A woman is pursuing an action against local law enforcement because the woman claims that law enforcement used excessive force during her 2013 arrest for DWI. The woman is asking for compensation for two elbow injuries that she believes were incurred due to a law enforcement jerking her arms during the arrest. The woman is also seeking damages for mental anguish that was caused when a law enforcement officer allegedly choked her. The woman has stated that her motive behind the lawsuit is to prevent anyone else from having to endure this treatment from law enforcement. This article notes that police are commonly in positions in which the use of force is required to adequately detain a suspected criminal. In some situations, law enforcement is entitled to use a variety of tactics to apprehend individuals like grabbing a suspect or using batons. In some situations, however, law enforcement officers use unnecessary levels of violence in order to detain individuals.
Were You Detained Or Under Arrest?
To fully understand the level of force used by law enforcement, one must understand the exact status in which one is placed. A person who is only being interrogated is not placed in jail or in prison. In initiating a claim against law enforcement for excessive use of force, an individual must demonstrate that his or her constitutional rights were violated. Excessive police force is a particularly important issue because even the slightest injury that might be incurred at the hands of the police bears the potential for significant damages.
How to Determine Whether Force is Reasonable
The amount of force that can be used in a situation depends greatly upon the circumstance of the arrest. Some decisive factors include the severity of a crime, whether an individual presents a direct threat, and whether the suspect is resisting arrest. Determining whether the force used is more than is reasonably necessary can be particularly difficult. Even cuts and bruises can result from necessary force. No physical injury is required to prove that an individual has been beaten for no excusable reason. Even the slightest injury has the potential to constitute excessive force if an individual was injured in violation of the law. Therefore, no exact physical injury is required if an individual has been beaten that is out of accordance of the law.
The Variety of Excessive Law Enforcement Claims
There are many situations that might constitute excessive force claims against law enforcement, and may include the following:
- Accidents that result in the death or incapacitation of a suspect.
- Chemical agents including mace or Cap-Stun were used to subdue suspects.
- Fatal shootings.
- Incidents involving choke holds or other maneuvers that make individuals unconscious.
- Injuries that result that in hospitalization.
- Severe beatings that include either batons or firsts of law enforcement.
- Taser use on subdued or compliant suspects.
- Tying or dog tying individuals.
- Use of canines.
Contact an Experienced Denton Criminal Defense Attorney
Our firm has significant experience with cases involving police brutality, excessive force, and various other types of civil rights violations. Do not hesitate to contact our firm at Wheeler Law Office if you have a questions or concerns about initiating a claim against law enforcement.
(image courtesy of Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States)