As the face and backbone of law enforcement, police in Philadelphia are given immense powers to carry out their duties and responsibilities. Police powers include the authority to arrest and search your person and your property after arrest. Where circumstances warrant, police even have the authority to use deadly force against you. Following the orders…
Philadelphia Excessive Force Attorney
Helping Victims of Excessive Force by Philadelphia Police Officers
Police officers are permitted to use a reasonable amount of force when they are exercising their police duties. However, most people know that police officers don’t always abide by the rules and, unfortunately, many people know this from experience. It seems like every day, we read new headlines about cops causing unnecessary injuries or death to people without justification. The police should be there to protect us, and they should absolutely know their limits when it comes to using physical force against citizens.
Whether the police use excessive force intentionally or they misjudge a situation, the results can be devastating for victims and their families. The law recognizes your right to be free from excessive force and provides you with important legal rights should this terrifying situation occur. You need the right legal assistance as soon as possible to hold the police accountable for their wrongful actions, as well as defend against any criminal charges you may face stemming from the arrest.
Philadelphia civil rights attorney Lauren Wimmer of Wimmer Criminal Defense Law knows how to identify when the police engaged in misconduct and violated your rights. We’re here to help people in your situation, so call today to discuss what happened.
What is Excessive Force by Police Officers?
Excessive force, which is a type of police brutality, is one form of police misconduct. Unlawful force used by police officers can result in physical injuries to the victim, along with emotional injuries, psychological injuries, and death, in some serious instances.
Generally speaking, in the course of their duties, police officers are allowed to use an amount of force that is proportionate to the amount of force that is being used against them. For example, if an individual is threatening the police officer with a gun, the police officer may be in a position to use deadly force against the suspect. If, however, the officer was not being threatened with deadly force, then they would not have the authority to use such deadly force.
In many instances, officers will try to justify the amount of force used in any way possible. This can include claiming a suspect had a deadly weapon when they, in fact, did not. It is important to stand up for the truth and have a lawyer who can challenge the officer’s falsified version of events.
Types of Excessive Force
We should trust the police to be there when we need help – not to threaten us or cause additional harm. However, cops cross the line on a regular basis in a variety of ways. Types of excessive force that commonly occur include the following:
- Unreasonable use of a gun or other weapon that leads to serious and unnecessary injuries or death
- Strip searches that are unnecessary and that violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
- Instances of sexual assault by a police officer
- Unwarranted use of a taser to subdue a suspect
- Unwarranted beatings that cause the alleged victim to suffer broken bones or other serious injuries
In addition to showing that the police officer was at fault, victims of excessive force must prove that they sustained physical injuries and damages as a result. A victim may take legal action against the accused police officer and/or the police department seeking damages for medical bills, emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment of life. Attorney Lauren Wimmer can advise you whether you suffered excessive force and whether you have a valid legal claim.
Challenging an Officer’s Defense against an Excessive Force Claim
An experienced lawyer is essential in an excessive force case because the police will surely mount an aggressive defense against your claims. Some common defenses the police may use include the following:
- Reasonable force – Specifically, that the police officer was using a proportionate amount of force against you and/or that they were acting out of self-defense
- Lack of damages – Specifically, that you did not sustain any physical injuries or damages during the alleged altercation
- Qualified immunity – If you were involved in an unlawful activity that was not protected by law, then the police officer may be able to raise a qualified immunity defense
The Benefits of Retaining a Philadelphia Excessive Force Attorney
If you believe an officer used excessive force, it is essential to seek help from the right attorney. A skilled civil rights lawyer will know how to gather evidence to support your claims and challenge defenses raised by the police, including in the following ways:
- Consulting with eyewitnesses – In excessive force and police brutality cases, eyewitness testimony can be extremely valuable. An individual who observed what happened during the altercation can testify in court about what they observed, including whether or not the officer acted without justification.
- Hiring an expert – Experts are often necessary witnesses in excessive police force cases. An expert is especially necessary when there were no eyewitnesses at the scene. The expert can look at all available evidence, fill in gaps, and piece together what likely unfolded during the altercation and whether the officer acted unlawfully and outside of police standards.
Philadelphia excessive force attorney Lauren Wimmer can take the necessary steps to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Discuss What Happened with a Philadelphia Excessive Force Attorney
When an officer lies about what happened to try to get away with excessive force, you may not know what to do or where to turn. To make matters worse, you may be facing criminal charges based on the officer’s allegations. At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, you can be sure that criminal defense lawyer Lauren Wimmer will examine the details and gather evidence to prove what really happened.
Our firm defends clients against criminal charges, as well as holds police officers accountable for harmful civil rights violations such as the use of excessive force. To schedule your free consultation and case evaluation with a skilled Philadelphia excessive force attorney, please call today at 215-712-1212, or contact us online.