Police officers must protect the public in dangerous situations, and the public puts great trust in each officer’s ability to make challenging decisions quickly.
To prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities, officers are trained in a continuum of techniques to protect the public. These techniques range from the presence of a uniformed officer to the use of deadly force, with many steps in-between. Depending on the unique situation, an officer may use one or more of these methods to protect the public from harm. However, a police officer may not use excessive force in any situation.
In All Cases, a Police Officer’s Actions Must be Reasonable
Police officers must use reasonable force to control the actual situation or the situation that they have reason to believe exists.
In some cases, after other methods of protecting the public have been tried, an officer’s use of deadly force may be reasonable if there is a significant threat to public safety. If the deadly force was reasonable, then the family members of the person who was killed will not have a wrongful death action.
However, if the deadly force was excessive given the circumstances, then the family members may have a wrongful death action.
Excessive force is the opposite of reasonable force. Excessive force is defined as more force than is necessary to control the situation. The Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and other laws protect the public from police officers’ excessive force.
When a Police Officer’s Fatal Force Is a Wrongful Death
A police department might be liable for a wrongful death if a police officer’s use of deadly force was excessive given the situation. The facts of each individual case will determine whether deadly force was excessive. Some things to consider include:
- Whether anyone was in imminent harm of serious injury or death
- Whether the police officer could have believed that anyone was in immediate danger of suffering a serious injury or death
- What options the police officer tried before using deadly force
- Whether the police officer reasonably assumed that your loved one was armed
- The victim’s cooperation with a police officer’s efforts to question or arrest the victim prior to using deadly force
An experienced police brutality lawyer can help you analyze what happened and advise you about your legal options.
What to Do If You Have a Police Brutality Wrongful Death Case
Police brutality lawsuits are complicated. You may face many challenges in your pursuit of justice. However, our experienced police brutality lawyers can:
- Gather evidence, including videos
- Locate witnesses
- Make compelling legal arguments
- Negotiate with the police department on your behalf
- Take your case to court
Before you decide whether to file a police brutality wrongful death claim, contact Hupy and Abraham for a free and confidential consultation. Our experienced police brutality lawyers negotiated the largest police brutality settlement in Wisconsin history, and we will fight hard for your family’s fair recovery of:
- Medical expenses incurred from the time of the police officer’s excessive force until the time of death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Other damages caused by the officer’s excessive force
These damages won’t change the horrible loss that your family has suffered because of the police, but it may ease the financial burdens caused by your loved one’s death. Additionally, police brutality wrongful death cases send a strong message to Wisconsin police departments that police brutality will not be tolerated, and that officers found to have used excessive force will be held accountable.
Legal fees should not be a barrier to justice if a police officer’s excessive force killed your loved one. Call us today and ask about our Win or It’s Free Guarantee! We welcome your call any time, and we would be pleased to meet with you in any of our Wisconsin offices, Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, or Wausau, or at your home.