A local New Haven police officer has walked away from yet another brutality investigation. In what seems to either be a pattern of excessive force or a very strange coincidence, the local officer has faced numerous accusations of abuse in the past and all but one have resulted in him being completely cleared of wrongdoing.
Local activists held a protest this week in response to what they feel is a departmental brush-off to the victim and accuser.
The man who accused him of brutality is a Guatemalan immigrant who was present when his brother in law was receiving a traffic ticket. According to the New Haven Independent, the man was shoved to the ground, punched, kicked, and verbally berated by the officer. According to the police department, however, his actions were warranted.
Although the local group New Haven Against Police Brutality states they aren't taking sides in the matter, one spokesperson for the group states the department's nonchalant attitude towards the victim is a complete “injustice”.
The alleged assault took place in January 2008. The department stated they opened an investigation soon after. According to a letter the victim claims he just received, the investigation was completed in January 2010, though they just got around to informing him of the findings.
Those findings were stated in the letter as follows: “The investigation concluded there was no evidence to support the allegation of verbal abuse. Regarding the allegation of Excessive Force, the officers were exonerated since their actions were found to be lawful, justified, and proper.”
While there's really no telling how the arrest actually went down, it's a true he said/he said case, the officer's pattern of brutality complaints raises suspicions. How does one go about getting 9 different brutality investigations when one is completely innocent of acting with excessive force? One wrongful complaint is believable. Even two is a possibility. But nine seems a little extreme.
When you look at the big picture, police brutality is rare. Considering how many arrests and officer confrontations occur on a daily basis, excessive force isn't a regular issue. But, when accusations do surface, they must be taken seriously.
Proving a police officer acted outside of the realm of “reasonable” force can be very difficult. But if there is evidence your rights were violated during the arrest, there is a chance the criminal charges against you could be dropped.
From reading you your rights to serving you with a warrant, there are many constitutional protections in the arrest and investigation process. If you are facing criminal charges and aren't sure about the actions of the officers involved, contact me to discuss your case today.