Police have the authority to use force where necessary in order to diffuse
a situation and keep themselves and other people safe. However, there
are times when police officers overstep their bounds and use more force
than is warranted to subdue a suspect or handle a prisoner. When this
happens, it is referred to as “excessive force” or “police brutality.”
The reasonable search and seizure requirement of the Fourth Amendment and
the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment
are Constitutional protections granted to every person. This covers not
only the use of deadly force but also any unreasonable use of force that
results in injury. But where is the line drawn between an appropriate
use of force and excessive force?
There is no concrete definition of “excessive force” since
each case is different. Indeed, “excessive” has different
meanings in different jurisdictions. The level of force appropriate for
a given situation is essentially a judgment call made by individual officers
who are often in the “heat of the chase” when they are making
these decisions. In most cases, officers are expected to use the minimum
amount of force required to achieve a safe and effective outcome, but
this doesn’t always happen.
Examples of excessive force by police may include:
- Punching or kicking a suspect while he or she is down
- Shooting an unarmed suspect
- Using a choke hold to make an arrest
Lethal force is only justified if a suspect poses a lethal threat to officers
or other people.
Consult a Civil Rights Attorney in New York & New Jersey
If you have been injured by police and believe that you are a victim of
excessive force, you should consult with a New York civil rights attorney
at The Russel Friedman Law Group, LLP about your legal rights and options.
Our experienced lawyers are prepared to investigate your case to determine
if the actions of law enforcement exceeded the bounds of reason. We are
here to protect your best interests and help you achieve a favorable resolution
to your case.
Call our firm today to request a free consultation: (855) 465-4622. We serve clients in New York and New Jersey.