Most New Jersey citizens trust their local and state police to protect them. While the vast majority of officers strive to serve their communities from dangerous criminals, some police may cross a line during interrogations. When this happens, victims of police brutality need to be aware of their rights.
Excessive force remains one of the most common types of police brutality. The law requires police to only use the amount of force that is necessary to do their job. In excessive force cases, police officers may fail to stop once a suspect no longer poses a threat.
Excessive force may include:
• Unnecessary taser use
• Use of guns on an unarmed suspect
• Beatings with batons
Additional examples of police brutality
While excessive force may make up a large number of brutality cases, police officers may violate a victim’s rights in other ways. These actions also constitute police brutality:
• Verbal threats or insults
• Degrading or inappropriate strip searches
• False arrest
• Illegal detention
Civil vs. criminal charges
In many instances, prosecutors decline to file criminal charges in police brutality cases. However, civil lawsuits may be filed. In civil police brutality lawsuits, victims may demand compensation for all of the following:
• Medical bills
• Lost wages
• Emotional trauma
• Pain and suffering
Proving your brutality case
One of the most difficult aspects of a brutality case involves proving that the brutality happened. Judges and juries tend to believe police officers, and the evidence you supply must help them overcome that tendency.
Evidence in a police brutality case may include:
• Civilian eyewitnesses
• Police recordings
• Previous history of abuse reports
• Other officers’ testimony
Criminals still have rights
Some people may demonstrate a reluctance to pursue a police brutality claim because they committed a serious crime. The law guarantees that even the most serious offenders deserve protection against police brutality. Your criminal record should never void your right to pursue a police brutality claim.