Although police officers sometimes have to use a measure of physical force when dealing with the general public, they are required to use only an appropriate level of force for the situation at hand. Sadly, that thin line between reasonable and excessive force is crossed far too often—including in Oklahoma. Fortunately, there is legal recourse for victims of such police brutality, mainly in the form of filing an excessive force lawsuit in Oklahoma.
What Constitutes Excessive Force?
Excessive force can be defined as using an amount of force that exceeds what is necessary for a law enforcement officer to gain compliance or control a situation. Excessive force can also occur when an officer attempts to diffuse a situation, protect themselves, or protect others from harm.
For example, let’s say a man is walking down the middle of a street while intoxicated, and an officer instructs him to get onto the sidewalk and out of the road. The man doesn’t respond to the officer audibly but seems to be making his way out of the street. The officer, unsatisfied with the response, then decides to run full speed and tackle the man to the ground violently, causing him to hit his head on the pavement and suffer a severe concussion. The intoxicated man would have a valid reason to pursue an excessive force suit against that officer.
Unfortunately, excessive force has become one of the more common types of police misconduct—a fact confirmed by numerous incidents that have received widespread news coverage in recent years. Still, not every case of excessive force by a police officer becomes a viral story, and not every case is as severe as the ones that do. That said, it remains a common occurrence that happens on a daily basis—even as officers are now required to stop others from doing it. Injuries from excessive force include head injuries, broken bones, sprains, lacerations, burns from pepper spray, and psychological trauma.
Is Excessive Force Ever Permitted?
No, excessive means excessive—it’s more than necessary. There are, of course, plenty of reasons a police officer would need to use some level of force on a person, especially if their own life or someone else’s is in immediate danger. Even deadly force can be justified. But again, any level of force that goes beyond what is needed to obtain control of the situation or receive compliance is excessive.
Filing an Excessive Force Lawsuit in Oklahoma
Anyone who has suffered physical injuries or mental and emotional trauma resulting from excessive force on account of a police officer can file a lawsuit seeking civil damages, which can include damages for medical bills and lost wages, along with non-economic and compensatory damages for pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been victimized by excessive force, you need compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys on your side. Overman Legal Group is always ready to step in on your behalf. Our team will exhaust every resource in your case and ensure you receive what you deserve for enduring the breach in the offending officer’s (and/or department’s) duty of care.
Trust your case to a team of attorneys who will aggressively pursue what you’re entitled to as a victim of excessive force committed by someone supposedly sworn to serve and protect you.