Despite the fact that police brutality is generally not a common event, departments can be sued for the actions of their officers when an incident does occur.
Kansas City, MO – Every state and city around the United States has occasional incidents with various forms of police misconduct. Missouri has its own issues with policing. While police brutality tends to not be a normal occurrence, there are certain issues that make it hard for the public to understand the frequency and volume of incidents of police brutality or misconduct. When police violence does happen, victims have the right to bring a lawsuit against the officer and their employer.
The blue wall of silence
There is a concept in the law enforcement profession called the blue wall of silence. The general definition for this term is that officers tend to help each other cover up misconduct and violence, and they may also go to extreme measures to ensure that the public is unaware of illegal actions happening in local departments. This tendency among certain officers, departments, and other people within the profession makes it difficult for there to be legitimate data regarding police misconduct. Even when internal affairs investigates officers accused of misconduct, it is rare that they will recommend termination or any other serious consequences for the officer, as punishments tend to be trivial even for officers with consistent problems.
Another problem that tends to distort actual data regarding police brutality is how the media publicizes high profile incidents of police misconduct. Coverage tends to be more emotional than factual, and this tends to make the public think that police misconduct is more widespread and intentional than it actually is. Most interactions between the police and the public are fairly routine, and they do not result in any unnecessary violence or other problems. Police beatings and killings are statistical outliers.
Lawsuits against police departments and the possibility of criminal charges
Despite the fact that police brutality is generally not a common event, departments can be sued for the actions of their officers when an incident does occur. Some officers may even be charged criminally by a local prosecutor if they severely hurt or kill a victim. The victim can file a lawsuit that asks for compensation for things like medical treatment, career and income issues, and their pain and suffering. A large hurdle for attorneys who deal with police brutality in Kansas City and other cities around the country is that it tends to be difficult to get a favorable jury verdict or settlement when the police are named as a defendant. Even when an officer is charged criminally for egregious behavior, convictions tend to be rare.
Meeting with an attorney to get specific advice
USAttorneys.com is a site that helps people find local police brutality lawyers. The directory contains listings of attorneys all over the country organized by state and practice area.