FAQS About Police Brutality, Abuse & Excessive Force


Can I sue for emotional damages for excessive force used during an arrest?

If you have been a victim of police brutality and suffered a serious injury you may be able to sue to recover damages for your injuries. However, what constitutes police brutality in one situation may not necessarily be considered police brutality in another situation. And, as can be seen in the news footage (below, right), police will attempt to minimize, justify and defend their actions as being appropriate.

Police are allowed to use reasonable and necessary force when making an arrest or handling a suspect. If a suspect uses a weapon, fights back, or attempts escape, police may be able to argue additional force was necessary to make an arrest. If a person does not resist arrest but is still tazered, pepper sprayed, or otherwise physically assaulted by police, then the force might be considered unnecessary and excessive.

The above news video shows a Sacramento, CA man, John Compagne, handcuffed and in custody in January 2009. An officer in a holding cell slams his head into the wall knocking him unconscious. After reviewing the video, Sheriff John McGinness agreed that excessive force was used but defends the officer (who was disciplined) stating "there was never any intent to hurt Compagne," and argued that the "suspect provoked the response," calling the incident "unacceptable, but explainable."

Law enforcement officials have lawyers trying to prove you were to blame for your injuries, or force used was necessary and reasonable. You need a skilled civil rights attorney to get the facts of your case.

If you suffered an injury resulting from police brutality or excessive force, you need expert legal representation. Our attorneys have a solid track record for successfully settling and litigating a variety of civil rights abuse lawsuits.

Call our Beverly Hills, CA office at (310) 275-9131 or our office in Santa Barbara at (805) 962-0099.

How much money can I get for damages for pain and suffering / emotional distress?

Damages for emotional distress/pain and suffering are damages (financial compensation) awarded beyond reimbursement for actual expenses. These types of damages are sometimes awarded as a way of financially punishing a wrongdoer or to send a message to others certain acts will not be tolerated by society.

The amount of money you may be awarded for damages in a civil lawsuit depends on several things:

  • The severity of injury or degree of wrongdoing;
  • Proving negligence, or intentional wrongdoing;
  • Maximum recovery amounts that may be determined by law; and
  • How effectively your attorney develops and presents your case. [Our California Civil Rights Law Practice]

Emotional damages (sometimes also referred to as damages for pain and suffering) are known as "torts" in the legal profession. In the case of physical injury or a wrongful death, a tort may exist if a negligent or intentional act of another results in injury or death to another person.

Torts are considered civil wrongs as a opposed to criminal acts, but for some crimes (like battery) a person may face both civil and criminal penalties.

Free Civil Rights Legal Consultation with Police Brutality Attorney

Because injuries can heal quickly, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible. We can help you properly document the extent of your injuries and ensure valuable evidence is preserved.

We offer a free consultation to help you understand your civil rights and the value of your case. You can contact us through our website, or call our Beverly Hills, CA office at (310) 275-9131.

Use of Excessive Force / Policy Brutality is a Civil Rights Violation

Law enforcement, including police officers, detectives, sheriffs, deputies, and security guards are not permitted to act with excessive force. The use of excessive force is a direct violation of the civil rights under Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution regarding cruelty and protection of citizens.

FAQS About Police Brutality and Your Civil Rights

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