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Facts about Excessive Force by Law Enforcement in California

This content about Police Brutality 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.

Excessive force by law enforcement is an officer’s undue use of power and liberties during the execution of their tasks. While this constitutes a violation of a citizen’s basic rights, it is fairly common and often diminished in the view of the public. 

Here are some facts about excessive use of force by law enforcement to inform you in case you or a close person has experienced this situation and is thinking about taking legal action. 

Actions that Can Be Considered Excessive Force by Law Enforcement 

Any abusive action taken during arrest, probation, conviction of a suspect can be deemed excessive use of force. The most common actions of this nature are physical injury/death, psychological/verbal mistreatment, and property damage. 

Being left without medical attention after excessive force is another example. Excessive use of force can make an officer liable in a civil claim and can even derive in criminal charges.

Suing for Excessive Force 

Officers that incur in excessive use of force usually commit a tort (civil wrong) and can be accused in a civil court. The county that employed them is also susceptible to being accused. 

Most cases of police brutality rest upon the Civil Rights Act of 1871, where it’s alleged that an officer violated a civilian’s constitutional rights “under color of law.” This, in turn, violates the Fourth Amendment in the constitution, which refers to unreasonable seizures. 

There is a two-year statute of limitations or deadlines for federal lawsuits and a six-month deadline for state law claims. 

A plaintiff should meet the “preponderance of the evidence” burden of proof in court to make an excessive force case, and the defendant (an accused officer) should use the same burden of proof to establish that their conduct was reasonable and justifiable, and the guilt of the plaintiff is not a justification for the officer’s excessive use of force. 

The plaintiff can seek money damages or an injunction to discourage further police excessive force in the future. 

The New Law Against Excessive Force by Law Enforcement in California 

The state of California has long been linked to a high number of police shootings and cases of excessive force. Recently, legislation was changed to allow use of excessive force only when considered “necessary” and not when considered “reasonable,” as it was previously stated.

Additionally, courts should look into the actions of the officer and the victim before any deadly force incident, in order to ascertain responsibilities and avoid impunity. This can hopefully make a difference in the number of cases of excessive force by law enforcement in California. 

Seek Legal Advice for Excessive Use of Force 

It’s important to take action against police brutality and other manifestations of excessive use of force to ensure that its incidence decreases as it becomes more publicly known and punished. You or a person close to you might have a case if they have been roughed up by the police. Find the guidance of an experienced attorney and have your rights prevail.

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 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.