Police brutality is making news all of the time these days. But, understanding what police brutality is and what to do if you are the victim of it is a more complicated process than simply watching a few videos or reading an article. If you are interested in learning more about police brutality in Stamford, Connecticut, read on.
What is Police Brutality?
First, you need to understand what police brutality is. Police officers are allowed to use force in certain situations. This means that not all violent acts by the police constitute police brutality.
Police brutality occurs when a police officer uses excessive force in a given situation. If the force was unnecessary, the officer could be guilty of police brutality.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality or excessive force, you have a few options. First, you could consider filing a complaint with the United States Department of Justice. Second, you 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 Stamford, Connecticut
Stamford has seen a few police brutality cases in the past few years. Learn more about these situations here:
- A couple sued the City of Stamford and many individual Stamford police officers for excessive force used when being arrested for a domestic dispute outside a club. Nelson v. City of Stamford, No. 3:09-cv-1690, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8907, at *1, (D. Conn. Jan. 25, 2012). According to this source, the couple alleged that the police tasered the husband with no just cause and kneed the wife in the back, pushed her down onto the ground and making her head bleed. The Connecticut Federal District Court ruled in favor of the couple. The court decided that there were material factual disputes as to whether excessive force was used on the couple by arresting officers and that the case should go before a jury.
- In April 2014, a Norwalk woman was awarded a $230,000 settlement by the City of Stamford for suffering excessive force by a Stamford police officer. The article linked above mentions that the woman claimed in 2009 she was punched in the face by the officer outside of a nightclub. The woman alleged she was in a car trying to get to her job at the nightclub when the officer who was assigned to stop people from parking in the lower lot of the garage ordered her out of the car. The officer then punched her in the face with a closed fist. The officer claimed he arrested her for attacking him and for resisting arrest, but the prosecution dropped the charges against the woman shortly after.
- Finally, a man sued an off-duty Stamford police officer for excessive force and intentional infliction of emotional distress when the officer pulled him over for driving recklessly. Marceline v. Town of Darien, 974 F. Supp. 2d 123, 128 (D. Conn. 2013). According to this source, the man alleges he was driving with his daughter on the highway when they realized they were being followed by a black car which was honking its horn and flashing its lights. After calling 911, the father and daughter stopped in front of a firehouse and exited the vehicle. A woman, who was later identified as an off-duty Stamford police officer, exited the black car and pointed a gun at the daughter’s head and instructed her to drop the cell phone. The Connecticut Federal District Court ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the case because the plaintiffs could not prove intentional infliction of emotional distress.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality or excessive force, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. Call our office to learn more about protecting your rights.