Police brutality is a topic that is getting a lot of attention in the media lately. But watching a few videos on Facebook is not enough to understand what police brutality is, and what you can do about it. You can learn more here.
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality occurs when a police officer uses excessive force in a given situation. If the force was unnecessary, the office could be guilty of police brutality.
If this is the case, a victim can do a few different things. First, they could file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice. Second, they could file a civil rights complaint. If you are worried about police brutality in your area, learn more about recent complaints here.
Police Brutality in Hamden, Connecticut
- A Hamden police officer was charged with first-degree assault on October 21, 2019. The article linked above claims that he is the first police officer to be charged with first-degree assault in Connecticut in 14 years. The incident took place on April 16, 2019 when the officer fired 13 shots at a car he had stopped on Dixwell Avenue in New Haven. The passenger of that vehicle was severely injured. The passengers in the vehicle matched the description for armed robbery that had taken place nearby but were not the perpetrators. The prosecution’s explanation for the charges were the police officer showed “extreme indifference to human life.”
- In 2014, the town of Hamden settled three separate cases of police brutality for a combined total of $70,500. The article linked in the previous sentence says that one of those settlements was for $60,000. The individual who was awarded the settlement alleged he was racially profiled when he was arrested and that police punched him while he was handcuffed and did not allow him to wear his sneakers.
- In October of 2019, a pro se (representing himself) inmate, brought a 1983 civil action against the Hamden police department and specific officers. The claim was for use of excessive force by Hamden police when they arrested him in September of 2015. Santiago v. Hamden Conn. Police Dep’t, No. 3:19cv1659, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208301, at *1, 3 (D. Conn. Dec. 3, 2019). The individual alleged he posed no threat to the officers as he fled but was shot at and tasered while in the river. The source says the complaint was dismissed by a federal judge because the individual did not file his claim until over four years after the incident took place. As a result, he could not pursue it due to the time limitations.
- In 2013, over a five-year period, 12 cases of police brutality were filed against Hamden police officers. In one of those cases a man claimed police tasered him while he was already on his knees with his hands behind his head. Then the police punched and kicked him. In another of those lawsuits, a man claims he was hit with a taser seven times and bleeding from the forehead when police were arresting him for possession of marijuana. The prosecution dropped his possession and interfering with an officer charges.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality, one of our lawyers can help. Contact our office and we can discuss what you are going through.