Most law enforcers are committed and ethical professionals. While their work can be difficult, and in some instances, life-threatening, it’s worth keeping in mind that they have substantial control over the lives of those they interact with while in their line of duty, and abusing this power can be egregious.
Sadly, incidents of police brutality over the years have left people – particularly minorities – feeling like they are not safe when the police are around. Events such as those that happened in Minneapolis and other major cities across America following the death of George Floyd have, once again, gone to illustrate the worrying trend of police brutality against the people they swore to serve and protect.
If you have experienced police misconduct our Atlanta police brutality lawyers can help you seek justice and compensation for the emotional, physical, legal, and financial stress caused. Call 866-4-LAW-411 to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our Atlanta personal injury lawyers.
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Police Brutality Statistics in America
Between August 10, 2019, and August 10, 2020, 988 civilians were shot and killed by the police – 586 of these cases being from the start of the year. Sadly, this is a worrying trend that goes to show that the number of fatal police shootings in the U.S. is still on the rise. Another thing to note is that of the 586 cases, 111 were black Americans who account for less than 13% of the population. This means that they are being killed at more than twice the rate – 31 people per million – that of white or native Americans.
Here is what you need to know about police brutality in America:
- About 9.5% of police officers in major cities around the country will have a complaint filed against them within a given year.
- About two fatal police shootings happen in America every day. According to statistics, Black Americans are three times more likely to be victims of these shootings than people from other races.
- One out of four officers reports that they’ve seen a colleague harassing someone based on the color of their skin or race.
- Well over half of all officers agreed that it’s not unusual for officers to ignore or overlook another officer’s improper conduct.
As enforcers of the law, it’s crucial that the police be held accountable for their actions especially if they lead to unwarranted or uncalled for injury, death, or stress. As a victim of police misconduct or as someone who’s been affected by their brutality, it’s worth noting that you can take action against the police and seek justice for your injuries, damages, or loss.
Examples of Police Brutality
In the United States, police brutality is defined as excessive or unwarranted – often illegal – use of force against members of the public by police officers. Police brutality takes many forms and ranges from battery and assault to murder, torture, and mayhem. Other definitions of police misconduct/brutality also encompass verbal abuse, intimidation, harassment (which includes false arrest), and other forms of mistreatment.
Excessive Use of Force
This is when government officials who are legally entitled to use force exceed the acceptable or minimum amount of force to protect others or themselves from harm or to diffuse an incident. It’s worth noting that the use of excessive force does apply to different areas of law enforcement including during military operations or when handling prisoners. However, when it involves police officers, especially when arresting someone, it is also known as brutality.
Unjustified Use of a Taser
While the use of reasonable force is allowed when arresting someone, an arrestee can sue the police if they get injured due to an officer using excessive force when arresting them. In most cases, the use of tasers is considered reasonable if there’s a violent or serious crime at hand. However, if the offense involves resisting arrest without violence or something as trivial as a traffic violation, the use of a taser is generally unacceptable. However, it’s worth noting that even when a crime is considered a minor one, it might be okay for a police officer to use a taser on an uncooperative and hostile suspect.
Lethal Use of a Weapon
A major cause for worry is when police shoot unarmed and innocent people. It’s wrong for an officer to shoot a person who’s not committing a crime and neither should they fire a gun at a person unless that person poses a risk of harming or taking the life of another person. Besides, shooting at a suspect or perpetrator should always be a last resort considering that they are trained to use less lethal measures first.
Shooting is advisable only when the situation calls for it. Sadly, a large number of people fatally shot by the police are unarmed people who pose no danger to anyone. In some cases, the victims are mentally ill persons who would have easily been neutralized through proper communication.
Wrongful Imprisonment or False Arrest
According to the Fourth Amendment in our constitution, all American citizens reserve the right to be free from any unwarranted seizures and false arrests. A police officer isn’t allowed to arrest an individual unless there’s probable cause that they committed a crime.
