Are There Different Types of Police Brutality?

by | Mar 17, 2020 | Civil Rights, Police Brutality | 0 comments

When carrying out their duties to protect the public, there are limits to what police officers can do. Claims of police brutality often happen when officers go beyond their authority. Police brutality and misconduct is defined as more than using undue force against a suspect, such as striking or kicking them. Legal claims arising from instances of police brutality or abuse can fall into several categories.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of police brutality or abuse in Michigan, it’s important to get legal guidance from an experienced civil rights attorney, since juries are inclined to believe the police officer’s version of events. Your attorney can build the evidence needed to show the officer behaved outside his or her authority in your case. 

What Types of Misconduct are Defined as Police Brutality?

Police officers are granted broad authority to protect the communities they serve, but officers sometimes overstep their authority. During arrests, interrogations, or chases, officers have provoked controversy by taking actions deemed to be unnecessary and unreasonable. To prevent this type of behavior, it’s important to understand the different ways that police brutality has been defined by the courts. A CATO Institute survey reports that while excessive force remains the most common type of police brutality, it’s not the only type of brutality you can experience.

Excessive Force

Police are allowed to use a degree of force if it’s considered necessary to carry out their duties, so when is force considered “excessive?” It depends on the circumstances of the encounter between a law enforcement officer and a member of the public. Grabbing a suspect to detain or subdue them may be viewed as reasonable, but striking, kicking or roughing up a suspect in handcuffs would not. In fact, once an officer has restrained a suspect, they need to stop using force, even if the suspect remains aggressive. That includes: 

  • Beatings with a baton
  • Violent takedowns
  • Unwarranted use of tasers
  • Actions that lead to serious injuries 

False Arrest 

If you’re taken into custody when the officer doesn’t have probable cause to arrest you, that’s a false arrest. A suspect may also file a wrongful arrest claim against the arresting police officer if he or she is not taken before a judge in a reasonable amount of time. A false arrest does not always involve the infliction of physical pain. There is suffering from the loss of your civil liberties. These may include: 

  • Time away from your job
  • Lost wages
  • Expenses paid defending yourself
  • Injury to your reputation from the arrest 

Unreasonable Search

After the 911 terrorist attacks and mass shootings at schools and other public places, Congress expanded the powers of law enforcement officers to conduct searches in public. Officers can stop someone if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the individual just committed a crime, and a pat-down search is allowed to ensure the suspect doesn’t have a weapon. But not all searches are considered reasonable.  

The Fourth Amendment states that law enforcement needs probable cause to search you or your property. Police can’t enter someone’s home without permission or without a court-authorized warrant, and they also can’t do a strip search of someone who isn’t under arrest or who is being arrested for a misdemeanor offense.  

Racial Discrimination

If an officer has prejudicial attitudes about a particular race or ethnicity, it’s unlawful for them to act on that and engage in racial discrimination, since they’re entrusted to protect every citizen they serve. Officers also can’t act with bias, although studies indicate that black, Hispanic and low-income citizens are often treated differently, and that police are more likely to search African-American and Hispanic drivers compared to those who are white or Asian.  

Police brutality remains a serious problem, and not just from excessive use of force by police when dealing with civilians. Abuse can be verbal and psychological and include harassment and discrimination. If you were the victim of any form of police brutality and abuse, you can bring a civil action lawsuit against the officers who went outside their legal authority. 

Experienced Michigan Police Misconduct Attorneys Here to Help

Your rights should never be violated. If you’ve been the victim of police misconduct, consult the attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center. We specialize in protecting our clients from all manner of police brutality and misconduct. With more than 20 years of experience and more than $200 million worth of legal cases, we’re here to defend the residents of Michigan.

The attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center are happy to answer any questions and offer advice on the necessary steps to receive compensation after experiencing the consequences of police misconduct. Call 1-800-961-8447 for your free consultation.

Christopher Trainor and Associates Featured on WXYZ

Recently Christopher Trainor and Associates was featured on WXYZ 7 Action News in Detroit regarding a client's case against the Detroit Police Department in which the client was wrongly arrested and held in jail. The full article and can be found on the WXYZ website.

St Joseph, MI – Injuries Result from Wreck on I-94 near Martin Luther King Dr

St Joseph, MI (March 25, 2022) - A major car crash happened on an interstate in St Joseph on the afternoon of March 20. At approximately 5:10 p.m., an unspecified number of vehicles collided on Interstate 94. Reports show the accident happened on I-94 near Martin...

Zeeland, MI – Auto Accident on Fairview Rd at Washington Ave Ends in Injuries

Zeeland, MI (March 25, 2022) - An auto accident happened on the morning of March 25 in Zeeland that resulted in injuries. The wreck occurred shortly after 8:00 a.m., according to reports.  Sources say the collision took place on Fairview Road near Washington...

Paw Paw, MI – Major Car Crash on M-43 between 37th & 40th St

Paw Paw, MI (March 25, 2022) - A motor vehicle accident occurred in Paw Paw on the morning of March 23 that required an emergency response. The incident was reported to authorities in the area at around 12:21 p.m. Various responders were observed at the scene of the...

Romulus, MI – Motor Vehicle Collision Causes Injuries on I-94 near Vining Rd

Romulus, MI (March 25, 2022) - At least one person was hurt in a crash reported in Romulus on March 25. At approximately 12:55 p.m., police were dispatched to the scene of the wreck located on Interstate 94.  Responders including paramedics, fire crews, and...

Holland, MI – Injury Accident on Waverly Rd at 48th St Requires EMT Dispatch

Holland, MI (March 25, 2022) - On the morning of March 25, at approximately 6:55 a.m., a car accident in Holland required an emergency dispatch.  Reports indicate that a vehicle collided with a pole near 48th Street on Waverly Road.  To assist the injured...

Jackson, MI – Serious Car Accident on M-106 near Deweese Rd and Hawkins Rd

Jackson, MI (March 25, 2022) - Police officers in Jackson were dispatched to the scene of a major car crash on Friday, March 25. According to local officials, the collision happened at approximately 4:00 p.m. on M-106. While emergency personnel rendered aid to those...

Detroit, MI – Police Dispatched to Crash Scene on I-96 near Davison St

Detroit, MI (March 25, 2022) - On March 25, at least one person was injured in a car accident in Detroit. The wreck was reported to officials in the area at approximately 10:50 p.m. According to information from reports, the accident occurred on I-96 near Davison...

Wyoming, MI – Major Accident on 28th St near Clyde Park Ave

Wyoming, MI (March 24, 2022) - Highway patrol officers and first responders were called to the scene of a vehicle collision on March 24 on 28th Street in Wyoming. Reports show that an unspecified number of vehicles collided in the area, resulting in the injury of at...

St Clair, MI – Siblings Killed in Wreck on Kinney Rd near Burt Rd

St Clair, MI (March 24, 2022) - A brother and sister were killed in a two-car crash on Thursday, March 24 in Riley Township. The incident was reported north of Interstate 69 on Kinney Road near Burt Road.  Three people were also hospitalized with injuries,...