Cases of Police Brutality in the United States

Cases of Police Brutality in the United States

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Cases of Police Brutality in the United States

The topic of police brutality has dominated headlines throughout the United States for many years. Unfortunately, this problem is still rampant across the country. This article covers some of the most important things you need to know about police brutality in the United States.

Police Brutality Statistics You Need to Know About

Without statistics, you may not truly understand the problem of police brutality in the US. For this reason, we’ve compiled some of the most concerning statistics to put this problem into perspective. 

  • Since 2016, there have been at least 1,000 people killed across the United States every year by the police
  • The year 2018 had one of the highest police killings in the US in the recent past - 1,145
  • According to the report, Black people were 2.9 times more likely to be killed by the police than White people
  • According to a study, the US ranks seventh in the list of countries with the highest number of police killings
  • Another study conducted in 2019 revealed that police killings were the leading cause of death for men aged between 25 and 29 in the US.
  • The Washington Post has been tracking police killings in the US since 2015. Since then, the American newspaper has recorded over 5,000 cases of police killings across the country. 

The list goes on and on.

These statistics show that police brutality is an issue of great concern in the US. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important to know what to do if you are a victim.

But first things first, let’s discuss some examples of police brutality. 

Examples of Police Brutality

Some of the most common examples of police brutality in the US include:

Excessive Use of Force

There’s no doubt that police have a difficult job. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every situation should be solved through force or violence. Unfortunately, some officers use excessive force when interacting with suspects, leading to serious injuries that could have been avoided in the first place. 

False Imprisonment

For a police officer to arrest you, they must have probable cause. This means they cannot arrest you without reason. 

Under certain circumstances, they may also need an arrest warrant to arrest you. However, it is important to note that a police officer can arrest you if they:

  • witness a crime being committed, which you are a part of;
  • believe you are about to commit a crime; or
  • believe you committed the crime.

Secondly, police officers can arrest you if they have ‘reasonable belief’ that they should arrest you. This applies even if they later discover you didn’t commit any crime. This is because ‘reasonable belief’ is usually based on the information available at the time.

Here’s an example of such a situation:

Suppose the police receive a call about an ongoing robbery at a particular grocery store. The caller describes the suspect as a middle-aged White male wearing a black hoodie. In that case, if you happen to be a middle-aged White male wearing a black hoodie who just arrived at the store moments after the robbery, the police might arrest you, believing that you are the suspect. 

In that case, they had reasonable cause to arrest and detain you. This is because you fit the description of the suspect. Therefore, chances are such a scenario won’t count as false imprisonment.

Malicious Prosecution

When the police initiate a criminal case against you without reasonable proof that you committed the crime, this could be a case of malicious prosecution. However, for this case to be valid, it must first be dismissed by the court. 

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  • When Can the Police Use Force?

    Police may be allowed to use force under certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances depend on the jurisdiction. 

    Police officers might be allowed to use force when they believe that a suspect poses a threat to the officer or any other individual. A good example is when the suspect threatens the police officer or any other individual with a gun. In this case, the officer may be required to use force. 

    That said, the officer’s actions might be subjected to further scrutiny. For example, if the circumstances allow, police officers are required to issue warnings before using force. 

    Let’s say a suspect is armed with a rifle and threatening to harm the officer or any other person. Before using force, the officer might be required to consider other options, such as warning the suspect to drop the weapon.

    There are times when the use of deadly force might not be justified. For instance, if the suspect has a gun but has not drawn it or pointed it at anyone, the use of a deadly weapon by a police officer against the suspect might not be justified. 

  • Do I Have a Police Brutality Case?

    The question of whether or not you have a valid case depends on the specific circumstances of your encounter with the police. One thing you need to know is police officers are protected by the law up to a certain extent. This kind of protection also varies from one jurisdiction to another. 

    Generally, you may have a valid police brutality case if you or your loved one was injured by an officer who didn’t have a justifiable reason for their actions. But since police brutality cases are complex, it’s always advisable to speak with an experienced attorney. A skilled lawyer will review your case and let you know whether the officer broke the law. 

  • What Should I Do if I Am a Victim of Police Brutality?

    If you’re a victim of police brutality, the steps you take after such an incident will determine the trajectory of your case. Here are some useful tips to always bear in mind:

    Stay Calm

    It’s easy to lose your cool when you’re a victim of police brutality. Many people fall into this trap and regret it later in their pursuit of justice. The last thing you want when you’re a victim of police brutality is to fight back physically. This only escalates the situation.

