Police Brutality Laws Passed
Police Brutality Laws Passed
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Police Brutality Laws Passed
Police brutality is a big problem in the United States. Many people across the country have lost their lives and suffered serious injuries due to police brutality. As a result, several laws have been passed both at the state and federal levels in an attempt to combat this problem and mend the tainted relationship between the police and the public.
We'll discuss these new police brutality laws in detail.
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sparked a series of nationwide protests. The incident highlighted the increasing need to address the issue of police brutality both at the state and national levels. As a result, the Justice Department passed a historic law that changed how police officers and other security agencies react to incidents of brutality.
The Intervention Policy
This new law, passed two days before the second anniversary of George Floyd's death, requires police officers and other agencies to intervene whenever there's a violation of human rights by a fellow officer. Before this law, police officers, as witnessed in the George Floyd case, would not intervene in situations that leaned towards misconduct by their fellow officers.
The new policy does not apply to the police force alone; it also applies to agents or offices working with the:
- Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- US Marshals Service
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
The Use of Force Policy
Signed by President Biden, the executive order also provided guidelines on the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials. Precisely, it allowed the use of force only when “no reasonably effective, safe, and feasible alternative appears to exist.” The order also encouraged the police to consider de-escalation to prevent excessive use of force.
The “No-Knock” Policy
Per the new law, police officers are required to limit the use of no-knock entries. A no-knock policy allows law enforcement agencies to gain access to a property without announcing themselves by knocking at the door or ringing a doorbell.
However, the new policy permits law enforcement agencies to use the no-knock approach only if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that announcing themselves would pose a threat of physical violence to the officer or any other person.
The Demilitarization Policy
To limit the cases of police brutality, the government passed a new policy limiting the transfer of military equipment to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. This equipment includes armored personnel carriers, flashbang grenades, assault rifles, submachine guns, and other extreme artillery.
It is also important to note that in addition to federal laws, each state has its own unique laws to curb police brutality. But despite the existence of these laws, the issue of police brutality is still a major concern throughout the country.
As police brutality cases continue to rise across states, it is becoming increasingly important to know what to do if you're a victim of brutality. Here are a few guidelines to always keep in mind.
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What Should I Do If I'm a Victim of Police Brutality?
If you're a victim of police brutality, consider taking the following steps:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You need to get checked by a doctor if the police officer used force against you. This applies even if you haven't suffered any visible injuries.
During the first few hours or days after the incident, your body might still be in shock. For this reason, it might not be able to process pain or show signs of severe injuries. But certain types of injuries could become serious in the long run. For example, internal bleeding can lead to permanent organ damage, requiring surgery or transplant. If left untreated, it could lead to death.
The worst thing about such injuries is that they don't usually show immediately. And it might be too late when they begin to show.
It is also important to note that it is within your right to request medical assistance if you're in police custody. And if the police turn down your request, you should note down the name of the officer you made the request to, and their badge number. Also, if possible, note the time you made the request.
Remember, police officers have a duty to request medical assistance for individuals who've been hurt during a confrontation with the police. This includes individuals who the police have hurt directly unless requesting such assistance puts the officer or any other person at risk.
Document the Incident
It's very easy to forget what happened after the police brutality incident. Depending on the nature of the incident, you may even suffer brain damage, which leads to memory loss. But that's not the only reason you need to document the incident.
Documenting the incident helps build a strong case against the officer involved. Ensure you get their name, batch number, location, date and time of the incident, and most importantly, the injuries sustained.
If you sought medical attention, your medical results will help prove the injuries you suffered due to police brutality. Similarly, surveillance footage can help provide more details on how the incident occurred.
Contact an Attorney
Get in touch with an attorney specializing in civil rights abuse cases, specifically police brutality. Remember, police brutality cases have a statute of limitations - the longer you take to contact an attorney, the more difficult it is to prove your case.
How Can an Attorney Help With My Police Brutality Case?
To understand how an attorney might be able to help if you or a loved one is a victim of police brutality, let's take a quick look at how the law protects law enforcement officers. In most states, and also at the federal level, police officers are permitted to use force under certain circumstances. For example, the police might use force to make an arrest for a crime or prevent a suspect from escaping if already in custody.
