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Questions abound over quiet dismissal of police brutality case

In moments of crisis, it is customary to summon police officers for assistance. Unfortunately, sometimes the police respond in a manner that is out of proportion to the circumstances. Arizona residents who have been victims of overzealous law enforcement actions may have a basis for filing a police brutality claim.

Last August, a distraught mother in another state was unable to peacefully resolve a fight between two of her sons. She asked for a neighbor to call police to help get the situation under control. During the 911 call, it was suggested that one of the men may have a weapon in his possession. When police arrived, they were prepared for a violent confrontation. However, by that time, the fight had been settled and the parties involved were calm.

Officers immediately ordered the family members to the ground. Though they attempted to explain that the situation was under control, they complied with the officers' orders. When the mother resumed standing at one point, an officer shoved her back to the ground. Another officer used a Taser on one son repeatedly, in spite of the man's cooperation. Two sons were taken into custody, though it was not clear under what circumstances and charges were later dropped.

Some of the officers involved did not turn on their body cameras, which is a violation of the police department's regulations. The mother was informed through her attorney that the district attorney is not pursuing charges against the officers in spite of community outrage after viewing dash camera recordings of the incident. Furthermore, neither the police department or the DA's office contacted the family directly to explain the decision not to prosecute the officers. Anytime Arizona residents are victims of maltreatment by law enforcement, they may be unsure of their rights. An experienced attorney can advise as to whether a police brutality civil lawsuit could be a viable means for seeking compensation for monetary damages.

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