Americans trust police officers and other members of law enforcement to enforce the laws responsibly and act with fairness in regards to their fellow humans. In very rare cases, however, officers make mistakes or bad decisions, often in the heat of the moment. This can lead to police brutality.
In recent years, many people associate police brutality with high tension and fear surrounding incidents that involve officers and civilians that have turned violent. Read on to learn more about police brutality.
What Is Police Brutality?
While many people consider police brutality to include physical violence, this is not always the case. Misconduct can also include degrading searches, coercion, blackmail, and racial profiling.
Excessive force is a common way in which police brutality occurs. Sometimes a court deems an action excessive because it was unnecessary. For example, if an officer put somebody into a chokehold after the individual was cooperative during a traffic stop, a jury could find the officer’s actions excessive.
Recently, unjustified shootings have also been a significant concern among officers. Not all uses of weapons involve guns though. Police use of batons and Tasers can also be unjustified or excessive according to the law.
What Are Tennessee’s Laws Regarding Police Brutality?
Tennessee’s police officers have strict laws regarding their behavior, but the stress of the job can lead to some instances in which law enforcement officers feel they must engage in behaviors not typically considered legal.
Americans all over the country have certain Constitutional rights. They include the right to free speech, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, the requirement for warrants for searches, and the right to have an attorney during criminal proceedings.
To combat police brutality in Tennessee, law enforcement officers are not allowed to engage in behavior that deprives an individual of their Constitutional rights. Police officers may not engage in behaviors involving excessive force, discriminatory harassment, and even unlawful stops. To prove misconduct in your case, you and your attorney may need to show a pattern of behavior suggesting this incident is not isolated.
What Has Happened in Previous Cases?
In a police brutality case, you may be able to sue for hospital bills, lost wages, the costs associated with being disabled, and even the costs that come with death.
Sometimes police brutality can result in death. This can lead to a wrongful death case that has an impact on the city police or county sheriff. If you have a loved one who passed away at the hands of an officer, you have the right to sue for the death. In recent cases, parents have sued local law enforcement and won after their children were killed by police officers.
One Syracuse jury awarded a victim of police brutality more than $1.5 million after two officers used excessive force during an arrest later deemed false. His trial lasted two weeks before a jury found in his favor.
What Can You Do After Experiencing Police Brutality?
When you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your instance of police brutality that means you can seek financial compensation for injuries and other damages you have incurred. You can pursue a civil lawsuit.
Sometimes people pursue cases that do not involve asking for money but rather to change the policies or practices of misconduct in local law enforcement agencies. This can be a net win for local citizens in your town.
Regardless of why you are suing, you should hire an attorney. Your lawyer will initiate an investigation into your claims and gather evidence for your case.
The Cochran Firm of the Mid-South helps victims of police brutality and other forms of misconduct in Tennessee. Contact us today to learn more about your police brutality case and set up a consultation with a member of our team.