White Plains, NY – Police are given the authority to make arrests, detain and question suspects, and even use some level of physical force to end violent situations. However, there are some actions that are clearly illegal and violate a person’s rights, even if they are being charged with a crime by the government. While the government has the authority to bring criminal cases and detain suspects, officers cannot abuse this power through certain illegal actions.
A review of common situations that are considered police brutality help to clarify what kinds of behaviors are illegal and may result in civil rights lawsuits.
Violence against suspects who are already detained
One of the most common and clear cut examples of police brutality is when officers hurt a suspect who is already handcuffed or otherwise detained. The detained suspect poses no further threat of violence, yet there are numerous examples of police violence where they have punched, kicked, choked, or shot someone who was already in custody.
Unnecessary use of firearms
There have been a number of excessive use of force cases involving police and their guns. While law enforcement is authorized to shoot or use deadly force to protect the public, there must be a clear cut reason to do so because of a threat of violence to people in the area. Courts have consistently held that shooting a suspect to prevent them from fleeing or stop minor crimes is not a strong enough government interest to justify the use of force that can potentially be fatal.
Claims of illegal resisting
Resisting arrest or various similar obstruction crimes are illegal throughout the United States. However, some police officers claim a suspect was resisting as a pretext for unnecessary violence. When there are situations that happen quickly and involve potentially violent behavior, officers will sometimes give the excuse that the victim was becoming violent, aggressive, or illegally resisting as a justification for using much more force than the situation warrants. Verbal commands to stop resisting generally accompany these tactics as another form of justification.
Remedies for victims
When someone is illegally hurt, they can bring a lawsuit against the individual officer and the city or department that the officer works for. If the plaintiff is successful, the municipality will end up paying various costs through a settlement agreement or after a jury verdict. This can include medical treatment and hospital bills, the person’s lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering. The officer can also face criminal charges if the allegations are serious.
Speaking with a lawyer in New York