Excessive Use of Force: Verbal Abuse: What are my rights?


Excessive Force by Police Officers

angry officer

What is Excessive Use of Force by Police?

Excessive force by a police officer means that the use of force does not match the situation. For example, if a police officer is arresting someone, it is not permissible for the officer to physically abuse the person if they are complying with the officer’s orders or the person is clearly no threat (i.e. does not have a weapon). “If a suspect offers no resistance to a police officer, but that officer or others physically abuses them, law enforcement is engaging in excessive force…” If any physical abuse is committed by an officer, it is only justified if the person is using an equal amount of abuse, such as threatening violence, using a weapon, or physically attacking the officer. If you are a victim of police brutality in Maryland, you should contact a Baltimore Civil Rights Police Brutality Lawyer.

It is also considered excessive force to physically harm a suspect for simply running away. “In Tennessee v. Garner, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state statute allowing an officer to “use all means necessary to effect an arrest” if a suspect flees after given notice of intent to arrest was unconstitutional. The case involved the fatal shooting of a teenager suspected of burglarizing a neighbor’s home. The boy fled after being told to halt by the officer, who then shot him. The officer was “reasonably sure” the teen was unarmed. The Supreme Court ruled that, “The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against, as in this case, an apparently unarmed, non-dangerous fleeing suspect; such force may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

There are also other examples of excessive force by police. A police officer can only arrest a person on the basis of lawful reasoning. If the basis was the race of the person, that would usually not be warranted. However, if the basis was a person threatening someone with a weapon, that would easily suffice. Also, if a suspect is injured by a police officer, they should receive medical attention. It can be used as evidence of excessive force if an officer doesn’t call for medical attention. Further evidence of excessive force could be the officer neglecting to contact a suspect’s family. Finally, under no circumstances can a police officer sexually assault someone. An officer patting someone down is allowed, but groping or anything further is a crime. 

What are Examples of Verbal Abuse by Police?

Verbal abuse is when police officers call a suspect offensive slurs or names. This most often includes verbal attacks regarding a person’s racial identity, ethnic identity, gender identity, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. It is not usually acceptable for a police officer to commit verbal abuse, as it is not helpful in any way and can even further escalate the situation. It is true that words cannot physically harm a person, but they can very easily cause mental trauma. Anyone concerned about verbal abuse from a police officer can contact a Baltimore Maryland civil rights defense attorney.

How do you Prove Verbal Abuse as Excessive Use of Force?

The most clearcut way to prove verbal abuse against a police officer is to have evidence of what they said. That means a video showing them using any type of slur or offensive term will suffice, or statements from witnesses of the event. However, if there is evidence of the suspect using similarly offensive language, it could be used against them if brought to a lawsuit. It could be argued that language from the suspect could have provoked and justified the officer when they used offensive language. A Maryland police misconduct attorney could help.

How can your Attorney Help?

If you or someone you know needs help reporting a case of police brutality and looking for a Maryland police misconduct lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Kim Parker P.A. They have proven police misconduct lawyers Maryland. If you are looking for a civil rights lawyer in Maryland, call 410-234-2621.

Contact Us

If you or someone you care have been treated wrongly or injured, let a knowledgeable, experienced attorney will guide you and fight for your case. Don’t miss out on the justice you deserve. Contact us today at 410-234-2621. Let’s talk about your needs and how we can help.

Contact Us Now