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It was almost three years ago when I experienced the worst day of my life. I will never ever forget that day, Sunday at around 10 in the evening when I was beaten to death by a group of policemen. It happened years ago but in my mind it all seems like yesterday. I was walking down the street on what seems to be a beautiful Sunday night until the tragic incident happened. A group of policemen brutally assaulted me in an unprovoked attack. I lost track on the number of times they hit me in the face and all over my body. That assault was a near death experience. Until today, I still have tremors every time I think of the incident. The first six months were devastating. I don’t want to live anymore. I begin to question God why he has allowed these things to happen to me but when I think of my family, I know I need to get back to life.
Yes, it took six months for me to air the ordeal that I went through. With the help of my friend, Jim, a lawyer based in Anniston, my case was publicly revealed in the federal civil right lawsuit. I positively identified the policemen but as expected they aggressively fought us using a variety of means. The case lasted for two long years. Those years were spent fighting the case in the court of law. The case ended into a settlement. At first, I didn’t agreed with the idea of settlement but my lawyer told me that it was the best thing to do.
The case was settled and I received monetary compensation for the damages done. I became financially stable after the incident. The life of my family has become easier than before. My siblings were able to continue their education. I haven’t work for a few months, but the settlement amount assisted me financially. Do I feel like justice has been served because of the monetary compensation? My answer is a big NO! No amount of money can ease the pain and trauma that incident caused me. Until today, whenever I see a group of policemen I feel like they are out there to get me. I am no longer comfortable walking down the street alone, especially in the night. It may sound unfair but I totally lost my trust to men in uniform.
I wish I could not generalize, because I know that there are also more good cops than bad. However, given the things I had to go through, the police, for me, are all wearing the same mask. I do not know how long I will struggle until I would finally be at ease again, but I am sure that it won’t be anytime soon. I just hope that victims of this kind of abuse would also find help and hopefully overcome the incident. In fact, I am trying very hard to encounter my own traumas so that I can be strong enough to host a counseling for fellow victims, in hopes that I can be the key to helping others find comfort amidst the horror of being a victim of police brutality.
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What is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct encompasses illegal or unethical actions or the violation of individuals’ constitutional rights by police officers in the conduct of their duties. Examples of police misconduct include police brutality, dishonesty, fraud, coercion, torture to force confessions, abuse of authority, and sexual assault, including the demand for sexual favors in exchange for leniency. Any of these actions can increase the likelihood of a wrongful conviction.
How do we stop Police Abuse?
This is not an easy thing. You must have realistic expectations to fight police abuse effectively. You can not rely on one remedy alone, because no single remedy will cure the problem. There is no quick fix. An assortment of reforms is required. And even after citizen action has won reforms, the public must keep the pressure on through constant oversight to ensure that the reforms are actually implemented. Don’t give up hope. One person, or a even a small group of people, can make a big difference. Sometimes outmoded and potentially abusive police practices prevail largely because no one has questioned them. In such cases, the simple act of finding and presenting the problem can have a powerful effect that will lead to reform. Just by asking questions, one person can open up some hidden sector of the illusive world of policing to public scrutiny. Depending on what is revealed, these inquiries can snowball into a full blown examination by the media, the public, and politicians that can do something about it.
The different types of police misconduct include:
Discrimination during arrests.
Harassment of “undesirables” such as the homeless, youth, minorities, and gays.
Verbal abuse of citizens. Using racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs.
Failure to respond quickly to calls in low-income areas, and quick investigations of domestic violence, rape, or hate crimes.
Excessive use of deadly force.
Discrimination in hiring, promotion, and assignments. Internal harassment of minority, women, and homsexual police personnel.
Retaliation against officers who report abuse and support reforms.
Spying on political activists.
Illegal mass arrests of young men based on their race and dress instead of their criminal conduct.
Tactics that endanger innocent bystanders.