False arrest is when your ability to leave a place or your freedom of movement is taken away from you. For a law enforcement officer to take you into custody or stop you, they must have reasonable suspicion. Law officers can’t arrest a person and then think up a reason for arresting them at a later time. If a similar thing happened to you, then you reserve the right to sue the officer or their department for falsely arresting you.
Examples of false or wrongful arrest include things like racial profiling and making up false charges. As a victim, you are free to seek recoverable damages from the police department through a false arrest lawsuit. However, it’s worth noting that the amount you can seek as damages through such a suit will be determined by various factors, including the impact of the arrest on your life and the basis used for wrongful arrest.
False imprisonment is when an individual is detained without reason. There have to be legitimate reasons for why you are being temporarily jailed or brought in for questioning. It’s worth noting that you can sue the police for falsely imprisoning you irrespective of how long they incarcerated you.
Improper Seizures and Searches
Another thing the Fourth Amendment prohibits is unlawful seizures and searches. It prevents law enforcers from having unrestricted checks on their authority. As such, a police officer can only search an individual if they have probable cause when searching them. Otherwise, they are required to get a court warrant before searching a person or their property. If you or your property were searched without a warrant, then you reserve the right to sue the law enforcer for an unlawful search.
What To Do After Being Victimized?
Cases involving police brutality present a tirade of challenges to both victims and their attorneys. Many people get hurt during the arrest and then get sent straight to jail, adding a considerable amount of trauma to the whole experience. If you’ve been unlawfully detained, racially profiled, tased without cause, assaulted, searched without a warrant, or beaten by a police officer, it’s essential that you take action as soon as you can to increase your chances of building a rock-solid case against the law enforcement officer or their department.
If you’re free to act after the incident, we recommend that you:
- Seek medical attention right away
- Document everything that took place, especially the injuries suffered. Remember to take as many photos as you can – this is crucial evidence that will be used to build your case.
- Get the names and contacts of any witnesses present at the scene.
- Contact police brutality attorneys as soon as you can.
If you are looking to file a lawsuit against a law enforcement officer or a local police department in Georgia, call (404) 574-2308 now and set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the police brutality attorneys at Greene Legal Group.
Everything we discuss concerning your case is confidential and won’t be shared with any law enforcement agencies or officials.
Why is it Important to Hire a Police Misconduct Attorney?
As a victim of police brutality, you might be worried about your odds of winning the case considering that you are going against the very same people that are meant to serve and protect you. Apart from having your civil rights violated, you are also up against a governmental institution that is known to protect its own. It’s a known fact that most police departments are willing to go to great extents to cover their officers and deny responsibility. In many cases, police officers that were present at the scene will refuse to hold their colleagues accountable for whatever happened.
Hiring the services of a professional, experienced, and reputable police brutality attorney to protect your civil rights is crucial especially in a populous state like Georgia. Law enforcers are invaluable assets to our society – they help keep the citizens of our great state safe and secure. However, there are some who don’t follow the laws that they swore to uphold. In fact, some intentionally break laws and harm the people they are supposed to be protecting. And the outcome of this ever-increasing and concerning trend of police misconduct and violence is the serious and sometimes fatal injury of the very people they are supposed to be protecting – many of whom are innocent.
Police brutality is a nation-wide problem that needs to be quelled. Whether a person is guilty of a crime or not, they still deserve to be treated humanely by the police throughout their interaction with them – before, during, and even after an arrest. If you’ve been injured or have suffered brutality at the hands of a rogue police officer, you stand a chance to seek retribution for injustices suffered, including:
- Lost wages
- Hospital bills
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
When a police officer abuses their power, a police brutality attorney in Atlanta, GA, can help you pursue compensation for any harm and injustices caused. Don’t let fear or embarrassment hinder you from pursuing your rights and securing justice. As an American citizen and a resident of the great state of Georgia, your rights are protected by the Federal Civil Rights Act, section 1983. Apart from that, there are also constitutional rights that protect you as a citizen.
