On July 8th, a cell phone video showing an officer physically abusing a woman in Providence emerged, stirring a local controversy and leading to an investigation to be launched. Specifically, the video shows the officer punching and dragging the woman by her hair, down the steps of a building.

Although the officer alleges that the use of force was necessary to protect him, investigators are specifically looking into whether excessive force was used. Why the officers involved in the incident are not being placed on leave at this time is something local citizens are still wondering.  Meanwhile, the woman who was beaten by the officer was arrested and is now being charged with felony assault on an officer and resisting arrest.

The Law Limits Force Used During Restraint and Arrest

If you find yourself being abused by a police officer and/or under arrest, it is important to realize that there are alternatives to police officers using the type of force that was used in this particular incident. Although police officers are allowed to use reasonable force in order to do their job, they cannot use excessive, abusive levels of violence, and if so, a lawsuit can be filed against the officer and/or police department.

Specifically, the law in Rhode Island states that no greater restraint than is necessary shall be used for the detention of any person, and no unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in making an arrest

Complaints against Police Officers

There are several ways to deal with police misconduct, including internal complaint investigations, criminal lawsuits, and civil lawsuits. While filing complaints opens the door for the police officer responsible to potentially be punished, many of these complaints do not result in a finding of fault, particularly if there is a conflict of interest in who is conducting the investigation and the potential for the police department itself to be sued.

However, in a civil suit, officers can be deposed and enlightening information can be revealed through the process of discovery. In addition, seeking monetary compensation in these cases can often be helpful to the victims, especially if they are injured and/or facing their own criminal defense charges after being arrested.

Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Attorneys in Providence

Sometimes you find yourself the victim of both personal injuries as the result of someone else’s behavior, as well as facing arrest and in need of a criminal defense attorney.

 The attorneys at Dana & Dana have been dealing with cases involving police brutality in East Providence and surrounding areas for years. Many of these incidents can lead to serious injuries—even traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death, in some instances.  We are also dedicated to the aggressive representation of clients involving all aspects of Rhode Island criminal defense. Our attorneys take care of everything from medical bills to negotiating with insurance carriers so that our clients can focus on getting better. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.