Fort Lauderdale Florida looks peaceful under the blue sky touting calm and inviting beaches, but there is a wave of questionable police misconduct lurking that can put residents on edge. News headlines reveal blatant prejudice by officers, homeless people being hit by cops, and teenagers being thrown to the ground with force. These situations would otherwise be called actions of assault by the everyday person, but under color of law, do law enforcement officers get away with this behavior?
Law enforcement and discrimination.
Officers shall not consider race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in establishing either reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or as a reason for requesting consent to search, or excessive force actions during police engagement due to any prejudice. Bias-based profiling is frowned upon in all police-initiated actions, including investigative detentions, field and traffic contacts, arrests, searches, asset seizures and forfeiture efforts.
Police misconduct laws.
State and federal laws addressing police misconduct include criminal and civil statutes to cover officers’ action in state, county and local jurisdictions, including prisons and jails.
The 2018 Florida Statutes Chapter 776 outlines the law on “Justifiable Use of Force” as it pertains to Police Officer activity in Section 776.05 whereby an officer is justified in the use of any force:
- Which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary to defend himself or herself or others from bodily harm during an arrest;
- When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or
- When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice.
Police 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 guided by 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.
Hire an attorney.
If you, or a loved one has been victimized with any type of police misconduct, the professionals at the Law Offices of Michael D. Weinstein can review your claim and see if you have a cause for action to recover damages.
Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality or excessive use of force.
Michael D. Weinstein, P.A.
12 Southeast 7th Street, Suite 713
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301