It’s when a police officer becomes violent and aggressive toward a compliant suspect during an arrest or sexually assaults a victim who is seeking support from their law enforcement agency. It’s the reason why a lack of trust exists between civilians and law enforcement. Although we recognize police brutality as “the unwarranted or excessive and often illegal use of force against civilians by U.S. police officers,”many individuals still find themselves seeking a clearer understanding as to what police brutality is.
In an effort to help you better understand what is considered police brutality, below we have provided you with some examples of it. For those who know they are a victim of police misconduct or believe their rights may have been violated by an officer, we recommend you consult with a police brutality attorney in your area to find out how you can defend your rights.
Examples of Police Brutality in the U.S.
- Excessive force.
It was in 2008 when Angela Garbarino was brought into a police booking room in Shreveport, LA [Source: The Guardian]. Garbarino was allegedly drunk at the time and got into an argument with officer Wylie Willis. Willis proceeded to “manhandle her to the floor” and then turned off the surveillance camera in the room. When the camera was turned back on, Garbarino was seen “lying in a spreading pool of blood on the floor and was removed from the room on a hospital gurney.” The altercation left her with two black eyes, broken teeth and a broken nose. The officer alleged the woman fell on her face while trying to exit the room.
- Wrongful death.
In 2016, former officer Betty Shelby, who was working for the Tulsa Police Department at the time, pulled over Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK [Source: USA Today]. Crutcher was unarmed and standing with his hands up next to his vehicle when Shelby fatally shot him. Shelby referred to Crutcher as a “bad dude” when questioned about her actions.
- Sexual assault.
In 2015, four women accused formerHialeah Police Sgt. Jesus Menocal Jr.of sexual abuse [Source: Miami Herald]. While no action was taken on those complaints back then, in 2019 Menocal was arrested by the FBI for violating the civil rights of citizens, kidnapping a girl, and sexually abusing several others. The officer was allegedly taking girls and women into custody and using his authority to coerce them into having sex with him.
Now, police brutality isn’t only limited to the cases described above. In fact, even a small act committed by an officer can be classified as a form of police brutality such as verbal abuse. The fact is, anytime an officer of the law engages in behavior that violates a person’s rights or inflicts physical or psychological harm against them that is deemed excessive (meaning it exceeds what would be considered reasonable), it is considered police brutality. Some other examples include:
- Deploying a taser when a suspect is lying on the ground obeying an officer’s commands.
- Beating an individual who is evoking their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
- Harassing a teen because of their race.
- Taking possession of a person’s property without a viable reason for doing so.
- Arresting an individual without probable cause.
Police brutality has been and continues to be an ongoing issue and is responsible for claiming hundreds of lives and injuring thousands of others. To help put an end to it, police brutality lawyers urge anyone who has been victimized by an officer of the law to come forward with their claims and stand up for their rights. There are police brutality attorneys all over the U.S. who are eager to help you and USAttorneys.com can connect you with one now.