However, there is a thin line between what an officer can or cannot do. Often, this thin line is subject to interpretation.
An experienced attorney can evaluate your case to determine whether the officer violated the law. This is the first and most important step in your pursuit of justice. The last thing you want is to spend your precious time pursuing a case considered dead on arrival.
If you have a valid case, a seasoned attorney can also help you collect crucial evidence against the officers involved. As mentioned earlier, video footage could help provide an insight into what happened that particular day. This footage may be obtained from the premises where the incident occurred or even the police officer's bodycam. In some cases, eyewitnesses might have video footage that could prove helpful.
Regardless of the source of the footage, an experienced attorney can help you obtain this crucial evidence before it's eliminated. The attorney can also interview witnesses and experts to build a strong case against the officer.
At times, more than one party might be liable for your injuries. For example, if that particular officer had a history of brutality against civilians, chances are they shouldn't be in the police force in the first place. But thanks to negligence by the police department, you or your loved one have become just another statistic of police brutality.
In that case, your attorney might be able to prove to the court that the police department knew or should have known that the rogue officer was unfit to serve and protect the public. Despite that, the officer still patrolled the streets with the department's permission, putting the lives of innocent civilians like you in danger.
An experienced lawyer can also help assess your damages and determine the kind of compensation you need and deserve. And if you still need further treatment for your injuries, you can count on your attorney to guide you on where to get the kind of treatment you need.
Finally, the lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek compensation for the injuries you've suffered as a result of police brutality.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Police Brutality Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations depends on the jurisdiction. In most states, you have up to one year to file a lawsuit if you're a victim of police brutality. This further explains why it is important to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Such an attorney understands various important deadlines injury victims must meet in order to file a successful claim. For instance, other than the statute of limitations, you must seek medical attention within a specific deadline. Failure to beat this deadline could jeopardize your case. Speak with your lawyer for more information about this.
What Are Some Challenges to Pursuing a Police Brutality Lawsuit?
Regardless of the state, you'll most likely encounter challenges when filing a police brutality lawsuit.
The issue of immunity is usually one of the biggest hurdles you'll encounter.
The law protects police officers up to a certain extent. The only time they might not be protected is when their conduct is considered unreasonable.
The same issue of immunity will also arise when you decide to sue other parties other than the police officer who injured you. For example, if you decide to sue your local government, chances are they also enjoy a certain level of immunity against such cases. The same applies to police departments - you may not be able to sue them under certain circumstances.
However, despite all these legal hurdles, an experienced attorney can help you find a way through them in your pursuit of justice.
On the bright side, a police officer's misconduct cannot be justified even if you were guilty of the crime. On the other hand, if you can prove your innocence, it will be much easier to prove that the officer's actions were unreasonable. But, again, this is something a skilled lawyer can help you with.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover From a Successful Police Brutality Lawsuit?
The amount of compensation you may be able to recover usually depends on the nature of your police brutality case. Generally, these cases attract thousands of dollars as compensation.
In addition, it also depends on the kind of attorney you choose to work with. If your attorney is skilled and experienced in navigating these complex cases, they may be able to maximize your claim.
To put things into perspective, the state of Washington spent over $100 million as compensation for police brutality victims between 2007 and 2022. Statistics show that the number of police brutality cases in the state is still on the rise, meaning there's a high chance that the police department will continue to lose millions every year as compensation for victims of brutality.
To have a rough idea of what to expect when you win your case, speak with an attorney. They'll analyze the nature of the case, including the injuries sustained, to estimate what you may be able to recover.
How Can Morgan and Morgan Attorneys Help?
When it comes to police brutality cases, you shouldn't trust just any attorney or law firm you come across. These cases require a lot of research, experience, and resources, the three factors many personal injury law firms or attorneys lack.
However, that's not something you should be concerned about when you hire Morgan and Morgan. Our civil rights attorneys can help fight for you if you got injured by a rogue officer or lost a loved one.
We have the experience and resources needed to tackle these kinds of cases. Contact us online for a free case evaluation.