The United States of America has seen several instances of unwarranted and illegal use of force against civilians by police officers.
The types of police brutality range from assault to abuse to torture and murder. Any form of mistreatment including harassment, intimidation, and verbal abuse also comes under types of Police brutality.
What is Police Brutality? How many types of Police brutality are there?
Any type of misconduct by a law enforcement officer is termed as police brutality. It can be referred to as human rights violations by police as it involves unlawful use of force resulting in people being deprived of their right to life.
Unnecessary use of force can lead to torture or ill-treatment. Excessive force and coercion by the law enforcement officers can violate the right to be free from discrimination, the right to liberty and security, and the right to equal protection under the law.
There are many different types of police brutality. Below mentioned are some of the actions which can be termed as police brutality.
- Excessive use of force
Excessive use of force is the most common type of police brutality in the country. Several times police officers are required to use physical force for arresting or detaining armed suspects and criminals having a history of violence.
As per law officers are allowed to use necessary and reasonable force, however, once the suspect or criminal is under control and force is no longer required then the officer is expected to relax his use of force.
However, there are instances when police do not follow the law, they use force more than required while arresting or detaining a person. This excessive use of force can be termed as a type of police brutality.
Beating with batons, unlawful takedowns, chokeholds, unwarranted use of firearms and tasers all fall under the category of excessive use of force. These types of police brutality may end up causing serious injury or death, particularly when the police use firearms or lethal force.
- Unlawful Search and Seizure
As per the Fourth Amendment, police need to have “probable cause” to search and arrest an individual or his property. A valid search warrant needs to be acquired by the law enforcement agency from a judge or court. The search warrant should permit the police to search for a particular location or property for specific items.
However, there are some instances when the police may not need a warrant or permission to search for a person’s belongings. For example, the police can search a suspect’s house without a warrant if the suspect has been arrested lawfully for a crime or if the police have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed by the suspect.
Police officers many times search and seize a person’s property or asset even when there is no probable cause and even if they don’t have a warrant. This search is unlawful and can be termed as a type of police brutality.
- Racial Discrimination
Any unlawful treatment by a police officer that is racially motivated is a form of police brutality. The constitution and law consider all U.S. citizens as equal regardless of their race. Law enforcement agencies are supposed to treat everyone equally irrespective of their race or color.
A study by Stanford researchers has shown that police officer are known to search African-American and Hispanic motorists as compared to Whites and Asians. This is a form of racial discrimination, judging and suspecting a person by their race.
This kind of racial discrimination where other violations like excessive use of force or false arrest are involved is considered police brutality.
- False arrest and unlawful imprisonment
When a police officer arrests any person without an arrest warrant or probable cause, the arrest is considered to be a false arrest.
Being falsely arrested is considered a violation of federal civil rights laws. As per the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot arrest individuals without obtaining an arrest warrant issued by a court or judge.
Moreover, police officers cannot detain a person without probable cause or evidence. As per the law, any person who is arrested needs to be presented before a court or magistrate within a reasonable time. Failing to do so can result in an unlawful arrest claim against the arresting officer.
- Sexual assault and abuse
Sexual assault or abuse is the most grievous type of police brutality. It is a legal offense if a person is sexually violated or abused by a police officer when in custody.
Some independent studies have shown that from 2009 to 2014 around 1000 police officers lost their licenses for various incidents of sexual abuse and assault. When a person is in the custody of a police officer, then as per the law the suspect is incapable of giving any form of sexual consent.
During the time of custody, any form of sexual act or relation with the suspect is considered a sexual assault under the law.
- Denial of medical care
There are instances when a person who is in police custody requires medical attention. There are cases where these individuals are denied proper medical care by the police officer. Denying medical care is a type of police brutality. Denial of medical care to a person in custody qualifies as a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
If an individual’s Constitutional rights are violated and they have been victims of police brutality, they have a right to file a case against the police officer. They deserve justice and are entitled to financial compensation. Professional lawyers can help in filing a case and representing the victim against fighting police brutality.
Disclaimer: The above article is written by Khashan Law Firm. The information presented here is just for education purposes and is not a substitute for the legal advice of an attorney and does not create a lawyer/client relationship.
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