Excessive force is a form of police conduct where a police officer engages in physical violence in order to detain a suspect. It is a violation of the California penal code and also the United States Constitution, including Fourth Amendment violations. An arrest where excessive force is used could render an arrest unreasonable, which could put the entire charge and arrest into question. The use of excessive force is a crime.
It leaves the possibility open of dismissal of all charges. For the victims, that may not mean much as it could result in fatalities as we saw in the case of George Floyd.
At H Law Group, we are L.A. Crime defense attorneys that help California residents fight for their rights when they have been wrongly accused, or are victims of excessive force. When this happens to you or someone you care about, there are legal remedies you can take to report the crime and resolve it.
Excessive force is the use of physical violence or restraint during the arrest of a citizen. There are some occasions when the police are permitted to use force, and it was previously called reasonable force. That meant that when it was considered reasonable, a decision determined by the police officer involved, force could be used. Today, force can only be used when necessary.
Elements that the law uses to provide for force are when the suspect is a threat to the officers in question, the seriousness of the crime that is the subject of the arrest, and the nature of resistance if the suspect was trying to elude or resist arrest.
There are different kinds of excessive force as well, not all of which are specified by the law. The law does specify chokeholds as being strictly forbidden as they deprive a victim of their life without due process.
If the use of excessive force becomes a complaint, every decision that the officer made at the time of arrest will come under scrutiny.
There are legal remedies for those that have been victims of police misconduct. Some can be handled through a criminal court, and others through a civil claim.
You can file a complaint with the police department in question. Tell the department what happened, and you may see some consequences there. Consequences could include verbal or written warnings, suspension, termination, and even criminal charges. In some cases, the officer might be transferred to another department, or be given leave without pay.
Your criminal defense attorney can also ask the court to exclude anything connected to your charges that is related to the misconduct. This could result in your case being withdrawn altogether.
The civil options that you have are a civil rights lawsuit through Section 1983, or a Bivens claim.
Many times, when these remedies are explored, criminal charges are levied against the police officer.
When a police officer is accused of excessive force, they know that this is a potential consequence. It is assault, no matter who performs the action.
Still, they are a rare occurrence. Part of that has to do with a lack of reporting. Another part of that is that the percentage of police officers that engage in this behavior is typically low. There are bad apples in every organization. If you have experienced this problem, report the problem.
It is estimated that 80 California police officers face charges like this every year. That is a drop in the bucket of 121,000 full-time police officers in the state. It still happens.
If it happens to you or has happened to someone you care about, let us know. This is as illegal as excessive force is from any other person in the community.
If you have been a victim of police misconduct, you know that you have rights. You just might not have talked to someone who can explain them thoroughly to you yet. Call us. At H Law, we have experience handling excessive force cases, and we know how to win them. Book a consultation with our criminal defense team and we’ll walk you through what’s next.