police brutality case

What makes a good police brutality case?

Potential clients always ask me, “What makes a good police brutality case?” Damages. Good damages makes a good police brutality case.

I have clients all the time tell me about some of the most outrageous police conduct. Then I ask, “what is your worst injury?” The answer to that question that controls how much your case is worth.

I recently had a potential client tell me how the police beat her until she was almost unconscious. They struck her multiple times while she was cuffed, etc. She went to the hospital. I asked her, “what was the single worst injury you suffered?” Her reply, “I had bruises all over my body and the doctor gave me an advil.” That case isn’t so great because there is no way the police officers beat her the way she claimed and she only has those injuries. If the police really hit her that many times, her injuries would be far more severe. In her case, damages can be used to make out liability. Without the injuries, the other side will defend liability based on damages. Not such a great case.

In another case, a potential client told me that he got into an argument with a police officer and the officer hit him one time in the face with a closed fist, then tased him while he was on the ground. The officer arrest him for disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. The client was in a coma and had four broken bones. The criminal case was withdrawn by the DAs office. That is a good police brutality case.

What I have written is not the end all be all. There are many situations where my client has no physical injury at all and they have a great cases. We have been very successful on false imprisonment and malicious prosecution cases where there is no physical injury at all. Look at the conduct of the police officer and analyze the result.

Taser Malfunction

Taser Malfunction

When there is a taser malfunction, what happens and what are difference types of taser malfunctions?

A taser malfunction can happen in two ways. First the taser can fail to charge, so the officer believes that he is about to taser someone, but when they fire the taser, there is little or no electricity shooting through the prongs and the person is actually not tased at all. The second type of taser malfunction is when the taser keeps pulsing electricity into the person even though the officer is not trying to keep the electricity flowing through to the person. In this example the person is usually severely injured–even death.

In the second taser malfunction example, there are three possible legal claims unique to taser cases. First is the obvious police brutality or excessive force type of case. In that case, we are arguing the amount of force used is excess of the amount of force a reasonable officer would use faced with a similar amount of force in a similar circumstance.

The next cause of action is a Monell Claim against the city for not having tasers that function properly. The argument is that the city did not follow the proper protocol for managing the tasers before they were given to officers and taken out on the street. The tasers were not properly inspected, maintained, charged, etc., thereby causing the malfunction. The Monell Claim would be that the city failed to train and supervise the the maintenance of the taser inventory.

The third cause of action would be against TASER itself as a company. In this case, you would be arguing more like a products liability case then a civil rights case, but no matter. We would sue TASER for this claim and argue this model of taser was improperly manufactured, designed, etc., and that TASER knew or should have know the likely outcome that someone could get significantly injured as a result of the defect.