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What should you do if you are a witness to police brutality?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Police Brutality

The vast majority of New Jersey police officers are straight and narrow, but there are some bad ones out there. Many people suffer at their hands for minor things. If you witness police brutality, there are steps you can take.

Record the incident

You have certain rights, including the right to record any incident of police brutality you witness. This can easily be done using your smartphone. However, you should rethink posting the video on social media. Find out if the victim has an attorney and share it with them instead as it could serve as valuable evidence in their case.

Another option is to share your video of the incident with an advocacy group. If the victim does not yet have a lawyer, the group could decide what should be done.

Be cautious

While witnessing police brutality, be cautious. You have the right to be there watching the events unfold and to speak, but don’t interfere. It could lead to obstruction and even you becoming a victim as well.

Guard your phone if you record the situation. A police officer perpetrating brutality is definitely angry enough to try to grab your phone or even knock it out of your hands to break it. If the officer tells you to step back, comply and be respectful. You should also stay a safe enough distance away.

Try to get identification

You probably won’t be able to ask the officer for their name and badge number, but you might be able to zoom in with your phone to get that information. This is crucial info to obtain if someone needs to file a complaint. If you get a photo or video of it, you could share that with the victim or advocacy group.

Witnessing police brutality is traumatizing. Even if you’re not the victim, you might consider counseling to cope with what you saw.