You can ask for economic damages, covering your medical bills and lost wages for the duration of your recovery.
Police brutality comes in many forms in South Dakota. Excessive use of force is one of them, but, if you ask the locals, racial profiling is something they come across every day. Last year, a police officer in Rapid City was forced to resign after an outrageous incident of racial profiling. The young patrol officer had reported “a young Native American male (was) driving a really new Mercedes car”. Apparently, you’re not allowed to drive a nice car if you’re Native American or black. The officer tailed the car until he saw a middle-aged Asian male was actually driving it, and called it off.
Unfortunately, most incidents of this kind do not end with the resignation of the agent responsible. If you want justice done, you’ll have to fight for that, and you’ll need a tough South Dakota police brutality lawyer for that. You need an experienced attorney because it’s not easy to convince a judge to rule in your favor. For instance, between 2016 and 2018 there were 327 civil complaints of police misconduct in South Dakota, and only 10% were ruled in favor of the civilians.
It can happen, though. On September 30, 2021, the South Dakota Supreme Court found a police officer guilty of using excessive force against a 16-year-old female who was not resisting and was not threatening the agent in any way.
If you were a victim of a similar incident, you should contact a skilled police brutality officer in Sioux Falls, Rapid City or whatever city you live in to help you file a civil complaint.
Many officers are doing a great job, but there are also those who believe that the only way to earn some respect is to use force. Law enforcement agents are indeed authorized to use force but only when this is absolutely necessary. When confronting an armed suspect, police officers may have a solid reason to fear for their lives and use whatever means to protect themselves. An unarmed 16-yo girl clearly doesn’t pose any threat, so kicking and throwing her to the floor is an act of police misconduct.
When you get yourself a good attorney specializing in police misconduct, like this girl did, they will make sure that your story is heard and you get the damages you deserve. Many such acts of police brutality lead to serious injuries, including broken limbs or head trauma. As a civilian you cannot file criminal charges. That can only happen if the state prosecution decides to pursue criminal charges against the officers involved. That rarely happens in South Dakota, but at least you can recover the damages you deserve.
A seasoned lawyer will look at legal precedents and help you put a value on those damages. You can ask for economic damages, covering your medical bills and lost wages for the duration of your recovery. Also, you are entitled to non-economic damages for the pain and suffering the agents caused you. Being kicked around and thrown to the floor in a dark room, like in the case of the teenager, that’s bound to cause a serious mental trauma. If you were treated in a similar way you can ask for non-economic damages, even if the police intervention did not cause you a physical injury.