With so many stories in the news lately of police misconduct and alleged brutality – all centering around cases like Darren Wilson, the officer in Ferguson, Missouri who fatally shot 18-year old Mike Brown last August – it’s hard not to think about what to do when the police are not our protectors. Whether you’ve had your Miranda rights violated, you’ve been physically assaulted by an officer, or you feel that an officer’s conduct was in any way extreme or inappropriate, you should talk with police misconduct attorneys.
While police officers may use force in certain situations, that force must be appropriate to the situation. They must also be held accountable for acting within the limitations of the law and upholding the law, rather than abusing their power and acting in their own self-interest.
Unfortunately, cases of police misconduct and brutality occur more often than we would like to believe. The questionable nature of Darren Wilson’s actions on the day of Mike Brown’s shooting are by far not the only cases in which civilians would want to seek compensation for police misconduct and/or brutality.
Examples of Excessive Force and Police Misconduct
Pulling from news reports of the past few years, we can find a number of cases. In New Mexico, for example, police pulled a man over for failure to stop at a stop sign in a Wal-Mart parking lot. With no other evidence than the man seemed to be, “Clenching his buttocks,” when pulled over, police obtained a warrant to perform an anal cavity search for drugs, but no drugs were found on the man’s person or in his vehicle.
In another case, officers were caught on camera spraying pepper spray in the eyes of protestors who were handcuffed and immobilized in Humboldt County, California. Also in California, in 2009, an officer shot a young man in the back of the head who was already handcuffed and pinned face down on the ground.
These are, of course, extreme, newsworthy situations, but police misconduct can take a number of forms. It may manifest in use of extreme force, or it may come in the form of intentional emotional distress.
It is unlawful for a police officer to intentionally create emotional distress. To sue a police department or individual officer for this act, though, you must be able to prove three things:
- That the officer acted in an outrageous and extreme manner.
- That the officer’s actions were either intentional or reckless.
- That the officer’s conduct caused you severe emotional distress.
If you can show that the officer was guilty of all three of these things, you have a case for a suit, and you should contact police misconduct attorneys immediately. Even if you are unsure that you can prove these things beyond any reasonable doubt, you should call an attorney to discuss your case anyway.
In situations like these, police misconduct attorneys are more familiar with the laws that protect you than you are. Given all of the information available about what happened and how the officer acted, they will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case and help you decide how to pursue it.
Remember, simply feeling that an officer was unkind to you is not enough evidence to prove misconduct. However, if an officer laid hands on you or otherwise used escalated physical force when you were non-violent and cooperative, you will definitely have a case worth pursuing. Consult with police misconduct attorneys today to find out how you can get the compensation you deserve for physical and/or emotional distress due to a police officer’s inappropriate actions.