If you have paid attention to the news, then chances are that you have heard the term “police brutality” more than once. This is more than a controversial topic of conversation, however, as people who suffer from police brutality often must deal with the legal, financial, and medical consequences for years afterwards. But what exactly is police brutality, and what should you do if you experience it?
Defining Police Brutality
Put in simple terms, police brutality broadly refers to any time a police officer uses excessive force against someone, whether or not they have been accused of committing a crime. What exactly makes the use of force “excessive” is often situational, but generally speaking it means that the police officer used violence in excess of what the officer reasonably would have believed was necessary. When police use excessive force, it can leave them with broken bones, concussions, and other serious injuries, and in some cases it can even be fatal.
Examples of Excessive Force
Some of the most common types of excessive force seen in police brutality cases include:
- Use of force against unarmed suspects
- Use of force against suspects already in custody who are not resisting arrest
- Use of force against someone who has already been subdued
- Threatening or injuring suspects to give confessions
- Threatening or injuring witnesses to give testimony
- Use of force against people without first issuing verbal commands
- Use of force against detainees who are not fighting or resisting
Why is Police Brutality a Problem?
Aside from the physical harm caused by police using excessive force, police brutality is also considered a serious civil rights violation. Depending on when and where the brutality occurred, it can be considered a violation of someone’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, a violation of their Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, or their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. This means that any act of brutality by a police officer can carry serious legal consequences.
What Should You Do If You Experience Police Brutality?
If you have been the victim of police brutality, and especially if you suffered brutality in the process of being arrested for an alleged criminal offense, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. These unwarranted acts of violence by police officers are civil rights violations, and should be treated as such. A lawyer with knowledge of criminal law can help you seek justice for the violations of your civil rights, and protect you against unjust criminal charges.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need legal counsel to help you preserve your rights and work to get the best possible outcome for your matter. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.