Unfortunately, police brutality is a growing concern among U.S. citizens today. More and more incidents of police brutality are recorded throughout America, thanks in part, to advances in technology. Even though the awareness seems to have risen recently, it still may seem that there isn’t anything that can be done to police after they have exhibited excessive force. However, there are legal avenues available that allow victims to seek justice. Aside from formal complaints and investigation, under certain circumstances, a victim may be entitled to sue the officer in a civil setting.
Seeking Damages in a Case of Excessive Force
In the event that you are eligible to sue an abusive officer, it may prove challenging due to the subjective approach used in determining excessive force. Police are granted permission to use reasonable force, but the line separating reasonable and excessive can vary depending on who is interpreting both definitions.
In some instances, when individuals are convicted, they are under the misconception that they revoke their rights to sue, even with evidence proving excessive force. However, this misconception is far from true; even if the individual has resisted arrest, their Fourth Amendment rights regard excessive force as unreasonable search and seizure.
The legal definition of excessive force can be summarized: force beyond what is reasonably necessary. However, defining what this really means in the context of an arrest can be difficult. Broken bones, abrasions, or cuts aren’t enough evidence alone to prove excessive force – particularly, if the individual was resisting arrest. The burden of proof rests on the victim providing evidence of their cooperation. Otherwise, the officer may have been justified with the use of force.
Evidence to Prove Excessive Force
In the past, witnesses were required to prove excessive force; however, with modern technology, cell phones and body cams, it is easier to provide the court with evidence of the abuse. This evidence is vital in proving that the officer was acting with force beyond what was reasonable; it allows the judge with the details needed to determine whether or not the force was warranted.
If you were arrested after committing a crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer may help develop a defense that benefits your case. If you believe the officer arresting you utilized excessive force, inform your attorney. They may be able to provide you with a list of your options.