The Camden criminal justice system moves rapidly once you’re arrested, with important decisions being made in the blink of an eye. Before you know, you could find yourself in jail for several months simply because you didn’t understand what was happening. At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, we know how overwhelming it can be to be…
Representing Victims of Police Brutality in the Greater Philadelphia Region
Police brutality is a general term that refers to misuse of power by members of the police force that ultimately harms members of the general public. This misuse of power often includes excessive force applied by a police officer and directed towards an individual. This individual is often someone whom the police officer is in the process of arresting while, at other times, it may be someone whom the police officer is chasing on foot and preparing to arrest.
Police brutality often includes the improper use of nerve gas, pepper spray, police batons, or firearms. Although police brutality often involves excessive physical force by a police officer, it does not necessarily need to include a physical attack or physical abuse. Falsely arresting someone or pulling a gun on someone to intimidate them may constitute police brutality under some circumstances.
Someone who believes they were the victim of police brutality has the right to take legal action
against the police officer or even the entire police department to seek damages. Those damages can include compensation for medical bills and lost income, as well as for emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical pain and suffering.
The alleged victim has the burden of proof in a police brutality case, and police departments regularly aggressively defend against claims of misconduct. Police may claim the officer was threatened with deadly force and acting in self-defense, or that the officer was actually using a reasonable amount of force under the circumstances. These cases can be complicated and highly contentious, and victims of police brutality need the right legal representation to protect their rights.
If you suffered unnecessary harm at the hands of cops, you should look no further than Philadelphia police brutality lawyer Lauren Wimmer. At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, we will investigate what happened and build a strong case on your behalf.
Excessive force is usually a component of a Philadelphia police brutality claim. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures, which includes excessive force by police officers. Police officers do have the right to use varying degrees of reasonable force in certain situations, the degree of which is dependent on the circumstances facing them at a particular time. In fact, police officers may even be expected to use force in order to maintain order and safety in the community. It is important the officers never overstep these bounds, however, which can cause harm and violate the rights of citizens.
The types of force that a police officer may be able to use under a particular set of circumstances include the following:
- Verbally restraining a suspect – During the course of a criminal investigation or while in the process of making an arrest, a police officer may tell an individual where to sit or stand. The officer may also lawfully tell the suspect to stand still and tell the suspect that he or she is under arrest at that time.
- Physically restraining a suspect – When a police officer is lawfully detaining a criminal suspect or in the process of arresting the suspect, the officer may use his or her hands in an attempt to physically control the suspect. The officer can use a reasonable amount of force to lean the suspect up against a squad car, handcuff the suspect, place the suspect inside the squad car, and pull the suspect’s arm behind his or her back.
- Using non-lethal force against a suspect – If the circumstances warrant, a police officer may be justified in using non-lethal force against a suspect. This is especially true if the suspect is forcibly resisting an arrest or making physical threats against the officer. Under these circumstances, appropriate non-lethal force may include using a taser, pepper spray, or some other weapon that is not likely to cause death, against the criminal suspect.
- Using legal force against a suspect – Likewise, if the situation warrants, a police officer may lawfully use lethal force against a suspect if the suspect is trying to seriously harm or kill the police officer. In those limited instances, the officer may be justified in using deadly force against the individual, such as by shooting the individual in order to stop the attack.
While every single Philadelphia police officer should fully understand and adhere to the above standards, this is simply not what happens in reality. Police officers misuse their power and engage in excessive force and police brutality against citizens every day. Often, this results in serious injury to citizens or a completely unnecessary loss of life.
How Philadelphia Police Brutality Cases Proceed
In a police brutality case, a private citizen who suffered harm and a violation of their rights takes action against the police officer and/or the police department. The process begins when the citizen files his or her initial complaint with the police department. Once a police brutality complaint has been filed, the police department should thoroughly investigate it, though this doesn’t always happen.
If the citizen is dissatisfied with results of the initial investigation, he or she may be able to sue the police officer or police department in civil court. In a civil case, the brutality victim may seek damages for his or her injuries, pain, and suffering. The case requires victims to demonstrate the force used and that it was excessive under the circumstances. If the police officer engaged in unlawful activity, the prosecutor may also file a criminal complaint.
Talk to a Philadelphia Police Brutality Lawyer Today
No one should be subjected to misconduct by the police, especially police brutality. Victims deserve to be fully compensated for the harm caused by these police departments they are supposed to be able to trust, though the legal process of such civil rights claims is not always an easy one. If you were the victim of police brutality, you can place your trust in Philadelphia police brutality lawyer Lauren Wimmer of Wimmer Criminal Defense Law.
To schedule a free case evaluation and discuss your rights with an experienced Philadelphia police brutality lawyer, you should not hesitate to call today at 215-712-1212 or contact us online.
Our Philadelphia attorneys can help victims of police brutality
Call Wimmer Criminal Defense at (215) 712-1212 to discuss your rights today.