Most police officers are dedicated to their community and the safety in it. Officers swear an oath to protect and serve those they are responsible for policing; however, with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, some officers perform misconduct and violate the constitutional rights of those they are tasked to serve, sometimes by the use of excessive force. Police can violate citizens’ rights both by negligence and intentionally or maliciously.
The most highly publicized and impactful forms of police misconduct is excessive force. Excessive force often results in citizens suffering grave injury or even death at the hands of an officer using excessive force or greater force than what is required in a given circumstance. Contact Cannon & Associates for a free case evaluation and to learn about your rights in your Oklahoma excessive force case.
What Is Excessive Force?
What does the term excessive force mean? Excessive force refers to an altercation with a government official, in which the official – typically a police officer or law enforcement officer, uses too much force for the situation. Police should only use physical force when necessary and the physical force should be limited to the amount sufficient to defuse the situation.
Police work is inherently dangerous and there are many situations that require officers to use force; however, the force used by an officer should only be sufficient to:
- Protect citizens’ safety
- Protect the officer’s safety
Police are tasked to resolve conflicts with the minimum amount of force necessary to protect the community and themselves. Police officers have the greater number of excessive force complaints, as they have more interactions with citizens than any other group of government officials in a law enforcement capacity. However, excessive force can also occur with prison and pre-trial detainees and other contexts.
Your Constitutional Rights and Excessive Force
The constitutional principal that you should be safe from the use of excessive force is based in two Constitutional Amendments:
- The Fourth Amendment: protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Under our constitutional law and decisions by appellate courts, excessive force is a form of unreasonable seizure.
- The Eighth Amendment: you are protected by cruel and unusual punishment. Appellate courts across the United States have held that excessive use of force by police is a violation of your Eighth Amendment rights.
When Is a Police Officer’s Seizure Unreasonable?
Excessive force claims are largely based on United States Supreme Court decisions that establish the doctrine of excessive force and unreasonable seizures under the constitutional amendments listed above.
In Tennessee v. Garner, the Supreme Court held the police officer used excessive force by shooting a teenager in the back of the head after he had committed a home burglary. The state law at the time allowed police to use force by “all means necessary” in order to affect an arrest. The Supreme Court held the state statute unconstitutional and held the officer used excessive force. The Supreme Court held that it is excessive force and police cannot use deadly force, unless:
- Deadly force is necessary to prevent escape, and
- The officer has probable cause evidence the suspect poses a threat of death or
serious injury to others.
This decision addresses the most serious form of excessive force, i.e. deadly force. However, excessive force applies to situations where officers use less than lethal force. Excessive force claims can exist even with minor injuries, if the force used was unreasonable.
Your Oklahoma Excessive Force Attorneys
Our Fierce Advocates are dedicated to the victims of excessive force and their families. Victims of excessive force or their surviving family may recover monetary damages, including economic and non-economic damages for police misconduct, excessive force. You or a loved one may be entitled to damages, if you suffered injuries at the hands of police. In your excessive force case, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost income, and non-economic damages, i.e. pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Our Fierce Advocates will treat your excessive force case with dedication and fight for you.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Excessive Force Plaintiff Attorneys
Experience matters when you or a loved one were the victim of excessive force by law enforcement. It is important to know the Oklahoma excessive force lawyer you hire is dedicated
to your cause and versed in all aspects of qualified immunity and excessive force law in
Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy and will fight for you and your rights in court. Cannon & Associates is here to support and guide you through all of your options and will be there for you from beginning to end. Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and fight for your case in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.