Failure to discipline or prosecute abusive officers, and the failure to deny promotions because of prior abusive behavior.
Excessive use of physical force.
Crowd control tactics that infringe on free expression rights.
What is information that can be targeted?
During a police shooting how many times did the police officer discharge their firearm? This information can be looked at as possible misconduct because it only takes a shot or two to put a person down. These records, which can be found by any local online pro, are more complete than statistics on the number of persons shot, and wounded, or killed. The information on the race of persons shot, and wounded or killed is also important. This is particularly important information which can tell whether or not some officers fire their weapons at a suspiciously high rate. Pay attention to officers that shoot more rounds off than others on a regular basis. Keep in mind the goal here is to target corrupt officers, and not good officers. Sometimes younger inexperienced officers will shoot more than a seasoned officer. You should also focus on the type of assignment, and the local. Ask yourself the question “Did the officers make an effort to refrain from using force against citizens, or did they quickly resort to force? Were the citizens armed? This is an obvious thing to look into, and can quickly narrow down whether or not an officer is justified in using force.
“Police departments are an arm of government. Police policies, procedures, memorandum, records, reports, tape recordings, etc. should not be withheld from public view unless their release would threaten on-going investigations, endanger officers or others, or invade someone’s personal privacy.”
Civilian reviews have not been taken seriously in the past by police officials. It is suspected the officials have only half halfheartedly investigated allegations of abuse, and possibly cover up this misconduct. It could be because the investigations are conducted by people who are civilians and not sworn officers. This needs to change. It is only by constant diligence by the public that changes will occur. We must pay attention to what is real, and not what is fed to us by the news, and social networks. We must keep records, and follow up on what we suspect is police misconduct until we can weed out the dishonest use of police actions.
One late afternoon, I was sitting at our home’s porch to get some fresh air after spending hours in my computer desk. It was also the usual time when my son would arrive from school. That gave me another reason to hang out at the porch. Just in time when I put down my newspaper, my 16-year old son had arrived from school. I would always see him cheerfully meeting me at home. But that afternoon, I noticed an unusual change in his mood. I saw a hint of trauma in his face and gestures.
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I discovered that he and his friends had just encountered a bad experience with a person in authority on their way. I felt a sudden rush of anxiety upon listening to his story. But it didn’t surprise me much because I’ve known our suburb area to have a reputation of repetitive police harassment incidents.
My son had been a victim of police abuse. He and his friends were threatened by a gun from a policeman when they walked through his house’s backyard lot. It was supposed to be an off limits private property but teens usually have this thing for doing road shortcuts. They had been reprimanded twice but this time the house owner used his position of authority to shoo kids away. In the most proper sense, it is certainly not the right way to teach kids a lesson. It scared them to death and I started to notice my son manifesting symptoms of PTSD. I was too worried about the harm that it may cause him. My son used to have mild anxiety attacks when he was still small. I knew from the very beginning that he has low stress-tolerance. The recent incident triggered his childhood anxiety attacks. We brought him to a child psychologist for therapy and medication. The incident story lingered around the neighborhood and it had caused fear to the parents.
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My husband and I had been planning a long time ago to move to Alabama, the state where he grew up. But it was set aside and eventually forgotten because of my husband’s work commitments. But after what happened, we started to reopen that possibility. Then we started to search on the internet for homes on sale in Oxford, AL and real estate properties that we could possible invest in. It’s a great place to start a new life. My husband asked from his company to be relocated in another office in Alabama. My son got well-adjusted to his new school and neighborhood. And the move went out well.
My son had gotten over with the emotional distress caused by the negative experience with a policeman. He can recall everything about it without tremors in his body. He’s doing fine and enjoying with some new company of friends. I still wait for him by the porch every afternoon. This time in a new home and in a friendly neighborhood. We hope that it will never happen again to the kids in our previous place. I hope it will never happen again to my son.
