Police officers in Orange County have a legal duty to prevent criminal acts from being committed, to protect the safety of innocent citizens and to keep the peace in our communities, and with this duty comes a certain amount of power and authority. Unfortunately, some aggressive and violent police officers abuse their power by physically or emotionally harming suspects in their custody, and this has become an incredibly polarizing issue in the United States today. If you have been the victim of police brutality in Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California, know that it is your constitutional right to stand up for yourself and hold the negligent officer liable for your injuries. Contact our experienced police misconduct attorneys at DAG Law Firm today to discuss the possibility of filing a claim for damages.
Affordable Orange County Police Brutality Attorney
Orange County is no stranger to police brutality. The issue dates back nearly a century, and despite great efforts to weed out aggressive and overzealous officers, claims of police misconduct in Orange County and across Southern California are on the rise. Unfortunately, because of the inherent power police officers in Orange County have, victims of police brutality are often too afraid to report the misconduct and worry that filing a civil rights claim against the officer could cause them even more trouble. In fact, fear of reprisal has resulted in many instances of police brutality going unreported, which only allows the problem to continue. Our attorneys at DAG Law Firm have years of experience protecting the rights of injured victims in Orange County and throughout Southern California, and will work tirelessly to help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your police brutality injuries.
Injuries Resulting from a Police Brutality Incident
When an aggressive police officer uses excessive force against a suspect in his custody, the consequences can be devastating for the suspect. In a report published in August 2017, California’s attorney general indicated that 157 people died during encounters with police officers in the state in 2016 alone. In fact, the attorney general identified a staggering 782 incidents that year where California police officers either used force that resulted in serious injury or death, or fired their weapons. What’s more, from 2008 to 2014, California’s Department of Justice identified 610 instances of police officers committing homicide “in the process of arrest.” That is 610 people killed by police officers in California over a six-year period. Even when a police brutality incident doesn’t result in death, the victim’s injuries can be serious and long-lasting. Some common injuries caused by police misconduct in Orange County include:
- Taser gun wounds
- Back injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Bruising from handcuffs
- Skull fractures
- Neck injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Gunshot wounds
- Wrongful death
In addition to physical harm, victims of police brutality often suffer lasting psychological injuries as a result of the traumatic incident, including panic attacks, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which may require costly, long-term medical care.
Police Brutality Claims in Orange County
Under California law, police brutality is defined as the use of any force exceeding that which is reasonably necessary to accomplish a lawful police purpose. Claims of police brutality in Orange County can arise from situations in which an officer is arresting, detaining or apprehending an individual, at which time the officer does not have the right or authority to use excessive force unless it is absolutely necessary. Many instances of police brutality occur after an individual has already been seized by an officer, meaning he has been physically restrained, an act that can be accomplished without the use of unreasonable physical force. Some of the most common types of police misconduct and police brutality incidents in Orange County involve:
- Sexual assault
- Unnecessary and degrading strip searches
- Unnecessary use of physical force
- Inappropriate taser use
- Inappropriate use of pepper spray
- Unnecessary use of a police baton
- False arrests or unlawful traffic stops
- Searches without a warrant
- Wrongful death
Determining Liability in a Police Brutality Incident
Police officers occasionally must use force to uphold the law, but that doesn’t give them the right to use unreasonable or excessive force against innocent citizens or suspects in their custody. As an American, you are protected from unreasonable force and other misconduct by police officers under the 4th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, and if any officer crosses the line and violates your civil and constitutional right to be free from excessive force, he or she must face the consequences. Determining liability in an Orange County police misconduct case depends a great deal on whether or not the officer’s use of force was unreasonable and there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration when making this determination, including:
- The severity or nature of the crime at issue;
- Whether the suspect posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others; and
- Whether the suspect actively resisted arrest or attempted to evade arrest
All too often, the consequences of a police brutality incident fail to match the severity of the injured individual’s suspected crime or violation, meaning the nature of the suspect’s crime was nonviolent and apprehending him should not have resulted in his injury or death. For instance, in March 2018, a 31-year-old suspect was shot and killed by Garden Grove police in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Santa Ana. The suspect’s crime? Violating his Post Release Community Supervision program terms of probation.
Seeking Compensation for Police Brutality Injuries
Police misconduct is unacceptable no matter what form it takes, and individuals who suffer unnecessary harm at the hands of a police officer may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for damages. Even something as seemingly insignificant as an officer excessively tightening your handcuffs may be classified as police brutality if the tight handcuffs cause you permanent injuries to your wrists and hands that prevent you from returning to work. Damages resulting from an Orange County police brutality incident may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of future earning capacity, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and emotional trauma. If the victim’s injuries are fatal, surviving family members may be entitled to pursue compensation for funeral and burial costs and other related damages.
Free Police Brutality Consultation in Orange County
Police officers put their lives on the line to protect our safety, and we can all appreciate the fact that being an officer of the law must be incredibly difficult and stressful. However, there is no excuse for a police officer using excessive or undue force against you or a loved one, and any officer who does should be held accountable for his actions. Use of unnecessary or excessive force by a police officer is a violation of the victim’s civil rights and is grounds for a police brutality claim. Filing a lawsuit against your local police department is no easy task, but having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference. Contact our skilled and compassionate police brutality lawyers at DAG Law Firm today for a free consultation.