San Jose Police Brutality Lawyers / Civil Rights Violations
Police Brutality Comes In Many Forms
Arrogant abuse of power is the common denominator in the heart-breaking personal injury and wrongful death claims we have made for our clients against the police.
Our clients encountered police officers with a warrior mentality that pits police v. civilians, as opposed to citizens. The result was death and injury. There is no place for bullies and thugs with law enforcement badges, especially when dealing with people who are delusional and in need of mental health care.
We also have represented dedicated police officers and firefighters who in a disaster you would welcome to rescue you or your family and protect you from harm. The injuries they have suffered “just doing their job” are equally heart-breaking.
Death By Paper Bag.
The San Jose Police Department brutally tortured and killed 44-year-old Hugh Rushin, who was hallucinating. He was fire hosed in the back seat of a patrol car and then a paper bag was taped over his nose and mouth. He suffocated and died. This article provides the details.
Shotgun Blast to the Face during an Arrest.
Donald Coca, 45, was arrested for a traffic violation and not immediately pulling over when the California Highway Patrol lighted him. That was a mistake, but what unfolded afterwards was uncalled for. As a result of extraordinary incompetence and stupidity, a San Jose Police officer attempted to handcuff Donald while balancing a 12-gauge shotgun on his shoulder. The cop kept his finger on the trigger. At point blank range, blast from the muzzle totally destroyed Don’s jaw, nose, and mouth. It is a miracle he survived. Here is the full story.
Death by Abandoning an Insane 26-year-old Mother.
In 2013 in a display of brutal indifference the Modesto Police Department abandoned a delusional and insane young woman, Amanda Doe age 26, who had made a bizarre 911 call late at night. The police responded, placed her four-year-old daughter in custody and when the woman refused to peacefully go with the police, the MPD left. No attempt was made to engage in the crisis intervention practices taught MPD officers by a suicide prevention psychologist who provides consulting services to the City of Modesto. MPD violated a major rule of public safety: never abandon at-risk persons who are in severe mental distress and who are suicide risks. Full account here.
Holding at Gunpoint a Driver Who Ran Over a Traffic Cone.
In 2017 Nick Buchanan was Christmas shopping at the Westfield Valley Fair mall. Exiting the parking garage, he maneuvered around a car and toppled an orange cone. A private security guard directing traffic pulled out his gun, aimed it at Nick and held him at gunpoint. The guard did not have a valid firearms permit and displaying a gun in a rude, angry, or threatening manner is a violation of California Penal Code § 417. An iPhone saved the day for. An iPhone saved the day for this case.
Commissions Study But Nothing Changes
Public outrage, resentment and disgust with brutal policing usually results in blue ribbon commissions investigating and reporting on necessary reforms, which are never implemented.
After outrage evaporates and crime flares, demands for aggressive enforcement take over the public agenda.
In 1929 the Wikersham Commission issued 14 volumes detailing police corruption and the beating of suspects to extract confessions. In 2015 after a black man, Michael Brown, was killed by Ferguson, Missouri police, another national task force on policing issued 116 pages of recommended changes in U.S. law enforcement.
With the 2020 deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor the cycle will continue.
Prosecutors Play a Role in Perpetuating Police Abuse
Prosecutors should hold police accountable and aggressively cite and censure police officers who violate constitutional rights and physically abuse suspects, largely because the police don’t police their own.
District Attorneys hold the strongest hand in deciding which cases should be prosecuted or dismissed. They should be refusing to charge cases brought by officers who repeatedly violate the rights of community members and report their reasons to the press and the public to assure full transparency. For example, Derek Chauvin, convicted of killing George Floyd had 18 complaints filed against him. That’s why the City of Minneapolis paid a record $27 million to settle the wrongful death claims by the Floyd family. That’s the lesson.
Hold Police Accountable by Suing Them
Lawsuits based on police brutality involve both personal injury and civil rights claims. Police misconduct lawsuits demand a very experienced lawyer.
The law shields police with immunity from lawsuits under what is known as qualified immunity. That is a legal concept created by judges to protect the police from lawsuits when cops act under color of law and claim that they believed the conduct was lawful at the time. In every case, whether the police acted reasonably and in accordance with established law is at the core of these lawsuits. It insulates police even when they are abusive and have run roughshod over constitutional rights.
When taking on a police department, you need lawyers highly respected in their community with a track record of collecting millions for their clients in difficult cases.
Call 888.777.1776 IF YOU have been brutalized or abused by police officers
Alexander Law Group, LLP attorneys are available to answer questions and share our knowledge of the law and the results of our experience. Our goal as personal injury lawyers is to make a difference for our clients. Every day we deal with a range issues that most people do not encounter until after an injury or death occurs. We are committed to providing our clients and the public with information on protecting their rights. Call 888-777-1776 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help you.