You’ve probably heard it on the news or even experienced it first hand. Many people today can say that they know what it really is to have been the victim of a situation of brutality or excessive use of force by police authorities. But what does the term “police brutality” truly mean? How do we identify if we have been a victim of it?
Although the authorities are there to help and protect us if the situation requires it, the force and the tools the police can use against the citizens must be measured. You cannot act with more force than is necessary to stop a criminal or violent act, as this could cause physical harm, seriously injure the victim or even be fatal.
According to the laws of the United States, specifically in the Fourth Amendment, everyone within the country has a constitutional right that protects them from being a victim of excessive force and police brutality; that is, no authority may make excessive use of their power. In addition, the Constitution of the United States of America also includes in the Eighth Amendment that cruel punishment is strictly prohibited, so no police officer should use their power to punish citizens in this way.
What does the use of excessive force cover?
- Verbal attacks: if a police officer uses language to attack or diminish citizens, it is a form of police brutality.
- Physical attacks: if a police officer uses physical force, using their fists or even kicking.
- Tool attacks: if a police officer uses some police force tools such as police dogs, chemical spray, or a taser when it is not required, or the victim is not acting in a way that could represent a danger to himself, herself, or others, it is another form of police brutality.
We want to remind you that this situation can be difficult and should never be taken lightly, so, at Lipeles Law Group, we will always be willing to help and advise you on how to act in a situation of this nature.