Police officers are not allowed to use excessive force during an arrest as it violates the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. If you’ve become the victim of excessive force you likely have a viable lawsuit against the officer who arrested you as well as the city government.
So, What is Excessive Force?
Officers are allowed – and required to – use any force necessary when making an arrest or defending themselves. It becomes excessive when an officer’s actions are deemed unnecessary. The following question is often asked to a jury during a case of this matter.
“What would a reasonable person with the officer’s knowledge have deemed necessary under the given circumstances?”
An example: When arresting a resisting suspect, an officer is allowed to use more force than if the suspect had been compliant. The officer may also use deadly force if threatened with bodily harm or death.
What About Burden of Proof?
If a civil suit over the use of excessive force is filed against an officer, he or she will most likely be required to present a burden of proof, a legal excuse for the conduct in question. Because of the nature of these types of cases, most states automatically act as if the officer used the necessary level of force in the situation. Because of this, often the plaintiff will have to provide clear and convincing evidence of the use of excessive force.
Though all states are in agreement that just because the plaintiff may be guilty of the crime he or she was arrested for, that’s not a valid defense for the officer, an innocent plaintiff is more likely to be able to show the brute force was unnecessary.
Do Police Officers Have Immunity?
Many jurisdictions have what is called “qualified immunity,” which relieves police officers of liabilities for any injuries they might be responsible for during the court of their duties; however, many courts have stated this doesn’t apply to claims of excessive force.
Contact Our Philadelphia Excessive Force Lawyers Today
Cases involving police misconduct or inappropriate brute force are complicated and complex. You need an attorney with years of experience and success in this specialized field. Let us fight alongside you. Call the Law Offices of Patrick Geckle today at 800-555-7780 or email attorney Patrick Geckle for a free consultation.