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Police Brutality as a Personal Injury – the Post Ferguson Age

While the topic of racial profiling and police brutality has been one of the main focuses of the nation for the past year and a half, the abrupt resignations of two University of Missouri administrators (President Tim Wolfe and the chancellor of the flagship campus R. Bowen Loftin) recently has thrust the topic of race relations and accountability back to the spotlight. Experts predict that the social activism which disrupted the “business as usual” approach to diversity and race-related incidents on campus is expected to change drastically and even serve as a signal for other schools, as young people engage more on social media and change how they mobilize. The University of Missouri protests are just a few of the many that were inspired by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri back in August 2014.

Since the many controversial police-related incidents that have made national headlines, the number of police misconduct cases have steadily increased as victims become less afraid of reporting complaints. Additionally, cities and police departments are willing to pay for settlements and court judgments for police brutality and wrongful death lawsuits have been steadily rising. A Wall Street Journal study found that the 10 largest municipal police departments in the U.S. paid out a total $248 million in 2014, which is an increase of 48 percent from 2010. And according to a 2014 report by the New York City Comptroller’s Office, claims filed against the New York Police Department (NYPD) rose 71 percent from 2004 to 2013. Specifically, the choking death of Eric Garner by an NYPD officer back in July 2014 rendered a $5.9 million settlement to Garner’s family – the largest NYPD-related wrongful death settlement in history.

Police Brutality Gives Rise to Personal Injury Claims

Police brutality is generally defined as a civil rights violation that occurs when police use excessive force against a civilian. However, it is not just a civil rights violation. Excessive force constitutes beatings, kickings, tacklings, shootings, and unreasonable discharges of weapons such as tasers, pepper sprays, and police dogs. Any of these things can cause:

  • concussions;
  • cuts and lacerations;
  • traumatic brain injuries;
  • spinal cord injuries;
  • broken bones; and/or
  • death.

Claims against a city are generally more difficult than claims against an individual because states grant immunity, which shields public officials from damages as long as they did not violate one’s statutory or constitutional rights. However, despite the difficulty, if a violation of a right can be established, personal injury claims for medical costs, loss of wages, emotional distress, and wrongful death may still be applicable.

Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer: Protect Your Rights. Maximize Compensation.

Losing a loved one to a fatal accident or police incident is devastating. At Calhoun Law, PLC we will pursue any and all claims to help maximize the compensation you and your family deserve. If you have been injured by a police brutality incident, contact us today for a consultation in Nashville.

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