Police Brutality and Excessive Use of Force Resulting in Injury
Police officers are allowed to use force in certain circumstances. In fact, force may even be necessary in some situations. That being said, citizens of the United States are legally protected from the use of excessive force and police brutality.
Force is excessive, and may be characterized as police brutality, when it is more than is necessary to mitigate an incident, protect the officer or others from harm, or make an arrest.
When police brutality and the use of excessive force leads to an injury or death, the affected individual (or the deceased individual’s family) may bring a lawsuit against the officer/police department seeking financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses.
Damages Available in a Police Brutality Suit
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages related to the injury;
- Pain and suffering;
- Attorneys’ fees;
- Disfigurement; and
- Any other expenses directly related to the incident.
If the incident results in death, family members may seek the damages listed above, as well as compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
Police Departments Ordered to Pay to Settle Police Brutality Cases
Because police officers are employees of city-run police departments, when a police officer engages in police brutality, the police department is liable for the individual’s actions in the majority of cases. Sadly, there have been numerous cases of police brutality throughout the nation, and thankfully, many cities have been ordered to pay large settlements to compensate victims for the wrongful harm they have suffered. In Portland alone, Oregon Live reports that these include:
- $562,000 to settle the case of a man who was repeated punched and tasered by Portland police officers;
- $206,372 to a man who was tasered five times in the back, and who was wrongly accused of a crime;
- $2.3 million in a use-of-force settlement to a man who was permanently disabled after an officer of the Portland police department fired rounds at him from a beanbag shotgun;
- $1.6 million in a use-of-force settlement resulting in the death of a man who had been taken into custody for urinating on a sidewalk; and
- $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought forth by the family of a man who who shot in the back, and was unarmed.
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