Police officers are expected to use reasonable force when it is required– and “reasonable” is the keyword. When police officers use excessive force when making an arrest or in the course of their responsibilities, that is usually police brutality.
Factors taken into consideration when determining whether police brutality took place include the severity of the crime and whether a suspect posed an immediate threat. A suspect resisting arrest or trying to escape may affect the law enforcement response.
Police misconduct runs the gamut, but it is an underreported crime. This lack of reporting means the bad apples responsible for most instances of police brutality continue these actions. Other police officers know who the bad actors are but are discouraged from providing such information to the New York City Police Department authorities.
Anyone involved in a police brutality incident should seek immediate legal advice. A New York City civil rights lawyer at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green can help you find justice and the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Police brutality takes many forms. It does not have to involve physical contact. Examples of police brutality include:
- Verbal, physical or sexual abuse
- Unreasonable, excessive force
- Unwarranted tasering
- Discrimination based on race, age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Other incidents of police brutality include false arrest or imprisonment and unlawful searches and seizures.
Law enforcement officers frequently abuse items such as tasers. Although used to subdue someone without the need for deadly force, improper taser use can cause fatalities. The electrical force sent into the body via the taser can result in cardiac arrest. Pepper spray is another effective tool when used appropriately but is often used excessively. Inflamed eyes and respiratory distress can occur.
Proving Police Brutality
As national events show, the constant presence of video reveals the frequency and horror of police brutality. As of February 2019, all NYPD uniformed patrol officers were equipped with body cameras. While patrol officers are not required to have their body cameras recording at all times, they must do so when making an arrest, during all uses of force, and in any interactions with suspects.
Any searches of people or property mean the body camera is supposed to be on. Any interaction with a person who appears emotionally disturbed also requires recording. The officer is not supposed to record sensitive encounters, such as a strip search.
If the officer in question did not have their body camera turned on during the incident in question, that is substantial proof that they knew they were engaging in police misconduct.
Although powerful, such videos, including surveillance footage, are only part of the evidence necessary to prove police brutality. Your lawyer will gather additional evidence. This includes your medical reports, eyewitness testimony, and other relevant documentation. This evidence can bolster the video. It may show there is more to the video than meets the eye.
Filing a Police Brutality Claim
When it comes to filing a police brutality claim, time is of the essence. The Notice of Claim requires filing with the appropriate government agency within 90 days of the incident. This notice includes details of the police misconduct and any injuries you suffered. Failure to file a claim within that deadline means it cannot go forward. Within one year and 90 days from the date of the incident, you must file a personal injury lawsuit. Again, not doing so within the timeframe means a court will not consider your lawsuit.
Police Brutality Damages
Damages, or compensation, in a personal injury case involving police brutality, may include:
- Medical expenses, current, and future
- Lost wages
- Emotional and mental anguish
In a worst-case scenario, the victim’s family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the NYPD.
Contact a New York City Civil Rights Lawyer
If you or a family member were the victims of police brutality or excessive force, you need the services of an experienced NYC civil rights lawyer at Friedman and Levy. All clients are treated with the dignity and compassion they deserve. Arrange a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling or texting us 24/7.
Our dedicated attorneys have served New York City for over half a century, and our track record speaks for itself. Hablamos Español.