The tragic police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri again shines a light on a police force’s conduct and training in the arrest of its’ citizens. The case is now being presented to a Grand Jury in St. Louis County. It is estimated that a decision will be made by the Grand Jury in October. The issue amongst others is whether or not the officer, Darren Wilson used excessive force when he shot and killed Mr. Brown who was unarmed. The issue of police excessive force, false arrest and police brutality are the inevitable result of the trend towards heavy handed policing. The strategy of many police forces throughout the country, including the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is to decrease serious crimes through an increase of the enforcement against low level crimes. This lofty goal, referred to as the “Broken Windows Theory” is that this enforcement psychologically dissuades people from committing more serious crimes. The cost has been a dramatic increase in civil rights violations, including, false arrests, illegal search and seizures, police brutality and a disregard of due process. In addition, its’ apparent that police forces such as the one in Ferguson and the NYPD are not getting proper weapons training. There has been repeated incidents of improper police shootings and improper police discharge of weapons.
The Brown case has striking similarities to that of Eric Garner, who was placed in a choke hold by the NYPD, during an arrest that led to his death. The basis for Mr. Garner’s arrest was that he was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. In the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and throughout the surrounding boroughs of New York City, false arrests, police brutality and the use of excessive force are becoming almost daily events.
The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff is one of the biggest firms in New York representing victims who have had their civil rights violated as the result of police misconduct. Over the past few years we have seen a dramatic increase of such case.
While police are permitted to uphold the law, they are not allowed to view this as permission to violate civil rights, use excessive force and resort to police brutality. A police badge is not a free pass to engage in unconstitutional behavior.