical contact, which is clearly a violation of these rules.

When an experienced police brutality lawyer has video evidence of misconduct, they can make a strong case against the officer and the department. Video recordings can show evidence that an officer abused their authority and caused injuries. A civil case to pay for injuries to the victim can be filed, even in situations like this where the offending officer has already been terminated. Administrative procedures within a department governing the discipline of officers are treated separately from the courts.

Talk to a local lawyer about problems with the police

If you have been the victim of police violence in Largo or other nearby parts of Florida, there is help available. Trevena, Pontrello, and Associates is available to assist people with lawsuits against the offending department.

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