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Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Sunday, August 21, 2016

String of Police Shootings Raises Questions of Excessive Force

When is a police shooting justified?

Recently, The Washington Post asked several experts to examine five viral videos of police shootings.  Experts included a training instructor with the police department and two criminology professors. Their analysis raised considerable questions about the use of excessive force among officers in America today.  Three of the videos examined include:

  1. Charles Kinsey:  Charles Kinsey was shot on July 18 in North Miami.  Kinsey was an African-American caregiver who was lying in the street trying to help an autistic patient.  Officers intended to shoot the patient whom they deemed a threat but accidentally shot Kinsey.  Experts reviewing the video generally agreed the patient did not appear threatening and the object in his hand was clearly not a weapon.
  2. Alton Sterling:  This hotly contested shooting started with a call from a homeless man claiming Sterling was outside a food mart with a gun.  Officers arrived, and a confrontation ensued that resulted in Sterling being shot to death.  Post experts varied in their opinion of this shooting, with some taking the position that it appeared justified because officers were losing control of the suspect who they knew was armed.  The other experts raised questions as to why the officers tackled an armed suspect in the first place.
  3. Philando Castile:  Castile was shot during a traffic stop on July 6 in Minnesota.  This shooting, which set off a wave of protests, is still under investigation.  Experts reviewing the footage questioned why the officer involved did not have Castile exit the vehicle when a passenger and child were in the car, and officers believed Castile had a weapon.

Police officers are required to follow police procedure along with state and federal laws.  When a police officer uses excessive force in shooting a victim, the officer can be subject to a wrongful death or personal injury action.  Excessive force claims will involve analysis of several factors.  For more information about police shootings and civil liability, contact New York personal injury lawyer Arthur Tisi today at  (917) 789-1390 to schedule your free consultation.  


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