Proving Police Brutality: Compelling Video Evidence in Pennsylvania Cases
Authorities using physical force to restrain suspects do so under strict regulations set forth by the state and their agencies. When law enforcement officials go beyond those measured constraints, they endanger the public safety, decrease confidence in the very citizens they’re supposed to protect, and add to the victimization of innocent parties. A pair of lawsuits filed in federal court in March 2013 carries some compelling video evidence that our defense lawyers believe shows the police potentially breaking the law.
These lawsuits, according to the NJ Herald, allege that Springettsbury Township Patrolman Chad Moyer punched a handcuffed woman and kneed a man in the side. The latter incident left the man with five broken ribs, according to reports. Court documents also state officers engaged in a cover up to hide the abuse, including filing false reports about the incidents.
An Outstanding Warrant is not a License to Assault
In one video, Officer Moyer can be seen approaching a pedestrian, Steven Landis. When Officer Moyer determines Landis has a warrant out for his arrest, he moves to place him in custody before tackling him to the ground. The blow knocks out one of Landis’ hearing aids, and the video depicts the downed man screaming that he suffers from 80 percent hearing loss. Moyer filed an official report stating Landis “failed to obey commands.”
Moyer’s co-defendant in the suit, William Polizzotto Jr., is seen in the video using a stun gun on Landis twice while he’s on the ground. According to court documents, the two police officers even debated if the injured Landis required medical attention. They chose to hand him over to the police department where his warrant was pending. He received no medical attention until after that time.
Woman Punched in the Throat By Police Officer
Debra Lynn Williams, 42-years-old, alleges in her lawsuit against Officer Moyer that in April 2011 he grabbed her punched and grabbed her by the neck while she was handcuffed. The suit also claims Moyer and a fellow officer, Gregory Hafield, filed false reports to cover up the excessive force used. Video from that incident shows Williams kicking the inside of a police cruiser, but only after officers hit and slap her repeatedly, according to the NJ Herald.
Flaws in the System
Suspects have civil rights just like any other American in the United States. Each person who is arrested has the presumption of innocence, no matter the crime. Authorities have obligations to inform suspects in custody of their rights. It’s difficult to explain Miranda Rights to someone who’s just been punched in the throat or suffered five broken ribs. These are violations of civil rights, which could lead to the dismissal of charges through the work of experienced defense attorneys.
If you believe officers violated your rights in arresting you for a crime you didn’t commit, or falsified arrest reports to charge you with offenses that grossly overestimate the events of the incident, you need our help. Contact our law firm today for a no nonsense review of your case, and an explanation of how we can help.