Police brutality is an ongoing social problem in the United States. The driving issue in so many of these cases is whether officers were justified in their decisions to shoot their victims. Law enforcement has the right to use deadly force when they feel that they or others are in “imminent danger,” which generally means that the target is armed and dangerous. In the case of Keith Lamont Scott, a North Carolina man fatally shot by police in 2016, whether Scott was armed or not is not definitively known. Although law enforcement says that a gun with his DNA was recovered at the scene, others point to the lack of dashboard and body camera footage showing Scott with a gun to argue that he was not armed.
The Scott case is just one of many police shootings publicized in the past few years. According to Philip Stinson, associate professor at Bowling Green University, about a dozen police officers were tried for manslaughter or murder in 2015. That year, approximately 1,000 fatal police shootings were recorded.
Changing Policies to Prevent Fatal Shootings
Legal experts like Stinson and Judge Glenda Hatchett point to the need to re-evaluate the conditions that make these shootings such a common occurrence. By identifying the issues at play, law enforcement agencies across the country can take steps to reduce police violence.
One of these is to place a greater focus on the role mental health plays in crises. Of the 462 people fatally shot by police between January and July of 2015, one quarter suffered from some type of mental or emotional issue. To address this, the San Francisco Police Department recently began working with mental health specialists to address individuals’ emotional and mental needs during crises. Ideally, this will help police de-escalate crisis situations and reduce the use of violence.
Another way to cut down on police violence is to hold officers accountable for their colleagues’ actions. In New Orleans, the city’s officers are now being trained to report any unethical behavior they observe in other officers. This includes all aspects of the job, even those that do not involve civilians, like driving.
Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyer Patrick G. Geckle Represents Victims of Police Brutality in Philadelphia
If you are suffering from an injury as the result of unwarranted violence at the hands of a police officer, you have the right to seek the assistance of a Philadelphia police brutality lawyer to obtain justice and compensation for your damages. To learn more, complete our online form or call 215-735-3326 or toll free at 800-555-7780 to schedule your free legal consultation with Patrick G. Geckle, LLC in our Philadelphia office.
We represent clients from Philadelphia as well as other areas of Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Carbon County, Berks County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Lackawanna County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Montgomery County, and Monroe County.