According to the law, police officers are allowed to use reasonable force in the course of their duty.
The use of excessive force by police officers is a big problem in South Carolina, and the victims are more often than not people of color. According to statistics, although blacks represent only 27% or the population, they account for almost half of the people shot by law enforcement agents in South Carolina.
The use of deadly weapons is the most serious type of excessive force. If you or a loved one were shot by a police officer in unclear circumstances you should get in touch with an experienced South Carolina police brutality lawyer right away.
According to the law, police officers are allowed to use reasonable force in the course of their duty. The question is how do you define reasonable force. If faced with an armed suspect, agents may justly feel their lives are in danger and use deadly weapons to protect themselves or other members of the public. However, they cannot use their weapons if a suspect is not dangerous. They are not allowed to beat up an unarmed suspect who is not resisting arrest. In many cases, though, it all comes down to your word against their word. This is when you should seek legal counsel from a good Charleston police brutality lawyer. Even if there is an internal police investigation into the matter you cannot expect much from it. You’ll need your attorneys to conduct their own investigation.
How can police brutality lawyers help you?
A skilled police misconduct attorney will look into police reports and interview the agents involved to see what they have to say. Your attorney will also want to know if those who used violence against you have been charged with similar acts in the past. You need to get a lawyer as soon as possible as there’s the risk that important evidence into your case might mysteriously disappear. If there’s body cam footage of the incident, your attorneys will want to have a look at it. If that is not possible, they will scout the area for surveillance camera recordings. Also, they will talk to eyewitnesses and they need to do that right away, before their memories of the incident fade.
Based on their findings, your lawyers will recommend filing a civil complaint against one or more of the officers involved, or against the police department they work for. In certain cases, your attorneys might recommend filing a complaint at the federal level, especially if they feel state authorities will be biased against you.
As for false arrests and illegal searches, that’s when you’ll need tough criminal defense lawyers. The Fourth Amendment prohibits illegal searches and seizures. If you are arrested without a proper warrant or without due cause as defined by the law, that constitutes an illegal seizure. Also, if you were stopped in traffic for no reason, that is also illegal. Cops all over the country routinely stop people of color in traffic, on suspicion the vehicle might be stolen or that they might be engaged in illegal activities. This is a clear example of racial profiling and represents an act of misconduct. You can file a complaint against the officers involved if their illegal action caused you a mental trauma or affected your good name and reputation.