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Investigating Your Home’s Plumbing
People sometimes focus too much on things that happen with other people that they forget to check up on their own backyards. Sometimes, we are so preoccupied about the offenses of others, that we become complacent about other types of crooks and dishonest people.
Checking up on your own property does not mean that something is wrong. Sometimes, its better to inspect everything earlier, before any major trouble has ever occurred, so that lesser expenses will be made and future damages can be prevented.
This is also very useful to do, when you are about to purchase a new home. When things are till bright and shiny, people tend to forget to check the hidden mechanics that are just as important as what is seen on the surface.
Significance of Plumbing Inspections
Plumbing investigations incorporate the procedure of assessing the physical state of a plumbing system. It is a critical piece of the home-purchasing procedure and ought to be incorporated into your contract, making sure the plumbing system of the home you want to own is in great condition. In general, one or more experts ought to search for deformities or breakdowns in the building’s structure, frameworks, and physical parts, for example, the rooftop, electrical and warming/cooling frameworks, floor surfaces and paint, windows and entryways. Of course, one of the things that should not be forgotten are plumbing inspections.
Even if the seller will provide you with a ready assessment, its not always wise to instantly trust these things. Calling your cards and contacting your own experts will be a better way of making sure you are buying a house that is worth what you are paying for.
And if you really want to be hands on in the investigation process, before paying for an expert assessment, you can direct your own particular casual examination. Search for issues like slanting floors or bowing dividers, indications of water damage, missing rooftop shingles or drains coming free, old or low-quality installations and machines, and different indications of wear, tear, or required repair. The best time to do this is before you make an offer, with the goal that you can spare yourself the inconvenience if you find difficult issues. This is better known as a preinspection. This is most particularly favorable in the event that you are out contending with different buyers for a specific house. Your offer will be something made out of study and review, and is something you are resolved about; not simply some offer that you would effortlessly dismiss after transactions, since you have no idea just how much the house is worth.
However, preinspections are not usually permitted. Hence, resolving to a professional inspector is the best move for you. The professional investigation could take a few hours and you could pay from $200 to $500, depending on the size of the house you wish to be investigated. But that is a cost worth spending on, as is a lot cheaper, compared to when you would encounter major plumbing problems after you’ve already closed the deal.
Just as we are all vigilant against police abuse, you should not allow yourself to be fooled by scammers and dishonest people. There is a lot of evil in the world, and the only way for you to keep yourself and your earnings safe, is to always be one step ahead.
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Police cruelty continues to exist, despite efforts to make it stop. What we can all do is talk about every occurence, so that people will be warned, and so that abusive policemen will know that this time, the abused has a weapon – The Internet.
In today’s world that is very dependent on “connectivity,” people have the power to overturn the tides when it comes inhumane and undisciplined acts, all thanks to social media sites, blogging and everything else in between.
This is also our number one tool in fighting men in uniform who, instead of helping and protecting citizens, use their badges to power-play innocent people into following their wrong ways..
Latest incident we were able to find out about was how an officer abused a decent repairman.
The repairman got an emergency call at around 2 in the morning for a hot water tank issue, and so he quickly responded. He was an honest man and he earned his every dollar through great service and through performing the tasks asked of him. Also, since it was an emergency case, it would mean he can earn a little bit of an extra. He has a family to support and every chance of earning honest money, he would gladly take.
When he got there, he found out that his client was a cop. Of course, at first, this made him happy, because he knows that he is dealing with a decent man, at least that’s what he thought.
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After an hour and a half, he was done repairing the problem with the tank. It already was able to adjust the temperature of the heat, which, before he came to repair, only poured out overly hot water, that was no longer advisable to take a bath on because it was already burning to the skin.
As the repairman and the cop head out for the door, he of course, waited for his payment. However, he was let out and the cop just started closing the door behind him.
Of course, the repairman politely stopped the door and reminded the cop that he has to pay his service fee and a few more dollars for some of the materials he had to use for the repair. The cop raised an eyebrow and told the repairman that he is not paying because he is a cop. The repairman got confused and asked what the connection was with him being a cop and his payment for the repair.
