Police Brutality an Unfortunate Reality in Kentucky

Police officers have a dangerous and often thankless job. They put their lives at risk for the safety of the general public, and we appreciate their efforts. But sometimes, for whatever reason, some people in this type of job go too far when dealing with a suspect. This is called police brutality.

Police brutality can take many forms and can happen in many different places. The use of excessive force is a common type of police brutality that often results in personal injury or even death. In a recent Kentucky brutality case, the family of one man is claiming that he died after being abused at a county detention center. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the man was serving a 10-day sentence for a DUI when he had two seizures in May 2012. During the second seizure, he was restrained in a chair and sprayed with pepper spray. He was then given an anti-anxiety drug and returned to his cell where he became unresponsive. Jail employees were unable to revive him. The lawsuit states that the corrections officers "engaged in various aggressive and unwarranted activities, conduct and behavior" that led to the victim’s death.

A few years ago, we reported on an alleged police brutality case that occurred in Louisville, KY. A woman’s neighbors called the police on her children and their friends. When the police arrived, she told the kids to go home. The police officer hit her head against part of his car and sprayed her with pepper spray. He then arrested her, saying she assaulted him. This second action is another type of police brutality – false imprisonment. Fortunately for the victim, the jury in her personal injury case believed her and she was awarded $1 million in damages.

A third form of police brutality is psychological. Threatening to shoot someone or waving a Taser or baton and saying they are going to be injured are examples of psychological police brutality. Although this type of abuse is harder to prove because it can become a case of “he said, she said,” it can have lasting, damaging effects on the victim. Eye witnesses or surveillance video is often used to prove this type of abuse.

Police are allowed to use force when the need arises, and rightfully so. If a perpetrator becomes violent or combative, officers need to be able to defend themselves and subdue the individual. But exactly how much force is appropriate is unclear. Some officers may believe the force used is justifiable, while others outside of the situation think it was excessive. Sometimes the only way to decide whether or not police officers’ actions were appropriate is in a courtroom with an impartial jury and judge reviewing the facts of the case. A Kentucky police brutality attorney like Steve Frederick has experience in making sure victims of this type of abuse are heard and fairly compensated for their pain and suffering.

Sources:

Family of Fayette jail inmate who died after seizure files wrongful-death suit; Kentucky.com; Josh Kegley; November 13, 2012