Police Brutality in New York

The recent conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd has led to greater scrutiny of the actions of police officers throughout the country. Many states, including New York, now require police officers to activate body cameras whenever they interact with civilians. Under the New York law, signed in June of last year, officers must activate body cameras before exiting their vehicles, and when confronting suspects, executing searches, and during traffic stops. This body cam evidence has allowed individuals who have been victims of excessive force to successfully pursue lawsuits against municipal and state agencies. In the past five years, the City of New York has paid over $1 billion in settlements to civilians who were victims of police brutality, including a $4.5 million settlement to former NBA player Thabo Sefolosha after he was tackled by five police officers outside a nightclub.

A claim of police brutality may be established when a police officer uses an excessive amount of force under the circumstances. Factors to consider are:

  1. The severity of the crime of which the person has been accused.
  2. Whether the officer or officers had reasonable cause to believe that the person had committed a crime.
  3. Whether the officer or officers had reasonable cause to believe that the person posed a danger to the officers or to others.
  4. Whether the officer or officers were executing a lawful search or arrest.
  5. The presence or absence of weapons, and whether a person in lawful possession of a weapon was attempting to use it.
  6. Whether the person tried to flee or resist arrest.
  7. Whether the officer or officers could have completed the arrest, search, or stop with less force.

Civil claims against the police in New York are subject to strict time limits and reporting requirements. If you or a loved one has been the victim of unnecessary force during an arrest, search, traffic stop, or other encounter with the police, it is important to seek legal advice right away. Failure to make a claim within the statutory time limit will result in your claim being summarily dismissed. The lawyers at Mirman, Markovits & Landau have successfully represented hundreds of clients with claims against city and state governmental agencies. Call us at 212-227-4000 to arrange a free consultation, or visit our website at https://mirmanlawyers.com/.