Some people view the police as those meant to serve and protect the community. However, others are privy to police brutality, and are therefore skeptical of the police. While not all police officers are bad or abuse their power, some do. If you find yourself in a position where you have experienced violence at the hands of the police, read on to learn if it was police brutality and how to get help.
What is Police Brutality?
You may have seen videos of police violence, but is that police brutality? And can you be compensated for your injuries if a police officer is violent with you?
Police brutality occurs when a police officer uses excessive force in a given situation. If the force used was unnecessary, the officer could be guilty of police brutality. However, if the police officer can prove that the violence was necessary, for example if you were resisting arrest or they were fearful for their life, the violence might not be considered “excessive” and therefore, not police brutality.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality and excessive force, you can stand up for yourself. First, you might 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 Waterbury, Connecticut
Unfortunately, there have been several claims of police brutality and false arrest in Waterbury in the past few years. Learn more about these situations here:
- A pro se (without an attorney) individual sued Waterbury police officers and the City of Waterbury for false arrest, excessive force, and sexual assault. Wright v. City of Waterbury, No. 3:07-cv-306, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29666, at *1 (D. Conn. Mar. 23, 2011). According to this source, the man alleged he was arrested in his home when police were called for a noise complaint. He alleges he was searched inappropriately by a female officer. Then, while he was being handcuffed, another police officer slammed his head into a concrete wall, causing laceration of his right eye. The Connecticut Federal District Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims of false arrest and sexual assault but allowed him to move forward with one of his claims against an officer for excessive force.
- For an incident on January 13, 2014, a Waterbury officer was suspended and disciplined for using unnecessary force during an arrest. The article linked above says that it is alleged that the officer unnecessary kicked the suspect and three other officers were disciplined for not filling out the necessary paperwork.
- A Waterbury man filed a 1983 civil rights complaint against the City of Waterbury and members of the Waterbury police department for excessive force and failure to intervene. Police officers threw rocks at him and kicked/punched him when he was unconscious, causing facial fractures and blindness. Gonzalez v. Waterbury Police Dep’t., No. 3:12-cv-478, 2016 U.S. Dist. at *1, 3 (D. Conn. Aug. 9, 2016). According to this source, the Connecticut Federal court found in favor of the plaintiff and ruled a reasonable jury could have found two of the officers were responsible for punching and kicking the plaintiff and two other officers were responsible for not intervening.
If you think that you are the victim of police brutality, contact our office. We can help you determine the best way to proceed given your situation.