In recent years, police brutality has become more prominent in the news. But police brutality is a complex issue that the media oftentimes does not portray accurately. If you think that you are the victim of police brutality, you first need to learn what it is. This can help you determine if and how to get help. You can learn more about police brutality and the city of Norwalk here.
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality happens when a police officer uses excessive force in a situation. If the force was unnecessary, the office could be guilty of police brutality. Keep in mind that violence is allowed in some circumstances when a police officer is trying to do their job. For example, if a person is resisting arrest, the police officer can use force so that they cooperate. However, if the person is not resisting arrest, but the police officer harms them, this could be a form of police brutality.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality, there are a few things that you can do to get justice. First, you could file 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 Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk has seen several police brutality claims in recent years. Here are some details about these situations:
- A Norwalk man, who suffered injuries in an arrest, filed a 10 million dollar lawsuit against the Town of Norwalk and Norwalk police officers for a federal 1983 civil rights violations in 2014. According to the article linked above, the man alleges that four civilian-dressed police officers who never indicated they were police stopped him and asked him questions. When the police officers then tried to pat down the individual, he fled. The police officers then tasered him, and then one of the police officers beat him over the head when he was lying on his back.
- An individual sued several Norwalk police officers and the Town of Norwalk for excessive force during his arrest. Moore v. Town of Norwalk, No. 3:17-cv-695, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91962, at *1, 5 (D. Conn. June 15, 2017). This source also claims that the plaintiff alleged he fled when officers tried to arrest him and then tasered him while he fled and made racist remarks. He tried to cooperate with the police, but they instead continued to taser him, kick, and stomp him. The plaintiff was then forced to go to the hospital because one of the officers thought he had swallowed drugs and wanted his stomach pumped and tested for drugs. The plaintiff did not consent to the procedure and his stomach content came back negative. The Connecticut Federal District Court ruled against the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint and the plaintiff may move forward with not only his claim for excessive force, but also his claim that other officers failed to intervene to prevent the plaintiff from being hurt. The Second Circuit Court, a higher court, has ruled in the past that a police officer is under a duty to intercede and protect fellow officers from using excessive force on citizens and are liable for failure to do so. Figueroa v. Mazza, 825 F.3d 89, 106 (2d Cir. 2016).
- A pro se (without an attorney) inmate brought a 1983 civil rights claim against the Norwalk police department and individual Norwalk police officers for excessive force and false arrest. Pascale v. Lepore, No. 3:09-cv-08, 2010 U.S. Dist LEXIS 83310, at *1 (D. Conn. Aug. 16, 2010). This source mentions that the Connecticut Federal Court ruled against the inmate and dismissed all parts of the complaint because she could not prove false arrest or excessive force.
- In April of 2019 the City of Norwalk paid a $25,000 settlement for a false arrest and malicious prosecution claim initiated by a Norwalk detective. The detective allegedly created a false warrant affidavit because he had a bias against the suspect for being in a biracial homosexual relationship.
If you think that you have been involved in a false arrest, excessive force, or police brutality situation, contact our office. We can review your situation and help you determine how to proceed.