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Can Cops be Sued for Police Brutality? Yes.

— July 8, 2022

The level of force an officer engages in must always be reasonable for the situation.

Police brutality has been in the news a lot over the last couple of years, and there have been countless protests and organized events in streets across the country to push back against it. But what is police brutality, exactly?

By definition, police brutality occurs when an officer uses more force than necessary for a given situation. When an officer fails to respond in a reasonable manner to a situation in front of them, their actions may be viewed as police brutality. For example, say an officer pulls someone over for speeding and, instead of issuing a warning or ticket, that officer decides to tackle the driver to the ground or tase them even though the driver does not pose a threat. That is police brutality. The lines often get blurred and difficult to distinguish if someone does in fact pose a threat and the police respond with force. What is considered too much force? Fortunately, there are attorneys who specialize in analyzing alleged police brutality cases to determine whether an officer’s actions were justified, or someone was the victim of actual police brutality.

Police brutality is a type of police misconduct. Police misconduct is used to describe any type of inappropriate behavior or actions taken by officers while on duty. It may include police brutality, false arrest, police corruption, witness tampering, racial profiling, unwarranted searches, unwarranted surveillance, falsification of evidence, false imprisonment, and more. Oftentimes, police misconduct involves obstruction of justice and discrimination. If someone ever finds themselves on the receiving end of police misconduct, including police brutality, they must first show a pattern of behavior to sue the officers involved. Unfortunately, one act of harassment or discrimination is often not enough for a case.

What Does the Law Say About Police Brutality?

In Kentucky, there are laws against police brutality. This means officers can indeed be charged with crimes if they engage in police brutality. In Kentucky, this means officers are not permitted to use more force than necessary when engaging with the public, even when they’re engaging with people who may be a threat. The level of force an officer engages in must always be reasonable for the situation. If it is not, the people of the receiving end of the alleged brutality may be able to sue for damages. After all, we have civil rights designed to protect us from police brutality, including the Fourth Amendment, the First Amendment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Fourth Amendment

Parking Lot Strip Search Lawsuit Ends in Settlement
Police officer; mage courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.”

This protects citizens from police brutality and illegal search and seizure.

The First Amendment

The protects our freedom of speech and guards against retaliation, something that is especially important in whistleblower cases.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

This was designed to safeguard against various types of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, and sex. It also provides protection against police brutality, wrongful convictions, unlawful arrests, and unlawful search and seizures, depending on the situation.

If you or someone you know is ever the victim of police brutality, it is important to contact a skilled attorney in Louisville, Kentucky. Many attorneys specialize in police brutality cases and can help you get fair compensation.

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