How to Deal with and Avoid Police Brutality
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality occurs when police officers use excessive and/or unnecessary force against civilians. “Excessive force” does not have a specific definition but it is generally force that goes beyond what is necessary to handle a specific situation. While police brutality is often associated with physical harm, it can also include psychological factors such as intimidation, false arrests, verbal abuse, corruption, sexual abuse, profiling based on ethnicity, political repression, and inappropriate use of weapons.
Police brutality is a direct violation of laws within the police force. The use of excessive force is also a direct violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, regarding cruelty and protection of laws.
How to Avoid Police Brutality
If you are pulled over by the police or stopped on the street, be calm and respectful. Over the past few years, police officers have become the targets of violence and while this fact does not justify excessive force, your cooperation will put them at greater ease. When answering questions, give non-committal answers, do not insult the officer, or simply express your right to remain silent.
Your vehicle cannot be searched automatically if you are pulled over. However, if your words and actions raise suspicion, cops are legally entitled to conduct a search. Do not move your hands freely around your vehicle or put your hands inside your jacket pocket until the officer asks for identification.
How to Proceed If Force is Used Against You
If you have been the victim of excessive force, knowing how to deal with police brutality can be a confusing and emotional process. It is important that you gather as much evidence as possible. First, find out if there were eyewitnesses who can corroborate your account of the events. Write down their names and contact information, as you may need them in the future to testify in court.
Take photos of your injuries at the scene and check if any eyewitnesses recorded the incident on their phone. Next, seek medical attention to assess the extent of your injuries. Ask for a copy of the final medical report, as the information will likely be needed during future legal procedures. File a police misconduct report with the police department as soon as possible.
Hire an attorney, such as one of the police brutality lawyers in the 1-800-THE-LAW2 network. Having a professional to provide legal advice and handle paperwork will take some of the stress out of the situation. Call 1-800-380-8080 immediately to get the justice you deserve.