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There is no doubt that police officers and law enforcement agencies face incredibly difficult and dangerous situations every day. Maintaining public safety and protecting others from violence is no easy task. It takes a particular strength of character and mindset to be an effective officer of the law. Officers and agents must balance keeping the public safe while protecting their safety, and in some cases, this means using force. While most members of law enforcement perform their duties without incident, unfortunately, police brutality and false arrests occur.

What Constitutes Police Brutality?

Officers of the law are authorized to use force, but it must be warranted and necessary to perform the arrest or detainment. If an officer perceives a threat to themselves or those around them, they act accordingly, whether through verbal and physical restraint, less-lethal force, or lethal force. Every officer is trained to assess a situation and determine the appropriate action to take.

No Two Situations or Cases Are The Same

The line between acceptable use of force and brutality can seem quite thin. More often than not, the stories that populate the news and online feeds focus on law enforcement perceiving a threat from unarmed individuals and applying more force than is necessary. What is often missing from these stories is how a situation escalates, officer’s training, and what could have prevented the use of excessive force.

This is not to say police brutality is acceptable. Instead, it is important to remember that no two scenarios are alike, and law enforcement must often quickly adapt to the given situation and tailor their response. It is when this response goes beyond what the situation calls for — i.e., use of lethal force when physical or verbal restraints would suffice.

Know Your Rights

Resisting arrest, threatening the officer or another is cause for law enforcement to use force. However, if you have received bodily harm and your civil rights have not been upheld, you may have a case for police brutality. Any claims should be reported immediately, as the arresting officers are violating the law. Likewise, if you have sustained injuries from resisting arrest, but did not receive appropriate medical treatment, you may also have a case.

What Constitutes A False or Unlawful Arrest?

To be arrested, an officer must have an arrest warrant and probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime. Without this, the arrest is unlawful and considered a civil rights violation. Other scenarios which constitute a false arrest include being arrested without mention of your Miranda Rights, arrest with a warrant bearing false information, arrests for personal gain, arrest based on race or profiling, arrest based on pure malice, and arrest of the wrong person.

When Should I File a Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one have suffered at the hand of law enforcement, it is essential to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible. While it cannot undo the damages done to you, it can ensure your interests are protected. Here at Chiariello & Chiariello, we are here to help uphold your rights by seeking fair and just compensation. We can help you seek restitution for lost wages, to your reputation, physical harm, excessive force, and other damages resulting from your false arrest or incarceration.

Serving Clients Across Long Island & New York City

Our firm has served clients across the region for two generations. We are staunch advocates for our clients’ rights and needs. To discuss the details of your case or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today at 516-801-8100.