One of the most egregious forms of police brutality is when an officer shoots someone without clear justification. Police do receive training regarding the use of force to prevent these kinds of situations from happening.
An incident where an officer in Texas fatally shot an unarmed man to death over an unidentified conflict is currently under investigation.
Texas driver is killed by police during a traffic stop for dubious reasons
The situation began when an officer from the Temple department tried to pull the 28 year old male victim over for speeding at night. The official report sent from the city to the state attorney general’s office claims that the victim did not stop when ordered to do so, and a short chase began. The officer did eventually make a traffic stop and approached the victim’s PT Cruiser. The language in the report becomes extremely vague at this point, and merely states that there was “some sort of altercation” that led the officer to discharge his gun without much further explanation.
The report does not provide any detail as to whether there was a physical struggle between the victim and the officer, or if the use of force was necessary to prevent further injuries. The victim would have only been charged with evading the police during the attempted traffic stop, and no other offenses were ever listed in the arrest documentation. The entire arrest report is seven pages, but even within this fairly lengthy document, there are not many answers given as to why the officer chose to fire his weapon.
A Dallas based attorney who represents the victim and his family claims that the police report is probably dishonest. He believes that his client likely proceeded further after the officers activated their emergency lights to find a safe place to pull over. He also added that the report was purposely left vague so that the officer could make a coverup story at a later time.
The city of Temple is located several miles northeast of the capital city of Austin. The Texas Rangers, who are the statewide police force, are leading the investigation. A spokesperson for the Rangers claims that their investigation is almost complete, but they cannot comment further at this point. The officer who fired the deadly shot was placed on administrative leave while they are looking into the situation.
The report concludes by saying that the victim died from a gunshot wound to the head, and that the officer on the scene attempted to administer life saving medical treatment. Texas law was amended in 2015 to require a department to report any officer involved shooting that resulted in injuries or death to the attorney general within thirty days.
The decision to use deadly force
While police officers are allowed to use deadly force in some situations, it is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. Some officers have found themselves implicated in civil wrongful death lawsuits or even charged criminally for murder if they utilized deadly force on someone who posed no real threat of violence. Departments also investigate their own personnel to determine if their use of force was warranted given the situation.
Civil lawsuits following police violence
As this news report shows, a victim or their family can retain their own attorney to advocate on their behalf and scrutinize the official version of the incident. The department may have to pay out through a settlement agreement or after a trial to compensate the family for their losses.
Get help from a local lawyer in your state
A directory of police brutality lawyers is available on USAttorneys.com. They can provide assistance to victims of law enforcement violence and misconduct.