To which the cop told him, “I risk my life everyday for the likes of you, the least you all could do is cut us some slack and give us free services like this. It’s not like what I owe you is going to make you rich anyways.” After saying these harsh things, he slams his door and shouts some more “You better head home or I’d be forced to take you in for trespassing.”
The repairman found himself dumbfounded. To this day, he was not able to get his service’s worth because he was too scared to fight back against an abusive cop.
I hope this story reaches to those who can do something about these incidents. Despite risking their lives for the citizens, they still do not have the right to belittle anybody in any way, especially the livelihood of others.
You have always heard that the police are to protect and serve the public. For the most part they do. Like in any profession there are always some that will make all the good ones look bad. I am not here to say that the police violence we see on the television is right. I know that the job that they do can be very stressful. Every time they go to work there is a chance they may not come home. I know that would stress me out. I am not making excuses though. Because you are having a bad day does not give you the right to take it out on others.
I saw this video the other day online. This cop just slammed some older gentleman out of nowhere. You could hear on the video that the older man was very confused. He even seemed like he did not know what was going on. You can tell this from watching the video. Then out of nowhere the cop just slams the man to the ground. The cop slammed him like they do in wrestling. Come to find out the man did not speak a word of English. He was just visiting his some from another country. On that day he was just out for a walk because it was nice outside. Stories like this one make other cops look bad. That is why so many people are afraid of them these days.
The man he slammed was a very wealthy man. He owned a small business collection agency. Just like tclginc.com. So he had great connections and the cop got what he deserved. The cop got fired. I am happy he got fired and they did not let him resign. See a lot of these cops do not know who they maybe messing with. I am sure if this cop new this guy had connections. He would not have been messing with him for no reason. If they would just do their job and the few stop the harassing. I am sure things would be better with them and the public. Everyone has a video camera now. You think they would be more careful.
If there is any misconduct that is happening in town, Tampa injury lawyer is there to help solve the issue.
Police officers are given the responsibility to carry out their duties under certain circumstances and impose that power where necessary. However, the line that defines the limitation to that power is somewhat blurred. There is no clear definition yet in the law as to what constitutes reasonable violence coming from the police’s end, which often results in issues of police misconduct and brutality against civilians. In fact, there is a specific branch for injury lawyer dedicated to handling similar issues.
What Constitutes Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct is regarded as the intentional act or neglect on the part of the police officer that results to physical injury. This act breaches their sworn duty to protect innocent citizens without causing unnecessary harm to the public, of which they are trying to protect. There are a variety of circumstances that can be referred to as misconduct and these are just a few of them:
False arrest – This is when a police officer detains an individual without adequate proof for arrest or reasonable suspicion. This act is a form of violation against the civil rights of an individual.
Excessive imprisonment – This is when a police officer willingly or intentionally detains an individual beyond the recommended detainment period. Moreover, a police officer without probable cause for extending one’s detainment is considered unlawful.
Police brutality – This is one of the more serious cases of police misconduct, which involves use of unnecessary force or violence from a police officer. There are several other classifications to police brutality but among the most common cases include shooting at an unarmed individual, excessive use of taser guns or pepper spray, hitting or beating a compliant suspect, racial profiling, to name a few.
Wrongful Death – A police officer is responsible for the prisoner’s death while under their care and custody. An officer can be charged for negligence, especially if no attention was given to the needs of a detainee.
How to Find Injury Lawyers in Tampa
You need a lawyer to help address issues of injury and abuse coming from a police officer. You can get referrals from friends or do your research on lawyers specializing against police misconduct. Once you have found that lawyer, sit down with them so you can discuss the case thoroughly. During this sit down discussion, you can also assess whether or not the lawyer is the best person to handle your claim. You can also use this time to determine how aggressive the lawyer is when it comes to tackling your case. Are they aggressive? How much time are they willing to spend on your case each day? If possible, choose a lawyer that has been in the industry for a long time and has had experience against police brutality lawsuits.
