Americans depend upon the police to serve and protect them, but sometimes situations can escalate and result in misunderstandings. Other times, police officers may believe that they themselves are above the law, and abuses of power can occur with everyday citizens. If you have had an incident with a police officer that resulted in intimidation, a false confession, being wrongly accused of a crime, or excessive physical force, then you may have been a victim of police misconduct.
Unfortunately, there are no official statistics that tell us just how often police misconduct occurs. However, there are resources available to you and people who can help you make things right. From talking with doctors to meeting with attorneys, here are three things you should do if you have been a victim of police misconduct and/or brutality:
Seek medical attention.
If you were injured during a confrontation with police, you’ll want to make sure that you get treatment for any wounds you may have. This includes anything from getting pepper sprayed to sustaining cuts and bruises. Even if you feel fine, you should still get to a doctor to get checked out and have your injuries documented. Having some kind of record of your doctor’s visit may be necessary evidence if your case goes to court.
Talk with witnesses.
If family, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances witnessed the incident, you may need to speak with them. Make sure that you have someone who is willing to come forward to help you defend yourself against what the police might say. You should also let them know about your injuries, if you have them, and see if anyone has video or audio evidence pertaining to the incident.
Work with an attorney.
Finally, you’ll want to find out there are any police brutality lawyers in your area who can handle your case. Attorneys who work with victims of police misconduct will be able to determine whether the incident violated any civil rights laws. Police misconduct attorneys can also help victims get in touch with any other resources they might need, especially if they have lasting or permanent injuries.
Have more questions about what you should do if you’ve been injured during a police altercation? Be sure to speak to an attorney about your encounter. You can leave a comment with us, as well.