Philadelphia Excessive Force Lawyers: Remedies for Police Violence

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The incidents of violent and lethal confrontations between white police officers and private citizens, all African Americans, over the past few years has been well documented: the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York City, after a police officer put him in a choke-hold during an arrest on July 14, 2014; the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014; the death of Freddie Gray Jr. in Baltimore from spinal cord injuries on April 19, 2015 following his arrest and transport in a police van; and the death of Sandra Bland in a Waller County, Texas jail cell on July 13, 2015 following her arrest on charges related to a minor traffic violation. All the deaths appeared to involve the use of excessive force by police officers.

A recent study of police training by the Police Executive Research Forum provides some insight into why these incidents are occurring. The Forum, which includes police chiefs from around the country, examined the amount of training given to police recruits on different topics, including use of firearms, defensive tactics, legal issues, basic first-aid, use of force policy, de-escalation techniques and crisis intervention techniques.  

Findings from the Forum and other Studies

Some of the Forum’s findings were striking. The study found that the typical recruit received 58 hours of training in the use of firearms, but only eight hours of training on use of force policy, eight hours of training in de-escalation techniques and eight of hours of training in crisis intervention. In a report on its study, entitled “Re-Engineering Training on Police Use of Force,” the Forum concluded that current police training places too much emphasis on use of force, and it recommended that the training place more emphasis on the use of de-escalation and crisis intervention techniques.

A separate study on use of lethal force by police in all 50 states by Amnesty International USA provides some additional insight into the scope of the issue. The human rights organization takes the position that police have a fundamental obligation to protect human life, and that police must resort to the use of deadly force only as a last resort, after all other techniques for resolving a confrontation have been used. The study found that all 50 states failed to comply with this standard on police use of force. It also found a widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers and an alarming use of lethal force nationwide.

Philadelphia Looks Less Bleak

In Philadelphia, the police have formally adopted a policy on the use of lethal force, which emphasizes the sanctity of human life and states bluntly that deadly force can only be used in the most extreme circumstances, when all lesser means of force have failed or could not be reasonably employed.

The policy appears to be working in Philadelphia, as the number of shootings by police has dropped dramatically over the past few years, from 58 in 2012 to 28 in 2014, according to figures released by the Philadelphia Police Department.  

All police shootings in Philadelphia are scrutinized by the Police Department’s own Review Board for possible disciplinary action against the police officer and by the District Attorney for possible criminal action against the police officer. In addition, individuals who have been shot or subjected to excessive force by police officers may file civil actions for damages against the police department.

Philadelphia Excessive Force Lawyer,Patrick G. Geckle, Represents Victims of Police Brutality and Civil Rights Infringement

Philadelphia excessive force lawyer, Patrick G. Geckle LLC, has been protecting the civil rights of clients for more than 30 years. Our legal team aggressively fights for justice, reparations and the rights of our clients in cases that include police misconduct, police brutality, infringement of civil rights, and wrongful convictions. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County and Chester County. For a free consultation, call us toll free at 800-555-7780 or locally at 215-735-3326, or contact us online to discuss your case.