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What Should I Do if I Was Injured by a Police Officer’s Excessive Force?

Nov 15, 2021

If an interaction with police officers results in injuries or bodily harm, this may be a case of excessive force. If you have been injured by a law enforcement officer using excessive force, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve when you’ve been a victim of police misconduct by contacting Fieger Law. Our Detroit police misconduct lawyers can help determine whether you have grounds to file a claim.

What Is Excessive Force?

Under normal circumstances, law enforcement officers can use a certain degree of force to contain a situation. Use of force in context of police conduct is graded on a five-point spectrum, from lowest to highest:

  • Physical presence: Using presence as a deterrent, without tools or communication.
  • Verbalization: Using non-threatening verbal statements, commands, and orders.
  • Empty-hand: Using unarmed physical force to strike (punches, kicks) or restrain (holds, pinning down, mechanical restraints).
  • Armed, less-than-lethal: Using less-than-lethal weapons, such as riot control batons, electroshock weapons, tear gas, or rubber bullets.
  • Armed, lethal: Using lethal force weapons, such as firearms.

Excessive force, sometimes also called police brutality, refers to a situation in which a law enforcement officer uses a higher level of force than is necessary. Examples of excessive force include physical aggression on a detained person, using a weapon on an unarmed suspect, or threatening a subject into giving a confession.

Excessive force is a form of unlawful police conduct (as defined under 34 USC 12601) and a violation of the victim’s constitutional rights. Use of excessive force by law enforcement when interacting with the public can potentially be seen as violating this constitutional right.

What Steps Can You Take if You Believe Your Human and Civil Rights Have Been Violated?

Seek Medical Attention

Under the Eighth Amendment, law enforcement officers are legally required to provide medical care to suspects in their custody, including from injuries they have inflicted on those suspects, unless attempting to do so would put the officers in danger.

If a police officer fails to give medical care, even basic first aid, even though they could have reasonably given it, it constitutes a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

If you are in custody, document every request for first aid or medical care, and take note of any instance where it’s denied to you or not administered promptly.

If you are not in custody, visit an emergency room as soon as possible, even if you do not feel pain. A healthcare provider will ensure you get the treatment you need and provide an accurate diagnosis of your injuries.

A recent, accurate medical record showing a complete list of your injuries is a crucial element to help build your case.

Contact a Police Misconduct Lawyer

Once you have assessed your health and the extent of your injuries, you’ll need to contact an experienced police misconduct lawyer to defend and protect your civil rights and help you get the compensation and justice you are entitled to.

Proving excessive force can be challenging. It often involves gathering sufficient evidence, including:

  • The incident’s precise location, date, and time
  • Video recordings of the incident, either from yourself or third parties, such as friends, passers-by, or nearby security cameras
  • Names and contact information of witnesses
  • The names, badge numbers, and agency or department of all officers who harmed you during the incident
  • The names, badge numbers, and agency or department of all officers who witnessed the incident
  • Your medical records, with photographs of your injuries
  • Documented requests for first aid while in custody

If possible, you may request dash-cam or body-camera footage of the officers involved in the incident by making a formal request to the police department. Video evidence can significantly improve your chances of winning your case and influence the type of compensation you receive.

Contact Fieger Law for a Free Consultation Today

Fieger Law is an award-winning law office specializing in all aspects of personal injury law, including police misconduct cases. Our legal team fights for those who can’t defend themselves, and our law firm has secured some of the largest verdicts in the United States.

We have successfully represented clients nationwide for over 50 years. Contact us today for a confidential, free consultation and learn what legal options you have to get the justice you deserve.