Police brutality remains a persistent problem both in Chicago and throughout the country. Victims have the right to demand substantial monetary compensation when law enforcement officers violate their civil rights. In some cases, however, the victims die from their injuries. This leaves eligible survivors with the right to pursue wrongful death claims against the police who use brutality or excessive force.
Despite national uproar over these incidents, law enforcement is backed by powerful unions and attorneys who fight any attempt to hold officers accountable. If a loved one died at the hands of abusive police, you need aggressive, serious legal representation. You need Hale & Monico.
Understanding Police Brutality
Police are trained to use only the amount of force that’s reasonably necessary to subdue a suspect and defuse a threat. The use of excessive or unnecessary force is known as police brutality. It usually involves the use of a weapon such as a gun, baton, pepper spray, tear gas, tasers, and other tools. But a weapon certainly isn’t necessary. Many police brutality cases involve the use of illegal or dangerous choke holds, restraints, and other means to bring a suspect under an officer’s control.
Police brutality may happen because an officer simply gets caught up in the adrenaline of a civilian encounter. These cases are still inexcusable in light of the extensive training that police receive. However, some instances of police brutality involve law enforcement officers who willingly and maliciously inflict injury upon suspects. For example, an officer may engage a suspect in an extended foot chase, and upon catching the suspect assault the individual with a baton.
No matter the crime that the suspect is accused of, he or she has civil rights. Police brutality puts law enforcement in the role of judge, jury, and – in far too many cases – executioner.
Why Police Brutality Happens
Not all officers abuse their authority, and most people understand that there are times when reasonable and even lethal force is necessary to protect the lives of police and civilians. Still, too many officers simply go too far and employ much more force than is needed under the circumstances.
When police brutality claims a person’s life, it’s critical for the family to understand why it happened. This not only helps in the healing process but is an essential first step in demanding justice from the civil court system. In fact, it’s up to the surviving family members to explain precisely what led to the fatal interaction between their loved one and police. Brutality happens for a number of different reasons, such as:
- Disregard for or forgetting police training
- Racial, ethnic, class, and other bias
- Dislike for a particular group
- Attempting to cover up police wrongdoing
- Frustration in dealing with a suspect
- Unreasonable fear for the officer’s lives or public safety
These and other explanations can lead the officer to engage not only in police brutality but in lethal use of force. Generally speaking, the use of lethal force should be a tool of last resort for an officer who has a justifiable fear for his or her own safety or that of the public. In reality, it is often the end result of police brutality.
Filing A Wrongful Death Claim After Police Brutality
When police brutality claims the life of a civilian, that individual’s surviving family members have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible law enforcement agency and officers. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar in some ways to personal injury lawsuits. In fact, you can think of a wrongful death lawsuit as essentially the same type of claim the victim could have filed had he or she lived.
Wrongful death claims are filed by eligible survivors of the deceased, usually close family members and beneficiaries. They are typically pursued to recover monetary compensation to help cover the following losses:
- Costs associated with the victim’s death, such as funeral expenses and final medical bills
- Earnings that the victim would have received had he or she lived
- Lost benefits, such as insurance
- Loss of inheritance due to the victim’s untimely death
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish suffered by the survivors
- Loss of companionship, care, and protection
- Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongful party
If your loved one died because of police brutality, quick action is essential. If you have video evidence related to the brutality, which is common in these cases, be sure to preserve it. Any other evidence concerning the incident needs to be protected as well. Reach out to an experienced attorney right away.
Police unions, attorneys, and other interest groups will go to work to defend the actions of the officer. This will likely include attempts to demonize and blame the victim. It’s important to bear in mind, however, that everyone deserves their day in court no matter what he or she is accused of. Excessive force resulting in someone’s death, even of a criminal suspect, is not acceptable police conduct. Our law firm will go to work to demand justice for you and your family.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Due To Police Brutality Attorney
A wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring back your loved one or erase what happened. But it can help you ease the financial burden of losing your family member and give some measure of closure. Our compassionate and dedicated civil rights attorneys are ready to begin your case. Call Hale & Monico now to get started.