If the police pull you over or stop you on the street, how worried should you be? Are you about to become a victim of a serious violent crime at the hands of those who are supposed to protect you from that type of crime?
Sometimes, the news makes it seem like police brutality is running rampant. Do we have any data that shows how common it is?
We need more complete data and better tracking
The problem, many experts note, is that the data itself is lacking. For instance, the FBI tracks some of this information, but less than half of police departments actually submit reports to the database. Additionally, officers can volunteer this information if they want, but they’re not obligated to do so.
What you end up with is an incomplete data set that may be leaving out the stats from some of the worst offenders. It’s clear that really getting a handle on police brutality and excessive force will mean expanding these programs to make them compulsory and fully inclusive.
One thing that we do know is that about 1,000 people are killed, often with firearms, by American police officers every year. While there are those who argue that the police have no choice but to use force in some situations, critics also note that fatality rates at the hands of police are far lower in most other similar countries.
What are your rights?
The police are supposed to protect and serve. If you get injured through the use of excessive force, you must know what legal rights you have. Working with an attorney is the best way to protect your interests.