When people are confronted by Louisiana law enforcement, it is important for them to understand their rights. Police brutality and excessive force can happen in many circumstances,, often during an investigation or an arrest. If excessive force was used against an individual, it could be the basis for a lawsuit.

Knowing when there has been unreasonable force and when law enforcement has the right to use force at all is a foundational aspect of a case. For example, deadly force can be used if it is needed to stop the person from escaping and if there is probable cause to believe there is a threat of serious physical harm or death to the officer or others.

The officer’s level of force must be in proportion to the circumstances. It can rise based on the threat. Officers are expected to use their presence to de-escalate the situation. They must verbalize what they want the suspect to do. Empty-hand control like grabbing, holding, punching or kicking can be used. If needed, weapons such as a Taser, a police baton or chemical spray are less lethal ways of stopping the suspect.

If the suspect has surrendered or has been restrained, physical force must stop. The following will be considered when determining if there was excessive force: the crime and its severity; if the officer was in danger; if the person resisted arrest or attempted to flee; if other ways of defusing the situation were possible; and if the officer gave adequate warnings. When a person believes he or she has been victimized by police brutality, a law firm that represents people whose civil rights have been violated can provide information about the recourse that might be available.