Baltimore Police Brutality Attorneys Stand Up for Clients' Rights
Maryland Personal Injury Law Firm Holds Law Enforcement Accountable
In the past several years, there have been numerous incidents of police brutality across the U.S., including in Maryland. In 2015, Freddie Gray Jr., a 25-year-old African-American, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department and charged with possessing a knife. A Baltimore resident captured part of Gray’s arrest on video, showing him being thrown headfirst into the van and screaming "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I need help, I need medical attention."
While being transported to the police station in a police van, Gray lapsed into a coma and later died. The medical examiner’s report ruled Gray’s death a homicide that occurred during transport, and six Baltimore police officers were eventually charged in his death. However, after one mistrial and two acquittals on all charges, the charges against the remaining officers were dropped.
In 2015, the City of Baltimore reached a $6.4 million wrongful death settlement with Gray’s family. Two years later, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that federal charges would not be brought against the six police officers. Instead, a non-criminal, internal disciplinary trial would be held before a three-person panel comprised of members of another Maryland police department.
What is Police Brutality?
Police brutality or misconduct can be any type of illegal or unethical actions by law enforcement officers that violate an individual’s constitutional rights. Some examples of misconduct that could be considered police brutality include:
- Use of excessive force
- Wrongful arrest
- Injury of innocent bystanders
- Confessions acquired by physical force
- Sexual assault
- Abuse of authority
- Illegal search
Cases of police brutality most commonly occur during traffic stops, sporting events and celebrations, sobriety checkpoints, and protest marches. The use of excessive force is a direct violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.