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Seeking Justice for Police Brutality Victims

Police brutality often involves unnecessary and excessive use of force by law enforcement in dealing with civilians. It is extreme police misconduct and a violation of our rights guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A person who has been a victim of police brutality may be able to hold responsible parties accountable through a civil rights lawsuit brought in civil court.

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What Is Included Under Police Brutality?

There are other ways than excessive use of force in which law enforcement can commit police brutality. This is actually an umbrella term that includes five different forms of the offense:

  • Excessive use of force: This is the best known form of police brutality. It occurs when an officer escalates an encounter with a suspect using a level of force beyond what is necessary in the situation. Excessive force may involve improper holds and takedowns, use of nerve gas, pepper spray, tasers, or firearms, or beating with a baton. These measures, when used excessively, can cause serious injury or death to victims.
  • Racial discrimination: This type of police brutality has been at the forefront in recent years due to certain high-profile incidents. Racial bias has been at the root of police brutality cases. Black people are disproportionately impacted by police killings, as stated by researchers in a study published in the International Journal of Human Rights. Although African Americans represent only 13.2% of the population of the U.S., they account for 27.6% of deaths at the hands of police.
  • Wrongful search and seizure: Under the Fourth Amendment, police must have probable cause to search a suspect or the suspect’s property. This Constitutional protection shields citizens from arbitrary searches and seizures. In most cases, unless the suspect has already been lawfully arrested for a crime, police must first present probable cause to a judge and obtain a warrant before they are entitled to conduct a search.
  • False arrest or wrongful imprisonment: The Fourth Amendment also provides protection against arrest and imprisonment unless police have a warrant or probable cause. When police officers arrest a person without a warrant or detain a person with no evidence, it is wrongful arrest and a civil rights violation.
  • Sexual harassment or abuse: When a police officer commits sexual harassment or abuse against a person in custody, it is a type of police brutality. Some officers may take advantage of the power dynamic between police and civilians in custody. Sexual harassment and abuse can be verbal or physical.

What Are the Factors Contributing to Police Brutality?

Several elements may play a significant role in police brutality in the U.S., including racial aggression, increased militarization after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and problems with police training and culture. Another major factor may be lack of accountability. We have no national system for reporting police brutality and no centralized collection of data regarding incidents. When police officers are tried for misconduct, such as use of excessive force, judges and juries may be more likely to believe them when they say they felt their lives were in danger. In addition, prosecutors often collaborate closely with police and may have a conflict of interest.

Legal Help for Police Brutality Victims

If you have suffered brutality at the hands of the police, call Allen Law at (843) 882-5005 to schedule a free consultation with a Charleston personal injury lawyer. You may have a claim against the police for compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Attorney Allen has more than 10 years of legal and trial experience. He is a skilled negotiator and trial lawyer who holds an AV Preeminent® Martindale-Hubbell® rating. We can help you seek justice and compensation for police brutality.