Civil law cases involve the violation of the rights of individuals, that is, of citizens. One of the most common ways these types of abuses occur is through the excessive use of force.
Excessive use of force occurs when government officials who have the power to use force to protect themselves or third parties abuse this power. This can happen in the context of handling prisoners, suspects, arrests, among others. This type of violation is known as police brutality.
We have to know the different types of force to understand when it becomes excessive force.
- Physical presence: as its name implies, it refers to the sole use of the presence of an officer as a method of control.
- Verbal force: Refers to when oral statements or direct orders are used.
- Empty Hand Control: Physical force is used to grab, hold, or dodge punches and kicks.
- Low lethality method: when using a weapon such as police batons, chemical sprays, police dogs, or tasers.
- Lethal force: use of firearms.
Under the constitution, any of the five types of force must be stopped immediately when the situation is under control or when the suspect is properly contained. At this point, the use of force cannot continue to be implemented against suspects who are not a threat.
Now that we understand the essential workings of the use of force, what can someone do if they have been a victim of it? The first action is to file a civil rights complaint, or depending on the severity of the case, file a complaint with the Department of Justice. Once these steps are completed, they will decide whether to investigate the matter.
During the investigation, all the event factors are taken into account to determine whether there was police brutality or excessive use of force.
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