Recently, one of the worst cases of police misconduct occurred in July of this year when Eric Garner, a Staten Island father of six, who stood 6’3” tall and weighed over 350 pounds, was killed by NYC police officers using a chokehold maneuver that was banned a decade ago due to its dangerous propensities. Because possession of hand-held camera phones and other recording devices is common among the masses, evidence showing misconduct by law enforcement has generated personal injury lawsuits from victims of police brutality. An experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyer can explain the rights to which a victim is entitled and assist with securing damages for any injuries suffered.
Police Brutality Defined
Police brutality is any act by law enforcement that crosses over from reasonable force to excessive force and relates to acts that occur before, during or even after arrest. Most police misconduct goes unreported by citizen-victims due to fear of retaliation or lack of belief by those to whom the complaint is made. According to research conducted by the CATO Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, the most common cases of police brutality include misconduct, excessive force, abuse of power, sexual assault, racial profiling, and misuse of weaponry (including tasers and stun guns).
Causes and Accountability
Often in a personal injury suit against law enforcement accused of police brutality, the city – rather than the officer in question – is responsible for negotiating, settling and defending the officer, in addition to conducting an internal investigation regarding the matter. Under federal civil rights law, a citizen may file a suit against a police jurisdiction, department or officer. Many police investigations conducted by a department’s Internal Affairs division are frequently unproductive and rarely lead to disciplinary action for the officer in question. Indeed, in the recent past, NYC police have declined to act on recommendations by the Civilian Complaint Review Board to prosecute police officers.
What a Victim of Police Brutality Should Do
More often than not, the victims of police misconduct are incarcerated soon after the event has occurred, resulting in lack of prosecution and, maybe, lost evidence. If possible, a victim of police brutality should do the following, as quickly as possible:
• Obtain the full names of any witnesses at the scene of the event;
• Seek medical attention from a healthcare provider;
• Document all injuries in writing and with photographs; and
• Find legal representation and seek advice.
Contact a Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured in New York due to police brutality, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today to help with the process. The attorneys of Alatsas & Taub, P.C. have years of experience in personal injury law matters and will fight aggressively to defend your rights. Call (718) 891-1200 or fill out an to schedule your initial consultation.