Over the past several years, there have been many accusations of police using excessive force that resulted in the deaths individuals they claim were criminal suspects. In many of the more prominent cases, officers have faced allegations of police brutality in criminal court. Arizona residents who have been victims of an abuse of power may feel as if they do not have an option for seeking relief for monetary damages sustained.
Recently, officials in one city released body camera footage of a shooting incident that occurred at a drive-through eatery in the overnight hours. According to police, a 20-year-old African-American male was sleeping in his vehicle with a firearm visible in his lap. The video shows approximately six officers surrounding the vehicle and allegedly discussing how to handle the situation. Police reportedly planned to open the doors, remove the weapon and pull the sleeping man from the vehicle.
As officers prepared to take action, the man stirred in his sleep and supposedly moved an arm closer to the weapon. Video shows officers shouting for the man to raise his hands just a few seconds before they opened fire into the windows of the car. According to a family spokesperson who viewed the footage, more than 20 shots were fired at the sleeping man.
The police department stated that the officers involved feared for their safety and reacted to protect themselves. This particular police department is already under scrutiny for several other incidents involving claims of police brutality. There has been a public outcry over social media surrounding this incident, which has been referred to as an execution-style shooting. Arizona residents who have suffered in similar circumstances -- or have lost a loved one in such a manner --may have grounds to seek compensation for documented monetary damages through a civil lawsuit.