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Expert Witness Testimony: When Police Brutality Occurs

Police brutality is being increasingly noticed throughout the country through the use of electronic surveillance equipment and the rise of the smartphone. With a camera and a video recorder at the touch of a fingertip, anyone is able to record almost any incident that may transpire.

However, it is important to contact legal assistance in order to prove the law enforcement officer was not conducting himself or herself with proper authority or force. This leads to an investigation into why he or she was called for the event, what the charges were, if any were issued and how severe the injuries were for the victim of the situation.

When litigation occurs, expert witness testimony is invaluable in understanding how the actions of police affect an average citizen. When he or she was doing nothing legally wrong, these incidents are considered more serious and damages owed may be greater. The use of an expert that knows how law enforcement agencies work and why certain actions are taken is able to fully detail what may have occurred or how the police viewed the incident so that it is clear if undue force was used to harm the accused individual.
This means ordinary actions are compared to what happens when police brutality transpires.

What is Police Brutality?

When someone has been injured when he or she was accused or in the action of committing a crime, there are certain behaviors police agents are permitted based on the threat of danger and if any weapons exist. However, in the absence of any threat, weapon or possible harm falling on the law enforcement persons, no gun should be drawn and other weapons should not be deployed. Clubs, Tasers and other tools including the use of fists is not warranted. These claims for damages may lead to complicated court room litigation based on the word of the law enforcement agency against that of the victim. However, many harmed in this manner have the evidence of video recordings to back up their story.

There are incidents that occur where the victim believes that police brutality transpired based on the injuries sustained. It is possible that in these situations excessive force may have been determined, but the individual officer may not have intended to cause the damage. This could be a case of negligence instead of intentional harm. This may affect how much compensation is received. It is possible in particular claims of police brutality that a law enforcement officer or agency may be forced to pay punitive damages to either make a point or ensure the department or agent is punished for the incident.

Expert Witness Background

There is often a necessity of both a lawyer and an expert witness for a claim of police brutality. This is because many of these professionals are former law enforcement or of a similar background. They usually have some experience either as being part of a legal department or have studied criminal justice to the point of understanding how the law affects both the victim of these crimes as well as the officers that are accused. The types of injuries sustained may be detailed to a jury or judge to explain why compensation is necessary for medical treatment, the pain and distress caused through the incident and many other factors. Various experts interview law enforcement personnel for better knowledge in methods, materials, weapons and procedures. Many of these expert witnesses have years or decades of accrued experience with police or with situations where officers are needed. This may also include incidents, crimes and attacks.

Expert Witness Testimony and Need

When a case goes to a court room and a judge or jury is needed, an expert witness should be hired to detail just how the weapons or fists and legs causes the extensive damage received by the victim. Even though a jury panel is extensively screened to clear out anyone with a bias towards one side or another, there is often an opinion that the law enforcement agent acted with just cause without considering the evidence or testimony of the affected person. This makes the case fraught with difficulty, and the knowledgeable and focused testimony of an expert witness is necessary to explain to the panel how the officer is responsible for damages owed to the victim. The injuries and medical care needed for recovery are often both used to describe what the harm did to the person. The fear, pain and distress may lead to much needed therapy.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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