Police Brutality FAQs

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Police brutality leads to many questions. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive. Please browse these questions and answers to start learning more about police brutality cases and recoveries.

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  • Is a police officer’s use of a Taser always police brutality?

    Wisconsin Police officers taser on hip of belt

    No, a police officer’s use of a Taser is not always evidence of police brutality. Instead, each case that involves a police officer using a Taser must be considered individually to determine if the police acted with excessive force.

    Tasers are lawful weapons that may be used by police officers. Tasers, also referred to as stun guns, emit electricity rather than bullets. However, Tasers—like all weapons—may only be used as a means of reasonable force given the circumstances.

    Tasers May Be Part of Police Brutality Cases

    When determining whether a Taser was used lawfully, courts will consider what a hypothetical reasonable police officer would have done in similar circumstances. Specifically, the court might consider:

    • The seriousness of the alleged crime that the officer reasonably believed was committed.
    • Whether the person who was tased was reasonably thought to be a threat to himself, the police officer, or the public.
    • Whether a reasonable officer would have used other, less harmful, methods to control the situation.
    • Whether the police identified themselves as cops and warned the person to comply with their requests.
    • Whether the police officer used the Taser in compliance with the police department’s policies and procedures.

    The courts might consider other things like how many times the person was hit by the Taser and whether the person who was tased was already injured before the officer used the Taser.

    Take Action If a Taser Was Used Against You With Excessive Force

    Tasers can cause serious injuries or death. If you have been hurt, or if your loved one has been killed, by a Wisconsin police officer’s use of a Taser—then you deserve to know whether you have a potential police brutality case.

    Our experienced police brutality lawyers are committed to helping people who have been hurt by police violence. No one should be the victim of a cop’s excessive force.

    Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. We will review what happened to you, and if you have been the victim of police brutality then we will fight hard to get you the fair and just recovery that you deserve.

  • Can I recover damages if my loved one is killed by the police?

    Family Member Grieves After a Police Brutality Death in Wisconsin

    The police who you thought were protecting your community and your family are responsible for your loved one’s death. This can leave you with many questions as you mourn the loss of your loved one. One of those questions is the one you ask here or, more specifically, whether the police department can be held accountable for your loved one’s death and whether the government should be required to pay for things such as the medical expenses your loved one received prior to death, funeral costs, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses.

    To Recover Damages You Will Need to Prove Police Brutality

    You may have a legal case and you may be able to recover damages if you can prove that the police used excessive force or force beyond what was necessary in the situation that led to your loved one’s death.

    Police brutality can be difficult to prove since, in most cases, the police are likely to deny that they used excessive force. For this reason, in order to recover damages in a police brutality case you are going to need evidence. While every case is unique, some types of evidence that may be useful in proving your police brutality claim include:

    • Police dispatch records
    • Video cameras in police vehicles, police stations, or prisons
    • Body cameras on police officers
    • Video surveillance from surrounding businesses or homes
    • Witness statements

    Together, this information can help you, your attorney, the police, and the court understand exactly what happened to your loved one. However, you will need to act quickly to preserve the evidence that will get to the truth of what happened to your loved one

    Contact an Experienced Police Brutality Lawyer If Your Loved One’s Been Killed

    Our Wisconsin police brutality lawyers have settled the largest police brutality case in state history. We would be pleased to provide you with a free and confidential consultation so that you can learn more about your rights and about how we may be able to help you get the recovery that you deserve after a police brutality wrongful death. Contact us anytime via text, phone, or email to find out more.

  • How do I report a police brutality injury in Wisconsin?

    Wisconsin Victim Using the Phone to Report Police Brutality

    According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, you should first report any allegation of police misconduct to the head of the police department or the sheriff’s department that employs the officer who hurt you. Some departments have internal affairs departments that will investigate and handle allegations of excessive force or police brutality. In other cases, you may need to notify the mayor or the town manager of the municipality that employs the officer.

    The Milwaukee Police Department Citizen Complaint Process

    As an example, let’s consider how you would report a police brutality allegation in the City of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Police Department states that “As a citizen, if you believe you have been mistreated or have not received adequate service, you have a moral and legal right to express dissatisfaction with your police department.” This includes allegations of police brutality. If you file a complaint, it is a good idea to do it in writing and to include:

    • Your personal information including your name, birthdate, address, and phone number.
    • The date, time, and place of the incident.
    • A description of what occurred.
    • The names of all parties involved and any witnesses.
    • Any records, photographs, or other evidence that you may have.

