While police brutality is widely reported upon in the media, it seems like it always happens to someone else. Unfortunately, police brutality is very real, and perhaps more so in New Jersey than other places in the country. A recent incident in Dover, New Jersey involving a 19-year-old man has brought renewed attention to the problem. While increased media attention has led to changes across the country, police brutality still happens. We need to remain vigilant and dedicated to addressing the problem.
New Jersey civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer helps people in New Jersey who have been the victims of police brutality. She will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 215-712-1212 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with Ms. Wimmer and learn about how she can help you.
The police have the right to use a necessary amount of force to make an arrest, protect themselves, or protect other members of the public. However, the degree of force that the police are entitled to use depends heavily on circumstances. The officer must make a subjective decision in the heat of the moment as to what amount of force is required, but it must be reasonable. The use of force does not necessarily mean that the police have acted inappropriately. Unfortunately, there appears to be a culture among New Jersey’s police where the use of excessive force is more common than it should be.
One of the main issues with police brutality in New Jersey is the lack of adequate oversight from policing or other state authorities. There is no statewide system to track police brutality in New Jersey and no standard practices in reporting or handling police brutality complaints among individual departments. As a result, NJ.com reviewed more than 72,000 use of force reports filed in every police department in New Jersey from 2012 through 2016. After compiling the data, NJ.com produced the Force Report, which illustrates exactly how widespread police brutality is in New Jersey.
The report contains several troubling findings. And while it’s important to shed light on the issue, the reality is that police departments are unlikely to change their practices until they are held accountable. If you’re a victim of police brutality, an experienced civil rights attorney can help you get the justice you deserve.
The Force Report contains several troubling findings. Among those is the fact that a small number of officers are responsible for a disproportionately high number of police brutality cases:
These statistics illustrate that there are individual police officers in New Jersey who are prone to excessive use of force. Even more troubling, these statistics indicate that no action has been taken by individual police departments to curb the officers’ behavior.
According to the report, African-Americans in New Jersey are three times more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites. The situation is even more troubling when you look at certain localities:
The findings have prompted a series of public hearings. Racial disparities in the use of force by police is a problem across the county, but the data indicates that this is also a serious problem in New Jersey.
The report also highlights the severity of the force used by reviewing the injuries that were caused. For example, researchers reported the following:
Again, the use of force doesn’t necessarily mean that the police engaged in brutality. However, the last statistic taken together with the disparities noted above, suggest that there are officers who routinely use excessive force.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees your right to be free from unreasonable and unlawful searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment protects you from being illegally searched or arrested, but it also protects you from the excessive use of force. In short, police brutality is a violation of your constitutional rights.
If you are the victim of police brutality, federal law gives you the right to pursue a civil claim for your injuries and other losses. This means that you can sue the police for money damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While suing the police may seem intimidating, it is the most effective way to hold them accountable and get the justice you deserve.
Many victims of police brutality don’t know what to do - they feel overwhelmed and completely disillusioned, in addition to being rightfully angry and upset. However, the days following the incident are critical. If you believe you’re a victim of police brutality, you need to take the following steps:
New Jersey civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer is dedicated to helping victims of police brutality get the justice they deserve. She has the experience and knowledge you need to hold the police accountable for their actions. You don’t have to suffer in silence - call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you.