The death of a Maryland man with Down syndrome at the hand of local police has once again thrust police brutality into the news. The 26-year-old man died of asphyxia after police forcefully removed him from a movie theater. The man’s parents have filed a lawsuit related to his death after the state medical examiner’s office concluded that the death was a homicide. Unfortunately, these cases seem to be far too common, and it leaves many people wondering just how liable police are after these types of deaths.
There is a startling lack of statistics when it comes to killings committed by police every year, and sadly, this is even more the case when one is researching wrongful deaths. In one Texas county alone, however, it was found that one in every three police shootings involved an unarmed person. This statistic alone is enough to alarm people, but sadly, there are many more numbers that people should be worried about.
Killings by police officers can be looked at as an extreme form of police brutality. While many people likely understand that brutality does occur at times, most probably don’t realize that these instances have increased since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It’s as if the War on Terror has opened the door to a certain level of impunity amongst law enforcement. Maybe the most appropriate segue at this point is the fact that Americans are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist.
Where Does Liability Lie?
Liability in instances of killings committed by police is a tricky subject. In many instances, the state is held liable right alongside the officer who actually committed the killing. This can make it difficult for an independent investigation by law enforcement to take place. The simple fact, however, is that if police use excessive force and it ends in the death of an individual, that officer needs to be held accountable.
The aforementioned case involving the Maryland man may be a prime example of police going too far. Officers are trained in hand-to-hand engagement techniques, and as anyone who has searched for “police brutality” in YouTube can confirm, officers don’t often care who they use these tactics on. There have also recently been occurrences of officers “tasering” people to death. When it comes to liability, it all rests on whether or not the police were out of line in their actions.
Wrongful Death Cases
Unfortunately, even in cases where it seems obvious that officers overstepped their boundaries, families of victims of excessive police force are often left without any closure. These deaths are sometimes swept under the rug or simply labeled as “justifiable killings.” Unfortunately, this often leaves little room for justice.
The smartest thing that a family can do in these cases is find a wrongful death attorney to help them. If your family is involved in such a tragedy, log onto http://www.perecman.com/new-york-wrongful-death-attorney/ for more information about how you should proceed.
Wrongful death attorneys have access to investigative means that the typical person can only dream about. Even if police close an investigation far too early, legal professionals are capable of finding the evidence that can show whether or not police were justified. In cases where police overstepped their boundaries, these attorneys can assist in getting compensation to cover funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost potential income and even loss of companionship.
There’s no doubt that the majority of police officers in America have the best interests of the public in mind. It would also be difficult for anyone to argue that there aren’t specific instances where deadly force by police officers is justified. Unfortunately, seemingly unlawful killings are quickly becoming the norm amongst American law enforcement agencies, and that is completely unacceptable. This makes it imperative for anyone who’s lost a loved one from a police killing to contact a wrongful death attorney immediately.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell grieves with those families who suffered the loss of a loved one at the hands of an irresponsible law enforcement officer and hopes this article provides both comfort and direction.