If you’ve been watching, reading or listening to the news recently, you know that overreactions by police are getting a lot of coverage. In California, South Carolina, Florida, and in many other places — including Ferguson, Missouri — police are apparently failing to restrain themselves.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that whether or not an individual should be punished is a question left up to the court system, not the judgement call of a police officer in the heat of the moment.
It is because of hasty decisions made by officers in the line of duty that too many innocent people end up beaten, shot and killed.
In California, a 51-year-old woman was repeatedly struck in the face on the side of a highway by a clearly out-of-line trooper. The beating, which took place in July, led to the initiation of a civil lawsuit, which just led to a a settlement between the California Highway Patrol and the victim, a great-grandmother. Because of her injuries, not only will the officer involved in the fight agree to resign, but she will receive a payment of $1.5 million.
Now, this tragedy resulted in justice in large part because the beating was recorded on video by a motorist who happened to be passing by. Another instance of police overreaction, this time across the country in south Carolina, was also caught on video — this time by the dashboard camera in the officer’s own vehicle.
In that situation, a law enforcement officer had pulled over an individual as part of what should have been a regular traffic stop. When the officer asked for the driver’s license, however, the man who had been pulled over made the apparent mistake of reaching into his car to retrieve what the officer had asked for. The video clearly shows the officer firing multiple shots into the unarmed man who tried to explain that he was simply retrieving the documentation the officer had requested.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that this is a problem that takes place in Florida, too. Quite recently, an encounter took place between a law enforcement officer and a 62-year-old woman that has made headlines around the country: the law enforcement officer shot the elderly woman in the back with a stun gun. Surely the officer had other means by which to restrain the woman besides firing a painful stun gun into her back.
Our criminal defense lawyers know that police brutality is a pervasive, harmful and sometimes fatal problem that exists in every corner of this country. Law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their wrongdoings, especially when they are committed in the line of duty. When someone wears a law enforcement uniform, they are uniquely employed to uphold and enforce the law, not break it.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal justice issue, please contact our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.