Police brutality, also known as police misconduct, is a major issue in San Diego and throughout the United States, where instances of shootings and abuse carried out by overly aggressive police officers continues to take place, despite significant public outcry. Police officers are typically armed and are permitted by law to use reasonable force when apprehending or subduing a suspect. However, when an officer uses excessive physical force or brutality during an arrest, and that brutality causes injuries, the officer may be held liable for the resulting damages. If you suffered physical or emotional abuse in the course of an arrest in San Diego, our skilled lawyers at DAG Law Firm can help. Call today for a free San Diego police brutality consultation.
Affordable San Diego Police Brutality Attorney
Most of us trust in the idea that uniformed police officers are committed to enforcing the law, preserving peace in our communities and protecting us from harm. Because of this, it can be shocking and upsetting to suffer mistreatment or harm at the hands of a police officer, especially when you sustain serious injuries as a result. It is your right to feel angry and overwhelmed in the aftermath of a police brutality incident, and it’s our job to help you seek restitution against the officer or officers who caused you harm. Our knowledgeable attorneys at DAG Law Firm have years of experience protecting the rights of innocent victims injured at the hands of authority figures and are committed to holding San Diego police officers accountable for any police brutality or unnecessary use of excessive force they engage in. If you have been injured as a result of police brutality in San Diego, our lawyers will conduct an investigation to discover whether the officer’s actions can be classified as misconduct and, if so, pursue legal action against the officer. If, for example, the officer physically abused you after you were handcuffed or used an unnecessary degree of violence in carrying out your arrest, we may be able to help you recover monetary damages for your injuries.
Injuries Resulting from a Police Brutality Incident
More and more often, we hear about tragic police brutality incidents in the United States where innocent people are injured or killed at the hands of law enforcement officers. It may seem like a fairly recent problem, but the statistics tracking the rate of police brutality incidents over the past several years are shocking. In a study published in 2016, researchers found that in 2012 alone, an estimated 1,000 people were killed and another 54,300 were seriously injured during legal interventions, or stop and search incidents and arrests by law enforcement officers. When police officers use force in an unnecessary, excessive, aggressive or punitive manner, serious injuries or death can result. Some injuries that may result from a police brutality incident include:
- Gunshot wounds
- Stab wounds
- Taser gun wounds
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles
- Marks from handcuffs
- Sprains and strains
- Wrongful death
Types of Police Brutality in San Diego
Law enforcement officers are given a great deal of power and authority so that they can adequately protect the public from harm and make sure people obey the law, but there are many instances in which police officers go beyond the limits of their authority and abuse their power under the pretext of “enforcing the law.” The most common types of police brutality or police misconduct in San Diego include the following:
- Striking, kicking, punching or tripping a cuffed suspect
- Firing rubber bullets or tear gas into a crown of non-violent protesters
- Using a taser unnecessarily when the suspect does not pose a physical threat
- Using batons to beat a person who is not resisting arrest
- Using tear gas against non-violent offenders
- Using enough force against a suspect to fracture bones or cause serious injuries
- Using pepper spray against another person without cause
- Ordering or allowing a police dog to attack a suspect who is not resisting arrest
- Using physical force to coerce a confession from a suspect
Determining Liability in a Police Brutality Incident
It is written in the U.S. Constitution that any individual charged with a penal offense has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, and there is no excuse for a police officer to physically abuse or otherwise harm an individual he has in custody. This type of abuse is a violation of the injured party’s civil rights, and any officer guilty of such conduct should be held liable for the resulting injuries and made to pay for the damage done. In order to prove liability in a police brutality case, it takes more than just showing that the officer was negligent in his actions. You must be able to prove that the officer’s conduct was willful and unreasonable and that the conduct, regardless of the officer’s intention, violated your rights under the U.S. Constitution. The court will then determine whether the officer acted unreasonably or with more force than was necessary under the circumstances. Showing that the officer’s actions were willful and unreasonable requires proof that:
- The officer acted beyond the reasonable bounds of police conduct;
- The officer’s unreasonable conduct violated your rights under the U.S. Constitution; and
- You suffered harm as a result of the officer’s conduct.
Seeking Compensation for Police Brutality Injuries
Police officers are tasked with protecting the public, investigating crimes and preventing criminal activity from happening, but it does not fall within the scope of a police officer’s authority to carry out any sort of punishment against suspects they encounter on the job. Unfortunately, police officers are nearly immune from lawsuits brought by individuals who are harmed while the officers are acting within the parameters of their jobs. That does not mean that you should be made to suffer a violation of your civil rights in silence. You have the right to be treated in a fair and safe manner by law enforcement, and if you can prove that a police officer used excessive force against you during an arrest, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, and other related damages. For example, if, while handcuffing you, the officer made the cuffs so tight they cut off your circulation and caused permanent nerve damage, you may have grounds to seek compensation for your injuries and any associated financial losses.
Free Police Brutality Consultation in San Diego
Protection of civil rights and liberties is a fundamental value in American society, and the U.S. justice system is designed to provide certain constitutional rights to individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. Along the same vein, police officers are only permitted to arrest someone if they have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion that that person committed a crime. And yet, every day, innocent people are unlawfully subjected to harm at the hands of police officers who abuse their power and use physical force as a means of punishment. When a law enforcement officer uses unreasonable or excessive force against any person, regardless of the crime they are suspected of committing, the officer should be held liable for the harm and humiliation resulting from their unlawful actions. For more information about pursuing financial compensation for police brutality in San Diego, contact our experienced attorneys at DAG Law Firm today.