If these rights have been violated, it’s imperative that you consult a professional Georgia police misconduct attorney that has experience when it comes to handling cases involving police brutality. To learn more about your rights and anything you would like to know concerning police misconduct lawsuits, give us a call any time you are ready – our hotline is open 24-hours a day, any day of the week. All our initial consultations at Greene Legal Group are free of charge and completely, 100% confidential.
What’s the Best Time to Hire a Police Brutality Attorney?
Legal disputes involving law enforcers are quite serious and generally involve weighty issues such as civil rights. And while cases against police officers are common, most that go to trial typically don’t succeed. This can be attributed to the rule of governmental/qualified immunity.
Nevertheless, if you feel that you’ve been victimized by a law enforcer and think their actions are beyond governmental immunity protection, then it’s in your best interest to get in touch with a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable criminal attorney as soon as possible. It’s imperative you do so the soonest you can so they can start the legal process, which can sometimes be protracted. Apart from representing you in a court of law, he or she will also help you understand the legal nature of your case while guiding you through the process.
What You Need to Know about Police Immunity Laws in Georgia
Just like other law enforcement agents in America, police officers in Georgia take an oath and vow to protect the public and to uphold the law. However, as we’ve already seen, there are some officers who abuse the power vested on them and commit acts that are outside of the authority bestowed upon them. This is, sometimes, reflected by instances of misconduct and brutality on their part. When a police officer infringes on the civil rights of a civilian and harms them, they (the victim) – and those closest to them – are entitled to file a police misconduct claim and seek monetary compensation for injustices suffered.
In civil lawsuits involving police brutality/misconduct, victims are free to file a suit against the municipality that has employed the officer and that officer only. In Georgia, law enforcers are entitled to something known as qualified immunity. With this immunity, a lawsuit filed against an officer can be thrown out unless the plaintiff proves that their rights were violated. This idea behind this is so that officers can continue to perform their duties without the incessant threat of litigation based on their encounters with the community. While qualified immunity can make litigating more challenging, you still can recover damages if you overcome this hurdle.
Are There Limitations When It Comes to Filing A Police Brutality Claim in Georgia?
Federal laws do not define a specific time period; however, the law does require law courts to follow state laws that define these deadlines. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for claims involving personal injury is 2 years, which starts counting from the day the incident occurred. It is worth noting that this time limit also includes cases involving police brutality, abuse, and misconduct.
However, state law requires that Ante Litem notices be sent to involved municipalities before a governmental institution can be sued. These notices vary depending on who you are suing – is it the state of Georgia, a county, or a city? According to the law, anyone that files a claim seeking financial damages against a city must make sure they notify the city within six months from the day the injury-causing event occurred before they can file their claim.
But according to a ruling reached by a Georgia Supreme Court, this notice law only applies to claims that involve negligence on the part of the defendant, which generally doesn’t apply to most police brutality/misconduct cases. And since notice requirements are different and affect the filing of a lawsuit, it’s essential you first check with a Georgia police misconduct lawyer to see how Georgia laws apply to your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With our Atlanta Police Brutality Lawyers
While the police are there to protect you, there are instances where they end up being the source of so much pain, suffering, and distrust. The problem with seeking retribution after experiencing brutality at the hands of the police is that you are going against a major institution that’s ready to fight for its own at all costs. Furthermore, this is an institution that is backed by the government, which means that you need to be well prepared to prove your case before a court of law.
Considering how complicated it is to sue the police or a police department, it’s best that you get in touch with a professional law firm that will help you navigate through the process to ensure you get compensated for your emotional, physical, and financial suffering. At Greene Legal Group, we are here to help people like you who’ve suffered at the hands of the police get the justice they deserve. To schedule, a free consultation with our Atlanta injury law firm, call 866-4-LAW-411 now. We are here for you!