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A Look at Police Brutality and Excessive Force

This content about police brutality and excessive force was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

Police brutality and excessive force in California are not a foreign reality. Unfortunately, California has rather high rates of police shootings and law enforcement violence. Officers in any area of law enforcement are not expected to exceed their rights to neutralize a citizen when they pose a potential threat, but this is often what happens when they abuse their status.

If you, a family member or a close acquaintance have been subjected to police brutality and excessive force, it’s crucial to review the case and bring it to light to make this kind of abuse more visible and help future victims to make their rights heard.

Police Brutality and Excessive Force: What Do They Involve?

Deliberate and malicious use of force during law enforcement duties is a violation of the citizen’s rights. Police brutality and excessive force happen as verbal or physical threats, infliction of psychological damage, property damage, sexual assault or even death. Such actions are considered unlawful assault by a public officer under color of authority and can bring an officer to face charges. 

Your Options as a Victim of Police Brutality and Excessive Force 

You can file a lawsuit against an officer for police brutality. It can be either a civil lawsuit or a federal one, the charges brought against the offending officer can be criminal or non-criminal. According to the circumstances, damages can be awarded to the plaintiff. Criminal charges include (but are not limited to) assault and battery, sexual assault or homicide, and non-criminal charges include, among others, false arrest and falsifying evidence. 

How to Legally Proceed

The procedure is slightly different if you are under custody or not under custody. 

In the first case, complying with the Prison Litigation Reform Act is crucial so that the court doesn’t dismiss your case. This requirement consists of exhausting all other administrative procedures that can be pertinent before filing in court. Respecting the statute of limitations (deadline) is another requirement. Federal lawsuits have a statute of limitations of two years, and state law claims have six months.

People who aren’t under custody should carefully review the particular regulations on police misconduct in their state. This includes exact information that only expert attorneys can provide, such as what burden of proof is applied to evidence, whether the jurisdiction is immune to lawsuits from private citizens, and the typical statute of limitations for their petition. 

How an Attorney Can Help You

Any victim of police brutality should seek to have their rights respected and set an example for other victims of this abuse of power. Find a specialized attorney who has handled police brutality and excessive use of force in California. They know the ins and outs of the system and how to turn defense in your favor. 

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about police brutality and excessive force was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.