If you feel confident about the expertise of the lawyer on your case, you should discuss on how you can proceed with the case. More importantly, the lawyer you choose must be someone who is not just good at his or her work, but also ones that you are comfortable to work with. One firm that is recognized in Tampa today is from theinjurylawyers.com and you can call them at 800-753-5203 to get more information how they can help you with your issues.
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Personal Injury law pertains to any and all civil lawsuits brought about by negligence or wrongful conduct by an adverse party that resulted in the injury of a person. The injuries could be physical or emotional and mental. More often than not, these cases do not involve criminal implications and therefore there is no prosecution. Normally, these are cases between two private people, one seeking compensation and the other, the party at fault, seeking means to provide as little compensation as possible, if not zero compensation.
While police and other government officials are protected by governmental immunity, this does not mean that civilians cannot file a civil lawsuit against them when the need for it arises.
For police officials, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in the event that they exercised too much force on you or on someone you know.
While they are given right to proceed with force, this privilege is set within boundaries and limits of the law. They have to comply requirements and procedures, before assessing the level of physical force that they could exercise on someone. If they neglect these limits and inflict physical pain on someone, despite their immunity, and if truly guilty, they can be filed for a personal injury lawsuit and the victim can rightfully claim compensation, depending on the damage caused by the battery or assault.
However, for your lawsuit to stand, it has to be clear that the police officer violated the terms that comprise a personal injury lawsuit.
The most warranted reason for claiming personal injury is the act of negligence of one party, in this case the police officer, that resulted in the injury of the other party or the victim. Given this, a definite scope of negligence is established. Negligence in these cases are based on its doctrine, and that is, that everyone is required to act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk. But this does not mean that every time someone gets hurt, someone is liable. That is why if you plan to file this against a police officer, it must be evident that your injuries were caused by the officer’s actions, and not because of your actions i.e., assaulting the officer first, failing to cooperate if in an investigation, etc.
It is important when battling cases like this against people with a certain level of immunity, that you hire a good lawyer. It is best to look for lawyers with great reputation and high winning percentage on similar cases. I suggest you look up Sides, Oglesby, Held, Dick, Stephens and Clay, a law firm with highly qualified lawyers, experts in exactly this kind of legal problem, and many more. If you hire a personal injury lawyer from them, they will likely win your case.
The amount of compensation you can get depends on the gravity of the damages. This can be guided through presentation of payments for the repair of the damages as well as the standard value of damaged items, in cases when properties are also destroyed. Then there are also the hospital bills and other cost of medication. When the injury caused the victim to lose his ability to perform his work duties, a more serious compensation shall be penalized upon the party at fault.
If you seek it, justice will always prevail, even against dirty cops. You just have to be brave enough and wise enough to arm yourself with the right legal knowledge and the right help from experts.
Last January 2014, Darren Baptiste launched his app called CopWatch, an iPhone app that seeks to help people record incidents of police-citizen interactions and have them uploaded straight to the Internet and automatically alert Network for the Elimination of Police Violence, a Toronto-based activist/police watchdog group, about the video’s existence.
How the App Worked in the Real-World
As if expecting a year of police violence, the app was put to use in July as a copy in New York held Eric Garner in a banned chokehold, while the latter protested “I can’t breathe”. Garner’s friend filmed the incident using his cellphone from a few feet away. Little did he know, he was actually filming his friend’s death. The world took notice as NBA players and celebrities wear statement shirts of “I can’t breathe” supporting the family of Garner, and showing their dismay of what many consider as a hate crime and prejudice against blacks. This is just one of the many times the app videos went viral and really stirred the consciousness of our society.
