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Section 1983 and excessive force

In New Mexico and across the United States, police brutality and the use of excessive force is a frequent topic of discussion. Law enforcement and other authorities can use a certain amount of force when dealing with a situation or while protecting themselves. However, they can sometimes go too far and it is important for victims to know their rights.

Understanding Section 1983 when confronted with excessive force

People who have been victimized by excessive force can file a civil rights complaint based on Section 1983. Through this part of the U.S. Code, the person can pursue some form of relief whether that is injunctive or monetary. It is important to know what the court will use as part of its assessment. The judges will analyze if the official’s behavior could be categorized as “objectively reasonable.”

To do this, the circumstances will be gauged from the viewpoint of the officer and how he or she might have perceived it at the time. That may include how serious the incident was; if there was an immediate threat to the officer and others; if the person was trying to escape or resisted arrest; if there were other possible options; and if the person was warned or could have been warned. In short, the alleged act of police brutality will be scrutinized to determine if it occurred during an officer’s reasonable course of action.

Seeking compensation after police brutality might require assistance

Another factor is qualified immunity. This is commonly used to protect authorities from being held liable for their actions even after they are accused of using excessive force if they were simply going about their duties. To use Section 1983 and hold authorities accountable, it is a priority to have professional advice from the start.