Police Brutality/Civil Rights/Excessive Force

At Dross Berman LLC, while we respect and admire our community’s law enforcement officers, we also know firsthand that not every police officer is perfect, and that use of excessive force and violations of your civil rights do occur.  If you have been the victim of police brutality, excessive force, or your Constitutional rights have been violated, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Due to rising (and oftentimes confirmed) allegations of police brutality, many local police departments now use body or dashboard cameras.  This means that there is a high likelihood that the incident is memorialized.  It is important to act quickly if you are the victim of police abuse to ensure that all relevant evidence is properly secured.

What is excessive force?

Every person has a constitutional right to not be subjected to excessive force from a police officer.  This means that a police officer may only use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to carry out their lawful duties.  Whether force is “excessive” is an extensive and individualized factual determination based on several factors, including the reason why police attempted to stop or arrest an individual, the way that the person responded to police requests or demands, and the circumstances surrounding the encounter.

While it might be reasonable for law enforcement officers to physically grab and restrain a person who was armed, committed a violent crime, or physically resisted arrest, police may use no more force than necessary. They should not hurt a person who is unarmed, acts in a non-threatening manner, and follows their directions.

Even if a person is aggressive, police must stop using force as soon as they restrain the individual.  Thus, any legal claim for “excessive force” must be based on injury resulting from force beyond whatever was necessary.

What is false arrest or imprisonment?

Every person has a constitutional right against unlawful arrest or detention.  If you have been falsely arrested or imprisoned, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  This claim arises when police take an individual into custody, without an arrest warrant and without “probable cause.” An officer would have “probable cause” if he or she actually saw the person commit a serious crime or had a reasonable belief that the person had or was just about to commit a serious crime.  Whether the arrest was reasonable depends on the reasonableness of the officer’s belief based on the information available at the time of the arrest, even if it turns out to be wrong.

What is malicious prosecution?

You may be the victim of “malicious prosecution” when a law enforcement official begins a criminal proceeding, without “probable cause,” but with malice (intent to harm you), and the criminal proceeding ends in the victim’s favor (without a conviction).  If the police have attempted to malicious prosecute you, you may be entitled to financial compensation due to the extreme emotional stress, embarrassment, and financial expense often involved in a criminal prosecution that lacks a legitimate basis.

What should I do if I was the victim of police brutality?

Contact an attorney immediately.  The attorneys at Dross Berman LLC have proven experience representing victims of police brutality.  When deciding on an attorney to handle this type of claim, it is important to feel like your attorney will be your advocate.  You need an attorney who will believe in your case, and will not accept the police officer’s version of events as fact.  If you are the victim of police brutality, contact the attorneys at Dross Berman LLC for a free consultation.