Last month, another unarmed black man was killed by a white cop, and it was caught on tape. The video was longer and shows the confrontation clearer and closer than any the world has ever seen. The video shows a South Carolina cop Michael Slager firing at 50-year old Walter Scott as he run away from the scene. At first, Slager claimed he had to shoot Scott, as he was afraid for his life as the latter commandeered the Taser during after what is supposed to be a routine traffic stop gone bad. The leaked video was recorded by Feiden Santana, a 23-year old who stood behind the chain-link fence to record the incident. The video clearly contradicts Slager’s statement as the video shows how he shot Scott from behind eight times as he runs away from him. When Scott hits the ground the cop then handcuffs his lifeless wrist. He then run to retrieve an object, and then dropped it near Scott’s lifeless body. The video was published in the New York Times.
These videos simply encourage more people to document police-civilian interactions with their mobile phones and make solid evidences without risking their lives.
Other Similar Apps
Joining the league of mobile police watchdogs are the Mobile Justice, which is a free Android app developed by local ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) in Nebraska, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oregon. The app works by recording videos and automatically saving the media file to a zip file and send them straight to local ACLU branches.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is also developing an app called the International Evidence Locker. The app seeks to help people record video evidence of abuse, encrypt it, and then send the file straight to human rights organizations.
The main features of all these apps is simple, they aide in the recording of the incidents and quickly send the video file from the witness’ mobile phone to the public sphere. Cops may be able to confiscate witnesses’ mobile phones, but they can never delete the evidence. It’s a great way to discourage police misbehavior and provide evidence against them should they cross the line.
Police’s abuse of authority is a prevalent problem not just in United States, but all over the world. Police violence is a serious issue that our community faces every day, and retaliation from such actions causes more divisions in our communities rather than solving the problem. This is where the importance of having police watchdog groups gets into the picture – to call for Police accountability and to teach the people on the streets of their rights and how they can contribute stop the prejudice and violence.
Watch Efforts Work
Though victims are always encouraged to report their experience of police misconduct to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, many don’t report their incidents as they feel disenchanted with the process. We can’t blame these people, because after all, we don’t know who can actually “police” the police and hold them accountable for their actions.
However, with the help of technology, people today are more empowered against police violence than they think they are. An incident in Washington Heights in 2013 for example, shows a police officer pushing his forearm against the throat of a young man he was attempting to subdue. After bystanders started recording the arrest, the cop backed down a bit. Loyda Colon, co-director of Justice Committee said that the bottom line of Police Watch is about making people safer whenever police are interacting within the community. “It’s a preventative measure” she said.
Colon emphasized the Justice Committee is not against the police, per se. “We want the police to know that we are NOT anti-cop.” She exclaimed. “But we are anti-bad cop.”
Justice Through the Lens
In April 4, 2015, South Carolina Office Michael Slagger shot and killed Walter Scott in North Charleston. The incident happened when Slagger allegedly pulled over Scott for a broken tail light at the corner of Craig and Remount roads. A cellphone video recorded by an eye witness came after, bringing justice to the victim. This is how filming of police by civilians can shed some light in unlawful acts committed by police officers.
How to Record Legally
Mark Gaber, a professor in constitutional law at the University of Maryland said “You can film police on duty as long as you’re not interfering with their activities.” As you can see, there’s a keyword “interfering” in his statement, and this is where the issue of legality can become confusing to both police and civilians.
Graber said that what makes ‘interfering with police duties’ is very unclear, not just for the public, but for police officers as well. “This strikes me as an issue that within five years is likely to be a Supreme Court decision.” Graber added.
There are indeed, a lot of gray areas in determining how far eyewitnesses should stand and use his camera and not get in the way of the police. Most of the time, people get too close to the scene when recording, that they are distracting police officers. And sometimes, police officers can’t tell the difference between a camera and a weapon because of the rising tension of the situation.
Though videos are not going to solve the problem with our justice system, it’s a great eye-opening tool for people to know just how much abuse takes place out there.