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Police Brutality Claims in NYC

Police brutality cases in New York City by the NYPD appear to be on the rise. Now that every citizen carries around video recording capabilities on their mobile phones these incidents of police brutality and excessive force are often captured on video. One would hope that such incidents would decrease as technologies improve the ability to capture wrongdoing by the police. Although many officers work hard to make our communities safer under difficult circumstances, certain officers take advantage of their badge to commit serious criminal acts while on duty.

When these sworn "peace" officers allow the stress of their job to cause them to commit unspeakable acts of violence while on duty, the officers and the law enforcement agencies that employ them should be held accountable. The victims of police brutality can suffer from life threatening injuries or permanent disability.

Even after the physical wounds begin to heal, the victims of police brutality may suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In certain cases, the victims of these vicious attacks may be able to sue the law enforcement officer and the agency that employs those officer for money damages. These lawsuits are often brought in federal court.

Police Brutality Attorney for NYPD Claims

If a law enforcement officer committed an act of police brutality against you which caused serious injury or disability, then seek out the services of an experienced and compassionate civil rights attorney in New York City. Rochelle Berliner has successfully handled several recent high-profile cases involving both police brutality and an officer caught on tape planting evidence against innocent citizens.

As a member of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP), Rochelle Berliner supports NPAP's mission of ending police misconduct through public education, coordinated legal action, and public education. Civil rights attorneys act as an important check on minimizing incidents of police corruption. Without these important lawsuits, such shocking cases would largely go unchecked.


New York Police Brutality Information Center


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Types of Police Brutality Cases in New York City

Police Brutality cases involve any illegal conduct by a law enforcement officer that crosses the line between reasonable force to make an arrest and excessive force which is unreasonable under the circumstances. Police brutality cases can also result once the arrest had been completed while on the way to booking. Types of police brutality cases in New York City include the following:

Many studies suggest that most police brutality incidents goes unreported in New York City. Fear of retaliation causes many individuals to forgo filing a formal complaint or seeking legal assistance. As a result, the same officers tend to make the same mistakes or commit the same crimes over and over again.


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Police Brutality by NYPD

Recently, the news has been filed with police brutality cases involving the City of New York Police Department or NYPD. Nearly $1 billion dollars has been paid over the last 10 years to settle claims against NYPD with much of that money being paid for excessive use of force and police brutality claims.

Despite the magnitude of these civil damages paid out, many argue that little is done to address the cause of the problems. Officers are rarely subjected to punishments after disciplinary hearings. NYPD officers are actively discouraged from coming forward with information about crimes committed by other police officers. Training programs instill a culture of authoritarian control over the citizens subjected to criminal investigations and arrests. Even after paying out money to settle civil claims, NYPD continues to employ the same officers with numerous allegations of serious incidents of police brutality.

As the video taping of these incidents of police brutality become more common because of cell phones and surveillance equipment at area businesses. In other cases, one police officer may cross the thin blue line to tell a supervisor about a criminal act committed by a fellow officer during the line of duty. Without independent eye witness testimony or physical evidence, these case are often difficult to prove.

A civil rights attorney has numerous tools at their disposal including ordering the internal affairs file for the officer involved to see if a pattern of misconduct can be established. Additionally, your attorney can determine whether any surveillance tapes at area businesses captured the incident. Act quickly because most business will only preserve the tapes of a very short period of time. Your attorney can also assist you with preserving physical evidence of the attack and securing the names and address of witnesses that may have first hand knowledge of what occurred.


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Causes of Police Brutality in New York City

The causes of the shocking incidents of police brutality that occur each year are difficult to determine. Unlike other types of professions, police officers are armed and allowed to use force to make an arrest. In fact, we expect officers to use reasonable force when necessary. However, inadequate training and supervision often leaves police officers with a feeling that they are above the law.

Furthermore, the impact of the events of 9/11 cannot be underestimated. Certainly, many honorable men and women joined the NYPD after 9/11. However, the public's demand for a "war on terror" often translate into an authoritarian culture aimed at controlling its citizens. The mechanisms for accountability have been eased in New York City since 9/11 which also helps explain part of the causes of police misconduct as officers become accustomed to acting with complete impunity.

When that lack of accountability takes hold, incidents of police brutality increase. The City of New York Police Department also contributes to such an "authoritarian culture" by discouraging officers from reporting criminal acts committed by fellow officers. Problems in internal investigations proceedings also contribute to the increase in shocking incidents of police brutality that occur each year. In fact, internal investigations rarely lead to any meaningful disciplinary action. Investigators often side with the NYPD officers even when the evidence shows those accounts are completely false. Even serious and repeated complaints of police brutality involving the same officers often go without any serious investigation.

The failure the NYPD to take the appropriate action when police misconduct is found caused a disservice to the honest and hardworking law enforcement officers that work throughout New York City. Furthermore, as incidents of police misconduct increase the public's confidence in our law enforcement agencies decreased which causes additional problems for our criminal justice system.


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Resources for New York Police Brutality

Commission to Combat Police Corruption - This Commission reviews complaints and monitors of police abuse made against the New York Police Department. To begin filing a complaint, call: (800) 341-CCRB (800-341-2272).

Top Five Worst NYPD Brutality Moments - Article from News One which discusses the five worst stories of police brutality by NYPD officers. The worst NYPD police brutality case included the 2001 case for Haitian immigrant Abner Louima who sued the city and won a 5.8 million dollar settlement after Brooklyn police officer Justin Volpe sodomized the man with a broomstick inside a Brooklyn police station in 1997. The prosecution of the Brooklyn NYPD officer lead to a 30 year prison sentence for the arresting officer.

Three NYPD Officers Acquitted in Police Brutality Trial - Although the verdict received less public outrage than similar verdicts in the past, three NYPD officers were acquitted of all criminal charges, despite the fact that a fellow officer testified that he witnessed the officer sodomizing the man with a police baton in a Brooklyn subway station after he was caught smoking marijuana.


Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | NYPD Brutality Lawyer

Victims of police brutality may experience psychological trauma, in addition to physical injury. You should not have to suffer for the brutality inflicted unlawfully by an officer of the law. Contact a civil rights attorney in Queens and New York City, Rochelle Berliner, to discuss your legal options during an in-office or over the phone consultation. Call (718) 261-5600 for a free and honest assessment of your case.

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New York State Association
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Legal Committee

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