Dealing with law enforcement should not make anybody fear that their life is in danger. Too often, though, this is exactly what happens — and suspicions that you may be in danger turn out to be correct. Policing methods have been the subject of much media attention in recent months, and rightfully so. Too many law enforcement officers have been caught harming innocent victims for no reason.
What exactly qualifies as excessive force, though? This is a difficult question to answer. Police may argue justification for their methods while the general public disagrees. The following are some of examples of excessive force that may fall outside the parameters of justifiable treatment.
1. No use of verbal commands
According to PoliceOne, using verbal commands should be the first step an officer takes when interacting with a resistant subject. Though verbal commands are not always effective, it is important to start with them rather than resorting to physical force immediately. Too often, law enforcement skips verbal communication and instead gets physical with a subject when verbal communication might have accomplished the goal more effectively.
2. Causing injury unnecessarily
If a police officer does need to use physical force, there are still ways to do so without causing injury to a suspect unnecessarily. Law enforcement should physically restrain a suspect without striking or otherwise injuring him or her, for example. Physical force that results in unnecessary injuries is an example of excessive force, and this is unacceptable behavior for a law enforcement official. The jurisdiction responsible may even be liable for the injuries caused.
3. Hurting restrained suspects
If a law enforcement officer has already restrained a suspect, there is no reason why the suspect should be subject to further physical force. There are many cases, however, in which a suspect under restraint was struck or otherwise injured despite the fact they were no longer resisting. This is a clear example of excessive and unnecessary force.