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Articles Tagged with excessive force

A week-long trial in San Diego ended in a jury deciding in favor of a victim of police brutality, with a $1.5 million settlement paid out by the city. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the incident in which the victim was thrown onto the ground and pepper-sprayed by police was a case of excessive force and false arrest. According to reports, San Diego police officers were aware of an assailant who was attacking the homeless population in the city. As a result, they were visiting many homeless encampments in plain clothes and not uniforms. The officers were trying to warn the homeless populations of the danger in order to keep them safe.

The authorities, who were not in uniform, gathered at a trolley stop near the Fashion Valley mall and prepared to visit a homeless encampment in a nearby riverbed to warn them about the assailant. Before they left the trolly station, they heard a loud noise in the vicinity and believed that they were taking fire from projectiles. As a result, one officer drew a gun, and when the victim was spotted, the officer approached him thinking that he was the culprit.

The plaintiff was simply heading back to his home after a night out drinking with friends. When he saw the officer approaching him and ordering him to raise his hands and get on the ground, he did not heed the orders. Because the plaintiff was not compliant with the orders, one officer pulled out pepper spray and shot him in the face with it, after which another officer slammed him to the ground, smashing his face against the pavement. The plaintiff sustained broken front teeth, jaw injuries, and nerve damage from the incident.

The plaintiff’s legal team argued that he had little time to respond to the situation and make any sense of what was happening. The noise that the officers heard was a result of an iPhone charging block being thrown and falling near the officers. When the plaintiff was given the commands, not only did he not have time to comprehend what was happening, it was also being done by officers in plain clothing.

Subsequently, the plaintiff was pulled off the ground and handcuffed. While this was happening, another individual admitted to the officers that they threw the charger. The individual who actually threw the charger faced no repercussions.

Why Did This Case Take so Long to be Seen in Court?

The case was delayed by a couple of factors including the coronavirus outbreak. Many trials and cases that were to be seen in the courts were delayed as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, city lawyers were successful in having the judge presiding over this incident be removed from the case just before it came to trial. These lawyers believed the judge made many adverse rulings and may be biased. Continue reading

Arrested for stealing $5.05 worth of candy and soda, a 24-year-old man from Portsmouth, Virginia, Jamycheal Mitchell, has allegedly been starved to death by prison guards. Mitchell has been repeatedly diagnosed with psychotic and delusional disorders, has allegedly been left to starve in squalid prison conditions. His aunt, Roxanne Adams, has filed a lawsuit against the prison.

It is reported that his medical records show that he died of a “heart condition “accompanying wasting syndrome of unknown etiology.” The lawsuit alleges that “jail staff had allegedly denied him many meals, cut off the water to his cell and left him naked with no bedding or shoes as he smeared feces on the window of his urine-covered cell.” He had lost 40 pounds in his time in Hampton Roads Regional Jail, and was “nearly cachetic.” The lawsuit also alleges that inmates pleaded with guards to help Mitchell, to no avail.    

The 112 page complaint identifies 39 defendants, including the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, the state Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services and the private prison health care firm, NaphCare. Adams is demanding a jury trial and $60 million in damages for wrongful death. The prison is not commenting on the suit.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s (DA) office announced that it would not press charges against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, Daniel Andrew, who was recorded on a cell phone throwing down a woman and repeatedly punching her alongside the 10 Freeway. The district attorney’s office issued a 30-page report concluding that Officer Andrew was “required to use some level of force” to keep the victim, Marlene Pinnock, from running or walking out onto freeway traffic. The DA’s office further stated that Andrew was by himself and had a duty to protect both Ms. Pinnock and commuters from a potentially dangerous situation.

Back in 2014, a cell phone recording of this incident was released online and caused public outrage. The DA’s decision not to file criminal charges comes nine months after the final use-of-force report was issued on Pinnock’s original arrest on July 1, 2014. It has also been over a year since CHP gave the DA their report on their criminal investigation into Andrew’s actions.  The video shows him throwing Ms. Pinnock down to the ground, sitting on her, and punching her at least ten times. Andrew was also forced to resign as part of a $1.5-million settlement reached in September in an excessive force lawsuit filed in federal court by Pinnock against CHP. Civil rights advocates had pushed for additional criminal charges.

What is the Standard for Use of Force?

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