    Remember, police officers are usually heavily armed. You don’t want to give a trigger-happy officer a reason to fire that fatal shot. Weapons aside, failure to stay calm could work in favor of the rogue officer. They could easily claim that you resisted arrest, justifying the use of force against you. 

    Get Checked by a Doctor

    If you suffered significant injuries as a result of police brutality, it’s important that you get checked by a doctor. Your health comes first.

    That said, some injuries take time to begin to show any symptoms. When you see a doctor immediately after the incident, you may be able to get the treatment you need right on time. 

    Similarly, seeking medical treatment is one of the best ways to prove your injuries. 

    Contact an Experienced Attorney

    Talk to an experienced civil rights attorney about your case. As mentioned before, the attorney will review the case and let you know whether the officer broke the law. If so, the lawyer will also discuss various legal options available to you. 

  • Who Can I Sue if I Am a Victim of Police Brutality?

    If the attorney concludes that you have a valid case, they may recommend filing a complaint or lawsuit. This, however, depends on the weight of the case.

    You may be able to sue the police officer personally for their violent actions. Nevertheless, going after the individual officer might not help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. For this reason, your attorney will determine whether other parties may have contributed directly or indirectly to your injuries. 

    This isn’t usually an easy thing to do. It all depends on the kind of attorney you choose to work with. If you hire an experienced lawyer, chances are they’ll help you obtain reasonable compensation from parties you didn’t even know had anything to do with the case.

    The police department is a good example. Let’s say the officer who assaulted you had a long history of violating the rights of civilians. In that case, if the police department they work for knew or should have known about the officer’s conduct, then they might be held responsible for allowing the officer to continue working despite being a threat to the general public.

    The same applies to the city that employed the officer.

    However, police departments and cities enjoy a certain level of immunity when it comes to these cases. But a skilled attorney can help navigate these complex laws and ensure justice is served.

  • How Much Compensation Can I Recover From a Successful Police Brutality Lawsuit?

    The amount of compensation you may be able to recover depends on several factors. For example, the kind of damages you suffered will determine how much you may be eligible for compensation. 

    Since police brutality cases vary, an experienced attorney should be able to review your specific case to determine what you may be entitled to as compensation, that is, if the case is valid. 

  • What Damages Can I Recover From a Police Brutality Case?

    When you win a police brutality lawsuit, you may recover various damages based on the specific nature of your case and the type of brutality.

    For example, in a case of false imprisonment, you may be able to recover damages such as medical bills if you were injured during the encounter with the police. You may also be able to claim compensation for embarrassment and emotional distress.

  • How Can an Attorney Help?

    Earlier, we mentioned that an experienced attorney can review your case to determine whether you have legal grounds to proceed with a claim or lawsuit. But that’s not the only way such an attorney might be able to help. 

    Here are additional ways an experienced lawyer can help if you or your loved one is a victim of police brutality:

    An attorney might be able to refer you to a specialist to treat your injuries. And if you need services such as counseling or therapy, you can count on your attorney for referrals. 

    The lawyer will also help examine the evidence against the other party. Since police officers enjoy a certain degree of immunity, it’s important to have sufficient evidence to prove the officer’s misconduct. That’s where a seasoned attorney comes in. They can help you build a strong case against the defendant, increasing your chances of winning a lawsuit. 

    Since suing an officer directly might not make sense financially, a skilled attorney can devise a legal strategy to maximize your claim. This might include but is not limited to suing the police department or city that employs the officer in question. Remember, your attorney knows how to navigate these complex legal processes even in situations where suing the defendant is considered almost pointless. 

    After winning a lawsuit, your attorney will discuss the settlement offer with the other party. They will only accept it if it’s reasonable. This is because attorneys always keep their client’s interests first. 

    However, although it’s always advisable to work with an attorney, the choice of the attorney could make or break your claim or lawsuit. 

    Experience is an important thing to consider but not the only thing. You also want an attorney with powerful legal resources to fight for you. 

    That’s where Morgan and Morgan comes in. 

  • Why Morgan and Morgan?

    We are the largest personal injury law firm in the United States, we have the experience and resources needed to pursue cases of police brutality. 

    When a rogue police officer fights you physically and illegally, our attorneys can help you fight back.

    All you need to do is book a free case evaluation with us. 

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