If you are the victim of police brutality, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer. The majority of police officers are committed, honest and ethical. They choose a profession where they are underpaid and overworked. Just going to work every day can be life-threatening and their days are extraordinarily stressful. However, police officers also exercise a great deal of control over the lives of the people they interact with and an abuse of this power is particularly egregious.
In the past months, there have been numerous cases across the nation concerning police brutality. There was the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In New York City Eric Garner died after police placed him in a chokehold as he told them repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!” Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old Marine veteran, was shot by police inside his own home after he mistakenly set off his LifeAid medical alert pendant. In 2011-2012, during the Occupy Oakland movement, Scott Olsen had survived two tours in Iraq but nearly died when he was hit with a police projectile at a protest. A mentally ill, homeless man was beaten to death in California, a Tampa law enforcement officer who dragged a suspect across a parking lot and the New Mexico police who fired shots at the van that held several minor children inside.
Other cases are closer to home:
• November 5, 2003: Police raided Stratford High School, forcing students as young as 14 to the ground at gunpoint while drug dogs searched their schoolbags. In July 2006, a settlement of $1.6 million was reached in an ACLU-initiated lawsuit charging police and school officials with violating the students’ right to be free from unlawful search and seizure and use of excessive force.
• May 2011: In Eutawville, Bernard Bailey, 54, was shot and killed by police chief Richard Combs during a scuffle over Bailey’s daughter’s traffic ticket. In April 2014, Bailey’s family was awarded $400,000 in a civil suit settlement against the town. In December 2014, Combs was indicted on the charge of murder.
• September 3, 2014: In Columbia, 35-year-old Levar Jones was wounded after being shot once and missed three times by Trooper Sean Groubert. Groubert stopped Jones for a seatbelt violation and asked Jones for his driver’s license. After Jones walked to his car to retrieve his license, Groubert fired four shots at Jones, whose back was turned. At least one of the rounds was fired as Jones raised his hands in the air. Groubert was fired from his job and charged with assault and battery of high nature. In February 2015, Jones was awarded $250,000 from a lawsuit settlement.
While these cases are not the majority, hundreds of police officers write traffics on a daily basis without incident, these types of situations do happen. There are things you can do to decrease the chance that you will need a personal injury attorney because it happened to you. First and foremost, remain calm. Yelling and arguing will get you nowhere. Secondly, do not resist the arrest even if you feel it is unlawful. If it was indeed an unlawful arrest, a criminal defense attorney can assist you in having the charge dropped. Additionally, take advantage of your right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.
If you believe that you were the subject of police brutality, speak with a personal injury lawyer immediately. A personal injury lawyer can help you get a jump on preserving evidence and locating witnesses who are necessary to prove this type of case. Clekis Law Firm personal injury lawyers are here to help and as always, there is not fee in less we collect.