When Is a Police Shooting Considered Police Brutality

A bullet from a police officer’s gun can kill someone, and that death is always tragic for the people who loved the person who died. As you grieve for your loved one, it is natural to wonder whether the shooting should have happened.

Was it Police Brutality?

Whether the police shooting was legally justified or an act of police brutality depends on the unique facts of the case. Police officers have a duty to keep the public safe and they often have to make difficult decisions quickly to keep the peace. Accordingly, police officers must use their discretion, but that discretion is not unlimited.

Police officers do not have the legal right to use more force than is necessary to protect the public, control the situation, or take a suspect into custody, and they must act consistently with their training.

They may not use excessive force.

When figuring out if a specific Iowa police shooting was an act of police brutality, the following factors should be considered:

  • Did your loved one or anyone else at the scene have a weapon?
  • Could the police officer have reasonably believed that someone had a weapon?
  • Did the police officer try less forceful means to control the situation such as verbal warnings or the use of non-deadly force?
  • Was anyone’s life in danger?
  • Did the police officer act consistently with department policy?

Your loved one can’t answer these questions for you, but other witnesses and video footage could give you the necessary information to determine if your loved one’s death was a tragic accident or the result of police brutality.

Get a Free Police Brutality Case Analysis

Before you file a police brutality wrongful death lawsuit against an Iowa State Patrol or local police officer, talk to an experienced lawyer. Our police brutality attorneys would be happy to review your case, free of charge, so that you can make an informed decision about what to do next. Contact us through this website or call us any time to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.


Jason F. Abraham
Connect with me
Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.