When police officers attempt to justify using force on a suspect who is detained or handcuffed, they will often say that the person is resisting arrest and then proceed to engage in some kind of violent behavior. While police are allowed to use force to diffuse violent situations, in most cases accusations of resisting arrest are an illegitimate way to justify improper uses of force.
The Austin Police department is dealing with a large amount of negative publicity over a video of an officer punching a man who was already detained.
Man punched while he is on the ground
The incident began on the Fourth of July while crowds were gathered in downtown Austin. The video does not show the beginning of the confrontation between the suspect and the two officers on the scene. The victim was being arrested for possession of methamphetamine, and making threats. He was also later charged with resisting arrest due to the confrontation with the officers.
When the video begins, it shows two officers who already have the suspect subdued and pinned on the ground. The officer that is in the center of the video can clearly be seen winding up and throwing a punch into the head of the man on the ground.
Both the Austin Police Chief and Police Association President expressed concerns about the content of the video and stated that the incident would be investigated further to determine what happened in the moments leading up to the short video clip.
Why was he charged with resisting arrest?
A common tactic used by many police officers around the country is to use a resisting arrest charge to justify illegitimate uses of force. Some officers even go so far as to verbally yell at a suspect to stop resisting even when videos clearly show no resistance occurring as a way of legitimizing punches, kicks, and other tactics to inflict pain on those in their custody. This is essentially a cover-up technique that can allow the police to say that force was required to detain a violent suspect who was resisting their legal authority to make an arrest.
What will happen next?
When a video such as this surfaces, there may be disciplinary actions taken against the officers by their employer after an internal affairs investigation. There may even be criminal charges filed against them if their conduct is considered to be outside of any normal law enforcement operating procedures. However, a victim should retain their own attorney who handles injuries and explore the possibility of a civil lawsuit regardless of what happens with these other measures. A civil case against the city or department is the only way a victim can be paid for their injuries and suffering.
Police brutality experts can file a lawsuit on your behalf
If you have been affected by any kind of police misconduct in Austin or nearby parts of Texas, contact The Robson Law Firm. Chris Robson has been awarded millions of dollars worth of damages for clients since starting his practice twenty years ago.