    You may write your own report or you can download the Citizen Complaint Form and return it to any Milwaukee Police Department district station or mail it to:

    Milwaukee Police Department
    Internal Affairs Division
    6680 North Teutonia Avenue Room 325
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53209

    You can file your complaint by:

    • Going to a police station.
    • Scheduling a meeting with a department supervisor.
    • Reporting it to the Internal Affairs Division.
    • Reporting it to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

    You may also file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

    Don’t Forget to Protect Your Rights by Contacting a Police Brutality Lawyer   

    An attorney can help you not only with filing a complaint with the right local, state, or federal agencies but an attorney can also represent you in court and fight for your fair recovery of damages. To learn more about your rights and about how to protect them, please contact our experienced police brutality lawyers at any time to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

  • I’ve been charged with a crime. During my arrest the police acted with excessive force and I was hurt. Will pursuing a civil police brutality case impact my criminal case?

    You can file a police brutality lawsuit even if you’ve been charged with a crime.

    You may have been hurt by police brutality while you were being arrested for a crime. However, even during an arrest you have legal rights. Police officers do not have the right to use excessive force against you. If you are hurt by police brutality then you have the right to consult with a police brutality lawyer and to pursue justice—even if there is a criminal case pending against you.

    While some facts may overlap, the criminal case against you and a civil police brutality case are independent of one another.

    The Criminal Case and the Police Brutality Case Will Be Handled Separately

    The two cases have different standards of proof, will be heard in different courts, and will have different outcomes. Furthermore, different government lawyers will represent the government’s interests in the criminal case against you and your police brutality case. While government prosecutors will try to make the case that you broke the law, government defense attorneys will represent the municipality, the state of Wisconsin, or the United States in any civil police brutality case that you bring.

    Contact a Police Brutality Lawyer Today to Make Sure That Your Rights are Protected

    You are likely trusting a criminal defense lawyer to help you with the criminal case pending against you. You also deserve legal representation in any police brutality case that you bring. You did not deserve to be hurt by excessive force, and our experienced police brutality lawyers will work hard to make sure that your rights are protected now.

    Please contact us online or call our office directly at 800.800.5678 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to welcome you in any of our Wisconsin offices, Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison or Wausau, or to come to you if you can’t come to us. Please call us, text us, or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

  • What is police brutality?

    Do You Know What Police Brutality Is?

    Sometimes police officers have to use force to protect themselves or the public from harm. The law allows police officers to use reasonable force to arrest a suspect or to protect someone from getting hurt.

    Unfortunately, some police officers abuse their power and position. Instead of acting with reasonable force they act with excessive force and hurt a member of the public.

    The Use of Excessive Force Is Police Brutality

    The difference between reasonable force and excessive force is dependent on the unique circumstances of the situation. When reviewing a police officer’s actions, it is important to consider things such as:

    • What a reasonable police officer would have done in the same circumstances.
    • Whether the suspect or member of the public was armed.
    • Whether the police officer had reason to believe that he, a fellow officer, or a member of the public, was in physical danger.

    These factors are considerably more important than any physical harm that is done by the police officer. Imagine, for example, that a police officer used deadly force and a person died as a result. If the officer reasonably believed that the person posed a serious physical threat to the public or the officer, then the officer may have used reasonable force even though the person died because of his actions. If, however, the person did not pose a serious physical threat and the police officer killed the person anyway, then the police officer may have used excessive force.

    Examples of Police Brutality

    Excessive force may involve a gun or a physical attack, but it doesn’t always. The following may be examples of police brutality:

    • Violence or a physical attack
    • Strip search
    • Use of tasers or stun guns
    • Shootings
    • Restraints

    Whether any one of these things is considered police brutality in a specific situation will depend on the specific circumstances of the situation.

    Each Case of Police Brutality Is Unique—it Is Important to Talk to an Experienced Police Brutality Lawyer

    Police brutality is against the law. If an officer has used excessive force, humiliated you, or otherwise acted in a way that was out of line given the situation and you have suffered an injury as a result, then you may have a police brutality case.

    You can expect that the police department is going to fight back against your allegations of police brutality. Since each police brutality case is highly dependent on the unique facts of the situation that led to an injury, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your claim and advise you of your legal rights.

    Hupy and Abraham has secured the largest police brutality settlement in Wisconsin state history. We understand how to evaluate police brutality claims and how to fight for the rights of our clients.

    If you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us, please contact us online or call our office directly at 800.800.5678. We would be happy to speak with you and to discuss whether you may have been the victim of police brutality.