Excessive Force

Liability for excessive force includes violations of agency policy

Police misconduct is often defined by the use of excessive force. In Oklahoma, these excessive force claims can be proved in two ways. The first method is grounded in a constitutional standard that substantially borrows from the Fourth Amendment. There is one primary difference between the state and federal standards: whether the reasonableness of the… read more…

Court: police can’t taser subdued arrestee; impacts Oklahoma law

How long can police continue to use a Taser against a suspect? In a recent opinion from the Tenth Circuit, the court held that police must discontinue use of a Taser once a suspect is subdued. It further held the law in this regard is well-established. In Perea v. Baca, police responded to a 911 call about… read more…

10 Commandments of Police/Citizen Encounters

An encounter with police, a jailer, or any other law enforcement, can be a stressful experience, even for innocent people. Here are 10 rules to remember if you are ever approached by a police officer:  Remain respectful Always maintain the high road. Anything you do that could be perceived as disrespectful (even if lawful), will… read more…

5 Things Victims of Excessive Force Should Do

If you’re the victim of excessive force, and you want to hold the person responsible for your injuries accountable for their actions, here’s a list of five things you should do immediately afterwards:  Get immediate medical attention for your injuries Before doing anything, the victim of excessive force should have their injuries evaluated by a… read more…

Court: police responsible for excessive force under Okla. constitution

A federal judge in Oklahoma City has concluded that a police officer can be individually liable for excessive force under the Oklahoma state constitution for actions taken outside the scope of their employment. Police brutality, depending on the degree and circumstances, may not fall within a police officer’s job duties. Consequently, a municipal employer of a… read more…

Police not entitled to last word in wrongful death cases

In wrongful death cases where police kill the only witness who could contradict their version of events, is the court required to accept the testimony of the police? The issue is not uncommon in excessive force cases that result in the death of the only person involved in the police-citizen encounter. But witness testimony is not the only evidence available… read more…

Are police responsible if their actions caused a use of force event?

When police create a situation that causes a need to use force, can the police be held responsible for their actions– even if the the ultimate use of force was appropriate? The short answer is, yes. Where police act recklessly, and that conduct results in the need to use force against another person, the police… read more…

Why the shooting of Eric Harris was not justified

Last Friday, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference to explain why the shooting of Eric Harris was justified and consistent with protocols. The department also released a video of the incident. While the video supports the claim that Harris was shot by a deputy who believed that he was using a Taser,… read more…

Federal Appeals Court: Tasers are not a short-cut

Use of force events do not occur in a vacuum; they are generally governed by department policies that contain a use of force “spectrum” which define increasing levels of force, and the circumstances that justify moving from one level to the next. The spectrum typically ranges from no-force measures like “officer presence” up to the… read more…

Police Misconduct Clear In Takedown of Indian National

A widely circulated dashcam video of officer Eric Parker shows him slamming Sureshbhai Patel to the ground causing possible paralysis in a brazen display of police misconduct. Patal, an innocent man, was simply out on a morning walk. The excessive force used by Parker has shed light on a growing problem among law enforcement- police… read more…