In recent years, there’s been an increasing awareness that law enforcement officers all too frequently take the law into their own hands. In many cases, they decide that they can act with impunity – as if they are the law or are simply above it.
Recently, the city of Denver settled multiple police brutality claims against the police for what was done to peaceful protestors in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the authorities. Protestors, some with their hands raised and clearly unarmed, were beaten and shot with “non-lethal” projectiles for no rational reason.
Ultimately, the city paid $1.6 million to settle six claims against the Denver Police Department for officers’ actions. However, money isn’t necessarily enough to stop the police from brutalizing innocent citizens. Even measures like SB-217, which requires Colorado law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, may not be effective.
Holding rogue officers accountable for their actions is harder than it seems
The police officers are supposed to be there to “serve and protect,” the general population. Many take their jobs seriously. However, officers who see their badge as a license to abuse citizens in their grasp are often protected by their fellow officers, their commanders and the system.
An investigative report that looked at 72 officers who were involved in notorious killings over the last three decades found that less than 2% of those officers were ever charged with murder or manslaughter, and even fewer were convicted. That figure has largely remained unchanged since data started to be collected in 2005, indicating that existing police reforms have done little if anything to combat the problem.
When the law is reluctant or outright unwilling to hold law enforcement officers accountable through criminal proceedings, the only recourse victims have for justice is in civil court. If you or your loved one becomes a victim of police brutality, you have every right to pursue a claim.