Police officers take an oath to protect and serve the community. Their job is to keep the public safe. However, sometimes police officers go too far and fail to respect the civil rights of citizens. Police officers who escalate a situation rather than deescalate can cause serious and unnecessary injury.
Police brutality and the use of excessive physical force can happen for a number of different reasons, but it is rarely if ever, justified. Police officers are concerned about their safety and the safety of the public; however, many times, they go too far. Not all situations require the same amount of physical force to ensure a safe outcome. When the level of physical force exceeds what is reasonably necessary, given the totality of the circumstances, then the force is excessive. Some common forms of excessive force and police brutality include:
- Excessive use of physical force when removing someone from a property
- Excessive use of physical force during detention, arrest, or transport
- Unnecessary use of pepper spray
- Unnecessary use of a taser
- Unjustified shooting
The existence of excessive force is entirely dependent on the circumstances, and it is the job of a police officer to evaluate the circumstances before taking action.
We expect the police to uphold the law; however, sometimes they cut corners and do illegal things. Police misconduct occurs when the circumstances do not justify an officer’s actions. This can include situations such as:
- Denial of due process rights
- Sexual misconduct
- Failure to provide necessary medical care
- Committing perjury
- Hiding or destroying evidence
- Actions based on race, ethnicity, or another protected class
False arrests involve the violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. The police cannot arrest someone unless they have a warrant or probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime. When a police officer bases a search or an arrest on someone’s race or ethnicity, they are violating the individual’s civil rights. A badge does not give a police officer the right to arrest someone just because they don’t like the way the person looks. They have an obligation to follow the law.
Contact a Civil Rights Attorney
If your civil rights have been violated by a police officer, you should consult with an attorney to protect your legal rights. Gregg M. Goldfarb has over 20 years of experience helping victims of police brutality. Contact him online or call us at (305) 374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.