What Qualifies as Excessive Force?

When a police officer uses excessive force during an arrest it violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If you’ve been a victim of excessive force you may have a claim to a lawsuit against the arresting office or even the city that employs the officer. But first, you’ll need to know what qualifies as excessive force and how to prove that it was used against you.

Excessive force by police in Arizona

excessive force during arrestPolice officers are allowed to use the force necessary to make an arrest and to defend themselves. In cases involving excessive force, the judge will ask the jury to decide whether the officer used more force than necessary based on what a reasonable person with the officer’s knowledge would deem necessary. Whether the person being arrest appears to have committed a felony or a misdemeanor also comes into play when determining if the officer used excessive force. The ability to prove that an officer’s force was excessive relies heavily on facts.

Proving whether a police officer used brutal or excessive force

In police brutality cases, it is up to the plaintiff to prove that the defendant used excessive force while the defendant must prove that the force was necessary. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, there is usually a presumption that the officer acted with the necessary force that the plaintiff must overcome. The plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence that the officer used excessive force. Whether or not the plaintiff is guilty of the crime they were arrested for is not valid evidence for the office to use in these cases. But if the plaintiff is able to prove their innocence it is easier to prove that the officer used excessive force during the arrest.

If you believe excessive force was used against you in an arrest, contact one of our lawyers here.