What kinds of actions give rise to a complaint of police brutality?
APolice are never justified in using excessive force in arresting an individual, nor can they lawfully use excessive force any time thereafter. Examples of excessive force or misconduct may include shootings if the person was unarmed, deaths while in custody, rape, physical assault, verbal or other harassment, discourtesy, use of racial profiling, and corruption. An example of such misconduct occurred recently when police broke into an Atlanta man’s home, refused to produce a warrant, called the man racial slurs, and proceeded to subdue him by beating him with a baton and pistol whipping him. Once he was subdued, the police proceeded to taunt him. The City of Atlanta ultimately settled the case for $750,000.
What rights afford me protection against the police when they use excessive force?
AThe fourth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution provide protections against police actions. The fourth and fourteenth amendments protect you from police misconduct before and during arrests. The eighth amendment protects you after the police have you in custody. There are also both federal and state laws that protect you when the police have acted maliciously. You should consult with Puglise Law Firm to find out what protections are available for you and the best manner in which to bring your case.
How difficult is it to prevail in a suit for police brutality?
AA police brutality lawsuit is challenging but winnable. First, it is difficult to persuade the police to release and confess information about a case. In the case mentioned above, a significant reason that the city was willing to settle is that a retired officer confessed that police often cover up the use of excessive force and cover one another with a “code of silence.” Second, even if such information is available, the police enjoy certain privileges, protections and immunities because they are government authorities. Finally, a plaintiff must prove that the officer’s conduct was unnecessary and malicious in order to prevail. These elements are difficult to prove without an experienced attorney at your side, so please call Puglise Law Firm if you believe that you have been brutalized by the police.
How quickly does the claim need to be brought?
ATime is of the essence in police brutality case. First, the evidence necessary to prove the case is often very transient, and second, statutes of limitation or complaint requirements against the government may limit the time in which a claim may be brought. If you believe that you have been victimized by the police, take action quickly so that your case may be heard.
What can I do to prevent police brutality against myself and my loved ones?
AYou can do several things to prevent police brutality. First, know that most police are not trying to harm or discriminate against you. In every interaction with a police officer, have identification ready and be courteous. Second, report incidents of police brutality to the Office of Professional Standards or the internal affairs office of other appropriate police departments.