Tips for Fighting Excessive Force Claims

May 1, 2012 — 1,389 views  
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Police offers rarely have to resort to much physical restraint or action toward citizens or suspects. However, when they do, it's important not to go above and beyond the boundaries of both their sworn oath to serve and protect as well as the U.S. Constitution itself. When they do or are suspected of having done so, it's important for them to understand the best ways to fight the excessive force claims leveled against them.

Most courts have determined protection from excessive force by police officers is governed by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. In addition to protecting against unwarranted searches and investigations, that part of the Bill of Rights protects citizens from unreasonable seizure amounting to significant or meaningful injuries.

Unreasonable Seizure
The best way to argue against an excessive force claim that accuses an officer of unreasonable seizure is to demonstrate the actions taken by police were entirely reasonable. That is, either a suspect was acting belligerently or prior evidence led officers to suspect he or she might behave as such upon confrontation.

Significant and Meaningful Injury
When members of the police have to arrest, interrogate or confront people in some manner, it isn't unreasonable to expect that both parties might occasionally sustain injuries. Avoid excessive force claims by arguing injuries incurred weren't significant and meaningful or that they weren't directly the fault of police officers.