Police Settle Excessive Force Suit

Police have settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and four deputies, claiming that the deputies used excessive force against him.  Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

The incident took place in December 2011, after Kallas, the plaintiff, had crashed his minivan.  Kallas was beaten with a flashlight and stunned by a Taser at least seven times as officers tried to get him into the back seat of a patrol car during a DUI arrest.

Portions of the incident were captured by the police dash camera, but officers eventually moved Kallas away from the cameras view.  Although not in view of the camera, screams from Kallas can be heard from the audio.  Kallas suffered a bloody head wound that required five staples at a hospital before he was taken to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Neither the deputies nor the incident were ever investigated because Kallas never filed a complaint and the department did not take issue with the amount of force used in the arrest, attorneys for the sheriff office have said.

Kallas’ lawyers had cited a “pattern of similar incidents” in the department and said the fact that none of the deputies reported anything unusual to their employer shows the officers believe “inflicting violence” on those they arrest to be “standard procedure.”

The Fourth Amendment prohibits the use of excessive force, and other forms of police misconduct.  Video of an incident of excessive force is often the best evidence for the victim, but police have no incentive to preserve or retain that video unless required by an internal policy.  If you are the victim of excessive force, it is very important that you retain experienced attorneys to request copies of any potential video before that video is erased or lost forever.

If you have questions about excessive force, or police misconduct, contact the injury attorneys at Bryan & Terrill, 918-935-2777.