New York police brutality becomes spotlight of #myNYPD campaign

New York's Police Department is facing a publicity nightmare after an effort to garner positive support took an unexpected turn. The department encouraged New Yorkers to post photos of interactions with officers using the hashtag #myNYPD. Although there were some positive photos of children on a ride along and others with smiling officers while attending a baseball game, the campaign was dominated by a flood of photos depicting acts of police brutality.

Making matters even worse, the negative acts were not just from one event. In addition to the expected larger group issues like Occupy Wallstreet encounters included a slew of photos of individual issues. A woman under arrest having her hair pulled back and an elderly man beat bloody for jaywalking were just a few noted by NY Daily News and the Huffington Post.

What is police brutality?

Police brutality occurs whenever an officer uses excessive or unnecessary force. Unfortunately, there is no bright line rule for when an officer oversteps. In fact, NBC News recently ran a piece discussing the issue, noting scholars throughout the country explain the use of excessive force as a "free-wheeling space in American law and police policy."

This ambiguous definition leads to another question. How exactly does an individual prove that he or she was the victim of an act of police brutality? Ultimately, this is a civil rights issue. An enforcement officer that steps over the line has violated basic civil liberties. Establishing this case will often require the victim to prove that the extent of force used was unnecessary. Generally, courts apply a reasonable test to come up with this determination. The court will ask whether the police officer reasonably believed the use and extent of force used was necessary to meet a lawful goal.

Since there is no precise definition, getting a court to rule in the victim's favor can be difficult. The court will take a variety of factors into consideration when making its determination, including whether or not the victim posed a threat, the severity of the alleged crime and whether or not the victim was attempting to evade arrest. These are just a few of the factors that need to be taken into consideration when building a police brutality case.

Although these cases can seem intimidating, it is important to note that compensation is available to victims of these crimes. As a result, those who are the victims of police brutality in the form of physical assaults, verbal assaults, harassment or wrongful searches should contact an experienced New York police brutality attorney. This legal professional will review your case and help better ensure your legal rights and any potential for remedies is protected.