Police officers are entrusted with immense power to maintain law and order and protect the public. This power includes the ability to use a reasonable amount of force in certain situations, including physical force and lethal weapons. But with that power comes a responsibility not to abuse it. Officers cannot use excessive force beyond what is necessary to protect themselves or the public.
Modern police departments train officers to de-escalate situations to help diffuse intense encounters – keeping everyone involved and the public safe. This can help an officer avoid needing to use force in response to a perceived threat to their safety. De-escalation techniques can include non-confrontational body language, active listening, and compassion.
Tyre Nichols’death shows what happens when police officers lose control, when they don’t de-escalate, and worse, when the officers themselves escalate an encounter. Too often it can lead to severe injuries and death.
Police departments should be held to account when officers abuse their authority and use excessive force. When police are too quick to use violence first, the community and the officers are less safe.
Our client, Julio Jimenez Lopez, was a victim of excessive force used by police last year. On July 27, two officers approached Jimenez Lopez and two other men they alleged were drinking beer in the street. The officers told Jimenez Lopez to produce his identification, but also to stay seated. He stood to reach into his pocket for his identification, so the officers tackled him. He was thrown to the ground, punched repeatedly, and suffered life-altering injuries including a traumatic brain injury, broken nose, and shoulder injury requiring surgery. When the arrest first came to light in September, footage of the takedown sparked days of protests and demonstrations from residents furious at what they saw as police brutality and over-policing of the Latino community. After promising the community to investigate the incident and impose appropriate discipline including criminal charges against the officers, as of this post (approximately 7 months after the incident), the officers remain on paid administrative leave and no findings have been made.
Reviewing the body worn camera recordings of the encounter, Veen Firm Trial Team Leader Anthony Label said, “There is no way that’s necessary under any circumstance.”
We have filed a claim against the city that alleges assault, battery, negligence, false arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unreasonable search and seizure, and excessive force by police. It also alleges failures by the city to properly screen, hire, train, supervise, or discipline police officers.
“As we sit right now, we don’t know whether these officers are going to be held accountable, professionally or criminally. So a civil lawsuit is sometimes the last chance somebody has for justice.” -Anthony Label
Police officers who use excessive force and avoid de-escalation techniques are dangerous. They can cause serious injuries and even death. Veen Firm understands that not all police officers resort to force first, but we must hold those who use excessive force accountable.
We are here to help you fight for justice.
Call one of our attorneys today for a free consultation at 888-504-0157 or send us a fax at 415-771-5845. If you prefer to submit your request online, fill out our online form.