When police officers are called to a scene where multiple people are present, they are given the authority to apply force to anyone who they believe is interfering with their ability to perform their duties. For example, let’s say an officer arrived at a party or location where teens were said to be engaging in underage drinking. As the officer was in the process of questioning one of the teens, a few others became rowdy which prevented the officer doing his/her job.
In this case, the officer could lawfully apply a level of force to gain control over the situation so that they could carry on with their investigation. With that said, police officers do not have the authority to physically injure a person who is legally permitted to be in a place and who is it not obstructing them from doing their job. Officers who apply a level of force that is unnecessary or unreasonable is guilty of applying excessive force and can be held liable for their misconduct.
How does a West Palm Beach, FL resident hold an officer accountable for misconduct?
As someone who has been physically harmed by a West Palm Beach police officer, you have the right to file a complaint against the department and even hire a West Palm Beach, FL police brutality lawyer who can help you file a civil lawsuit.
Filing a complaint against an officer employed in West Palm Beach
If a Palm Beach County Sheriff applied excessive force against you which resulted in you suffering injuries, you can file a complaint with the agency’s Division of Internal Affairs. This unit is in charge of accepting and investigating complaints that are made against employees of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. A complaint can be submitted online or in-person and the Sheriff’s office says the average timeline for an investigation to be completed can take anywhere from 30 days to six months. It all depends on the type of case and whether or not other agencies need to get involved.
If you wish to file a complaint against an officer who works for the West Palm Beach Police Department, the process would be the same although you would need to contact the agency at (561) 822-1200 to obtain a copy of their complaint form.
Suing a West Palm Beach, FL Police Officer for Excessive Force
As a bystander, you have legal rights and when those rights are deprived by an officer of the law, you can seek legal counsel and file a civil lawsuit against the department or an officer. When filing your lawsuit, you can request that the officer or agency provide you with damages for things like pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and more. Now, because a police department is considered a government agency, there may be a specific procedure you must follow when filing your lawsuit.
To ensure you follow the proper steps and have enough evidence to support your allegations, we do recommend that you contact Smith & Vanture to speak with a skilled West Palm Beach, FL police brutality lawyer.
Smith & Vanture can be contacted at:
580 Village Blvd Suite 200
West Palm Beach, FL 33409