There's a fine line between reasonable and excessive police force

Everyone in Illinois, even someone suspected of having committed a crime, has a constitutional right to not be treated with excessive force. This protection is afforded to all Americans under the reasonable search and seizure guidelines of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Eighth Amendment also prohibits individuals from being subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

Government or law enforcement officers are only authorized to use a display of force necessary to protect themselves and others from getting hurt or to diffuse an incident.

While a use of force may be appropriate as part of military operations or in handling prisoners, any law enforcement officer who uses excessive force in order to make an arrest may be accused of police brutality.

U.S. Supreme Court justices have previously ruled that law enforcement officers should only threaten or physically coerce a suspect in a way that is proportionate to the threat that the individual poses. They also argue that they should take action on a graduated approach, only resorting to excessive force as a last resort.

One of the first steps that the Supreme Court justices argue that officers should take is to strengthen their physical presence then follow that up by providing direct verbal orders. If neither one of those approaches works, then the Supreme Court justices have advocated for officers to use empty-hand control which includes grabs, kicks, punches or holds.

In instances where none of the aforementioned actions work, police officers are authorized to use less lethal methods including tasers, dogs, pepper spray or batons to try to neutralize a situation. It's only after these four other types of action have failed that they may use lethal force which includes firearms.

When asked to make a determination as to whether excessive force was used, Chicago investigators will consider whether the suspect was attempting to flee or resist arrest, how much of a danger that they posed and how serious that their alleged crime was. They'll also take into account whether warnings were given and what alternative types of actions could have been taken.

Any violence inflicted on civilians by law enforcement has the potential of violating the public's trust. It's critical that we let them know that we do not tolerate police violence. An attorney with experience handling police brutality claims may be able to help you pursue legal remedies if you've fallen victim to such violence.

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