Police brutality is defined as the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. “Excessive use of force” means a force well beyond what would be necessary in order to handle a situation. When an office uses a potentially deadly move such as the chokehold, this is a clear cut case of police brutality.
A potentially deadly move, the chokehold, has been banned from the New York police for 21 years, but on July 25th, 2014, police confirmed that it was investigating what seemed to be the second case of a police officer using a choke hold within a single week.
According to Reuters, the investigation of the incident started just days after a video went viral showing police using a chokehold on a Staten Island man, Eric Garner, while being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner then dies soon after which sparked a widespread craze over the issue.
These separate cases, both which were caught on camera phones, are challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign promise to mend the troubled relations between the police and New Yorkers who belong to minority groups. The maneuver was banned in 1993 because it can kill people.
The most recent case involves the arrest of a young black man, Ronald Johns, who was walking past a subway turnstile in Manhattan when he didn’t pay the fare and refused to show police his identification. While attempting to handcuff Johns, the video shows police punching him in the head and using an arm to grip Johns around his neck during the struggle, while another officer pulled on his leg.
Officer Colin McGuire is seen punching Johns at least twice in the head as Johns attempted to shield his face with his hands. Several drops of blood hit the subway tiles just moments later. “You busted his nose!” a witness shouted. “Stop resisting sweetie so they don’t hit you” another woman says. Eventually, McGruire relaxes his grip as Johns surrendered.
The New York City police department said that internal affairs are investigating the arrest of Ronald Johns. They are also investigating the death of Eric Garner along with separate investigations by the Staten Island district attorney and the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. The CCRB also said that it has begun a thorough study of the 1,022-chokehold accusations against police from 2009 to 2013.
It can be hard for the average person to know when police have brutalized them. If you feel that you have been a victim of police brutality, contact us for a free consultation. Even if you are not 100% certain, if you feel that you have been taken advantage of by the police in any way, shape or form, you should contact an attorney.