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Philadelphia Police Brutality Lawyer

Philadelphia Police Brutality LawyerPhiladelphia Police Brutality Lawyer

Police Excessive Force Attorney in Philadelphia, PA, Helps Victims of Police Brutality and Their Families Hold Officers Accountable

When those you trusted to protect and serve your community instead use excessive force, severely injuring or killing people in the process, you have legal recourse.

Attorneys like van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim aren’t intimidated by a badge. We know how devastating the use of excessive force can be and how important it is to hold police officers to high standards.

We’re here to fight for your legal rights and expose police misconduct. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Is Police Brutality?

Policing is a potentially dangerous job, which is why officers carry firearms. At times, it may be appropriate or even necessary for police officers to use lethal force on the job. However, officers can’t just go around killing people, including potential suspects.

The police should only use extreme force as a last resort in instances in which:

  1. Someone (the officer themselves, others on the scene, or the public) is in imminent danger, and
  2. It isn’t possible to safely resolve the situation using less extreme force.

When police respond to an incident or potential incident with the use of unwarranted, excessive force, it’s what is recognized as police brutality.

Police Brutality as a Form of Professional Misconduct

The unnecessary use of excessive force is a form of police misconduct that goes against department policies and, in many cases, is illegal.

Not all police misconduct involves the use of excessive force, but all instances of excessive force may be considered police misconduct. Police brutality may accompany other forms of police misconduct, such as racial profiling, illegal search and seizure, or arrest without probable cause.

Unwarranted Force

The critical element of police brutality is the use of unnecessary or inappropriate force.

Too often, we hear of excessive force being used against suspects who are:

  • Already subdued
  • Known to be unarmed
  • Already cooperating
  • Not exhibiting violence or aggression
  • Begging for mercy

Using excessive force against a suspect who does not pose an imminent threat to anyone’s safety is unwarranted and could constitute police brutality.

Causes of Police Excessive Force

Police brutality is a serious problem in Philadelphia, across America, and worldwide.

The Law Enforcement Epidemiology Project from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health found that, from 2001 through 2021, 75,000 American civilians suffered non-fatal injuries and between 600 and 1,000 lost their lives annually due to police use of force.

In Philadelphia and elsewhere in America, there is often a component of racism or racial discrimination in instances of police brutality. Other instances of police violence around the world have included the killings of poor suspects who were already subdued and nonviolent protesters, as Amnesty International reported.

When such instances of excessive force are routinely swept under the rug rather than investigated and their perpetrators held responsible, police officers may grow to expect to face no consequences for their actions. This can give rise to even more episodes of police brutality.

Police Brutality in Philadelphia, PA

Police violence is such a longstanding problem in Philadelphia that the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper published a series of articles and editorials on the subject back in 1977, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

In Philadelphia alone, police killed 39 people between 2013 and 2020, of which two-thirds were Black, Drexel University’s Urban Health Collaborative reported.

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Injuries Arising Out of Police Brutality

The consequences of police violence are considerable. Incidents involving excessive force can quickly spiral out of control. Individuals can become seriously hurt or lose their lives to police violence, which is why Amnesty International considers police brutality a human rights issue.

The most high-profile instances of police brutality often include gunshot wounds and strangulation (chokehold) injuries.

According to the Law Enforcement Epidemiology Project, some of the most common types of injuries that civilians suffer in interactions with law enforcement include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Dislocation of joint bones
  • Internal damage, such as internal bleeding or injuries to the internal organs
  • Open wounds
  • Bruises and contusions
  • Strains and sprains

Injuries caused by police excessive force may be life-threatening or, for survivors, life-altering. That’s exactly why you shouldn’t just allow the violent police officer to get away with what they’ve done. You may feel helpless, but with an experienced Philadelphia police brutality lawyer, you can take a stand and recover financial compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.

Damages in Police Brutality Claims

Becoming the victim of police violence affects you in so many ways. For many of these losses, including the following, a victim of police brutality may seek compensation:

  • Medical costs to diagnose and treat your injuries and mental health consequences
  • Future medical costs necessitated by your injuries, including long-term care and ongoing monitoring
  • Loss of income due to the injuries themselves, your journey toward recovery, and false imprisonment
  • Decline in earning potential due to disability from your injuries or a criminal record that resulted from unlawful imprisonment
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, that result from the trauma of police violence
  • Decreases in your quality of life due to ongoing disabilities that prevent you from doing things you enjoy or physical disfigurements associated with your injuries

The damages in a Philadelphia police brutality claim can amount to a significant settlement or jury award. For example, the settlement the City of Philadelphia reached in March 2023 over the high-profile episodes of excessive force that occurred during the 2020 George Floyd protests amounted to $9.25 million, according to CNN.

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Police Wrongful Death Claims

What about the hundreds of civilians in the U.S. who lose their lives to police violence each year? Their assailants, too, should be held responsible, and their families deserve financial compensation as well as justice.

A Philadelphia police brutality lawyer at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can help grieving families explore their legal options, get answers, and pursue financial compensation for the hardships resulting from this loss.

Contact a Philadelphia Police Brutality Lawyer Today at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim for a Free, Confidential Case Review

With an experienced Philadelphia police brutality attorney on your side, you can hold violent officers accountable for the damage they cause using excessive force on civilians. We’re here to guide you through the legal process and pursue the compensation your family deserves.

For help from a police excessive force attorney in Philadelphia, PA, contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim online or call 215-486-0123 today.

Police Brutality Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Notable Case Results

Always Pursing the Best Possible Outcome

Assault Injury

$1 Million

Tractor-Trailer Accident

$10 Million

Bicycle Accident

$4.8 Million

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  • Supporting the CommunityOur team engages in many community events and regularly donates time and resources to many charitable organizations in Philadelphia.

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Home to Philadelphia’s most accomplished attorneys, van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim pairs diverse practice experience with a passion-driven, comprehensive law practice—all for the client’s benefit.

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