A New Jersey police officer was filmed punching an unarmed 20-year-old woman from Philadelphia in the head and neck as he held her to the ground in an attempt to arrest her for failing to comply with his questioning, as shown by Vice News. The woman was suspected of underage drinking on a New Jersey beach, although a breathalyzer test allegedly reported that she had not. When police continued questioning her, she refused and attempted to walk away and make a phone call. That is when three officers attempted to make the arrest, which led to tackling her to the ground and beating her in the face with fists. This type of police brutality or use of excessive force must be checked by an experienced lawyer.
Did Police Have Probable Cause?
In cases such as the one described above, where the defendant was unarmed and police may not have had a reason to arrest her in the first place, questions of probable cause must be asked in addition to the question of excessive force being employed. Law enforcement needs to have an arrest warrant or have probable cause to make an arrest. A hunch does not count as probable cause; police must have evidence to support their claim that the defendant was in the process of committing a crime, had just committed a crime, or was about to.
The Importance of Jury Selection and Having an Experienced Attorney
With politics drawing an even deeper line in the sand when it comes to social views on justice, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors, now is not the time to hand over your police brutality personal injury case to the first attorney that comes along. Just recently, a mostly white jury awarded the family of a black man, who was killed in his own home by police, a grand total of just four dollars for pain and suffering damages, as reported by CNN. The message that this particular jury sent was twofold. One, that the police officer who shot through a garage door at a man in his own home (police had been called due to “noise complaint”) had not done wrong. And two, that black lives do not matter, according to the plaintiff’s attorney. This disgraceful jury award underscores the importance of jury selection, gathering evidence, and taking the case to the next level when necessary by appealing unfavorable decisions. Only the most experienced law firms have what it takes to pursue police brutality and wrongful death claims against police departments.
A Personal Injury Attorney Will Hold Law Enforcement Accountable
There are many forms of police misconduct, including excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). When there is a pattern of this behavior within a police department, the DOJ may conduct an investigation. However, you do not have the time to wait for such an investigation. We believe that you need justice now in the form of monetary compensation. Call the Philadelphia personal injury law firm of van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today for immediate help.